Now that Ameriprise has settled with aggrieved clients, it has confirmed our earlier suspicions that it is ready to sell Securities America.
People familiar with the situation told us over a month ago that Ameriprise would probably sell its independent broker-dealer unit in order to lower the risk of having to go through all this again down the road.
That's more or less what's happening now. In the company's latest earnings report, you'll find this:
"Management has decided to identify an appropriate buyer for SA. A sale would allow SA to focus on growth opportunities in the independent channel and would allow Ameriprise to devote its resources to the Ameriprise branded-advisor business. The sale process will not affect management’s commitment to completion of the settlement on its current terms."
So yes, Securities America is being shopped around. And yes, Ameriprise is done with the IBD channel.
In theory, a new owner would recognize the underlying value of the Securities America talent pool and business model, and would support them wholeheartedly, with none of the underlying complications that made the Ameriprise relationship so distant.
And if a new owner is truly focused on growth "in the independent channel," then it's likely that Securities America will keep that open platform approach that got it into trouble -- right or wrong -- and remains so successful otherwise.