I have never been a big fan of Ameriprise, which used to be part of American Express until it was spun off a few years ago. I always thought that Ameriprise’s financial plans were used as a way to sell clients Ameriprise’s own products. It’s a huge conflict of interest.
This article ($) in today’s WSJ claims that several states are investigating Ameriprise. Apparantly some Ameriprise advisors collected plan fees ($300 per plan) from clients but then never delivered the plan!
What kind of plan can a person expect for $300?
As bad as it sounds, it’s probably a good thing for these clients that they didn’t get their plan, which most assuredly would have placed them in high commissioned products. So, it could have been a blessing in disguise. Still, you hate to be out $300.
This isn’t the only time Ameriprise has been in trouble. The article also mentions that in 2005 Ameriprise agreed to pay $7.4 million to settle “allegations from New Hampshire that it steered clients into the company’s own lackluster mutual funds instead of better-performing products from others.” Ah, now we know why the plan was so “cheap.”
Of course, not all planners at Ameriprise are bad. However, I sure as heck would think twice before I used this company.