Ameriprise buying bank broker-dealer, adding 200 registered representatives

The deal marks Ameriprise's first foray into the bank channel

Apr 24, 2017 @ 1:11 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Taking a page from competitors like LPL Financial and Cetera Financial Group, Ameriprise Financial Inc. said on Monday it had agreed to buy Investment Professionals Inc., an independent broker-dealer based in San Antonio, Texas, that focuses on the market for independent reps to operate in banks and credit unions.

It is the first foray into the bank channel for Ameriprise. LPL and Cetera have long had a presence in the bank and credit union market, commonly referred to as the financial institution space in the industry. Founded in 1992, Investment Professionals has close to 200 registered representatives and had assets totaling more than $8 billion at the end of last year.

At the start of the year, many brokerage executives predicted that the brokerage industry would see a steady pace of consolidation in 2017 as it did in 2016. Independent broker-dealers have seen margins compress steadily since the credit crisis as record low interest rates ate into their bottom lines. New regulations such as the Department of Labor's pending fiduciary standard for retirement accounts have hampered the sale of high-commission products such as nontraded real estate investment trusts and variable annuities, increasing the pressure on firm finances.

But today's announcement by Ameriprise appears to be the first deal struck by a large, national firm in 2017. National Holdings Corp., which controls two independent broker-dealers with about 1,100 reps, said last month it was it was acquiring assets of Williams Financial Group, including its broker-dealer, WFG Investments, with about 230 financial professionals. Otherwise, deal-making for independent broker-dealers has been mostly silent.

Investment Professional "advisers and employees joining Ameriprise will continue to serve clients within established banking relationships and operate as a new Ameriprise adviser channel focused on serving financial institutions," the company said in a statement.

Terms of the deal were not released. Scott Barnes, the founder of Investment Professionals, will serve in an advisory role with Ameriprise and help integrate the business, while Jay McAnelly, president and CEO of Investment Professionals, will join Ameriprise and report to Pat O'Connell, executive vice president, Ameriprise Advisor Group.

The Massachusetts Securities Division in March ordered Investment Professionals to pay a $100,000 fine for having sold unsuitable investment products to senior citizens, and the company agreed to offer restitution to clients. Last year, the Massachusetts Securities Division charged Investment Professionals with using high pressure sales contests and selling unsuitable investment products to senior citizens who were bank depositors.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video


What's the survival threshold in the M&A landscape?

Dave DeVoe answers pressing questions about the M&A space and whether or not he believes the roll ups will get rolled.

Latest news & opinion

Meet our 2017 Women to Watch

Introducing 20 female financial advisers and industry executives who are distinguished leaders, advancing the business of providing advice through their creativity and hard work.

Raymond James executives call on industry to keep broker protocol

Also ask firms to pay for the administration of the protocol to 'ensure its longevity and relevance.'

Senate committee approves tax plan but full passage not assured

Several Republican senators expressed reservations about the bill, and the GOP cannot afford too many defections.

House passes tax bill, focus turns to Senate

Tax reform legislation expected to have more of a challenge in upper chamber.

SEC enforcement of advisers drops in Trump era

The agency pursued 82 cases against advisers and firms in fiscal year 2017, down from 98 the previous year.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print