Ameriprise shopping Securities America

Apr 25, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Ameriprise Financial is looking to sell its beleaguered independent broker-dealer, Securities America Inc.

In reporting its first quarter financial results this afternoon, Ameriprise management said it was looking to shed Securities America – the 17th largest independent broker-dealer in the industry according to InvestmentNews data, which it acquired in 1998. Ameriprise indicated the potential sale of the firm would not have an impact on its $150 million settlement with investors suing the firm over private placements that have gone bust.

“Management has decided to identify an appropriate buyer for (Securities America),” Ameriprise noted in the filing. “A sale would allow (Securities America) to focus on growth opportunities in the independent channel and would allow Ameriprise to devote its resources to the Ameriprise branded-advisor business. The sale process will not affect management's commitment to completion of the settlement on its current terms.”

Ameriprise's willingness to back Securities America through its recent settlement over the sale of Medical Capital and Provident Royalties private placements leaves the firm in a strong financial position to continue operations with no disruptions, said Janine Wertheim, a Securities America spokeswoman. "We believe there are many options that will afford enhanced opportunities and benefits to our advisers and employees," she said.

Securities America has about 1,800 affiliated reps who typically generate north of $400 million in gross revenue per year. (See full firm profile here.)

Ameriprise Financial's independent broker-dealer currently ranks as the second largest independent broker-dealer by total revenues, according to the new InvestmentNews broker-dealer rankings released today. View the latest financial rankings here.

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