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