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Ameriprise Financial Inc. (AMP) said Monday it's decided to sell its legally troubled Securities America broker-dealer.
The Minneapolis firm said it will look to find a buyer for its Nebraska-based broker, which serves independent financial advisers across the country. The giant retail investment company said it will instead turn its focus to mostly doing business with financial advisers that carry the Ameriprise name. The company did not issue a separate statement, and instead disclosed the decision to sell Securities American in its regular earnings report.
Ameriprise said it swallowed $158 million in pretax charges--including $110 million in the first quarter--to settle claims tied to private-placement investments Securities America had sold to customers. Ameriprise didn't admit wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement, but said it nonetheless decided to off-load a business it purchased in 1998 for about $25 million, according to reports.
"Management has decided to identify an appropriate buyer for Securities America," the company said in its earnings report. "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-adviser business."
The firm's decision to withdraw from the independent-adviser industry stands in contrast to the strategies at many other companies, like Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) and BNY Mellon Corp. (BK), which are trying to grow their businesses that serve independent advisers. Ameriprise settled other legal troubles on behalf of Securities America earlier in the decade, although the most recent settlement, signed April 15, was by far the largest.
-By Marshall Eckblad, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-303-0544; email@example.com