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Rating:Cracchiolo Is About to Make a Big Hire at Columbia Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cracchiolo Is About to Make a Big Hire at Columbia

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

UPDATED: Columbia hired Joseph Kringdon to the role.

Ameriprise chief Jim Cracchiolo is about to unveil a big hire at Columbia [profile], and he's also game for smaller acquisitions.

On Tuesday, the Minneapolis-based financial planning giant released its second quarter 2014 earnings results, and yesterday Cracchiolo and his chief financial officer, Walter Berman, talked to analysts about those results [see the earnings release] [see the statistical supplemental package] [see Seeking Alpha's transcript of the earnings call].

On the call, Cracchiolo hinted at big changes coming for Ameriprise subsidiary Columbia.

"We'll soon be announcing a new head of our U.S. intermediary organization," Cracchiolo said in his opening remarks on the call.

Later on the call, in response to a question from Goldman Sachs analyst Alex Blostein, Cracchiolo offered more insight into the intermediary (i.e. advisor-sold) channel:
Domestically, we're working to expand our presence on key platforms and other distribution channels. While we remain in net outflows, we're seeing some improvement, most notably in our former parent affiliated channel, and we're addressing challenges in DCIO ...

We have more work to do in the U.S. intermediary [channel]. We're making some changes there, both from a leadership perspective as well as from a product and marketing and various things of how we align that to get on various platforms, and that we're putting a lot more focus and concentration on with a new leadership lineup there. So we feel good about that.
As for further asset management acquisitions, Cracchiolo addressed his M&A thoughts in response to a question from Citi analyst Seth Tennant. Cracchiolo said he's open to filling in specific product gaps:
So we'll look around in some of those areas, but they wouldn't be major acquisitions. In regard to anything larger, it really would depend on whether it would add some larger capability to us or distribution that would make sense strategically ... Again, we don't rule out something wonderful that pops up. But having said that, we don't necessarily count on those things happening.
In the statistical supplement to the earnings release, Ameriprise revealed net retail inflows at Columbia of $696 million for Q2 2014, after Columbia suffered retail net outflows of $2.591 billion in Q1 2014 and $1.568 billion in Q2 2013. Columbia's retail assets under management reached $243.796 billion on June 30, 2014, up 1.88 percent from March 31, 2014 and up 9.20 percent year-over-year.

Overall, the Wall Street Journal reports that Ameriprise's Q2 2014 operating earnings of $2.08 share and its net revenue of $3.07 billion beat analysts' expectations of $2.01 per share and $3.03 billion, respectively.

To dig deeper into how Columbia, and Ameriprise overall, are doing, see the earnings release, the statistical supplemental package and Seeking Alpha's transcript of the earnings call

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