Is Ameriprise Looking To Buy ETF Vendor Grail Advisors?

Friday, April 15, 2011 06:41
Is Ameriprise Looking To Buy ETF Vendor Grail Advisors?

While Ameriprise was negotiating the Securities America client settlement, its lawyers may also have been gearing up to buy a small ETF vendor.

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Grail Advisors -- with barely $25 million in total AUM spread across five ETFs -- has confirmed that it's selling itself to someone.


The question is who the buyer might be. Anonymous tipsters say it's Ameriprise, which has a known appetite for proprietary product, having bought $190 billion in Columbia funds a few years back.


Buying Grail would give Ameriprise advisors a new and fairly expensive product to sell. 


Unlike most ETFs, the company's funds are actively managed. And they're relatively pricey by ETF standards, with expense ratios generally in the 0.89% range.


This may give Ameriprise a way to squeeze commissions out of the asset class that compare to what its advisors currently book on mutual funds.



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