Ameriprise Financial, Inc., on Wednesday announced its best financial performance in several quarters.
 
For the fourth quarter that ended in December, profits totaled $367 million, or $1.71 per share, up 19 percent and the highest in recent quarters; profits declined in the previous two quarters.
 
Minneapolis-based Ameriprise said that its profits increase was driven by its advice and wealth management unit; the company increased the value of assets under management by 8 percent to $681 billion—an all-time high.
 
The company's per-share earnings figure was significantly higher than the $1.47 per share that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted. Revenue for the quarter totaled $2.6 billion, up 6 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.
 
However, for the full year, net income was down 7.8 percent to $1.03 billion; revenue for the year totaled $10.2 billion, up 0.2 percent from 2011.
 
Ameriprise Chairman and CEO Jim Cracchiolo told investors during a fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday that growth in the company’s advice and wealth management unit was driven by increase in the number of clients, which likely resulted from investors’ uncertainty about the markets due to the presidential election and tax increases that took effect in 2013—fueling a greater demand for Ameriprise's investment advice and management services.
 
He added that the division also added 68 “experienced and productive” wealth advisers during the quarter. According to a Reuters report, the addition of veteran advisers helped drive revenue for the company, as those advisers brought with them significant client asset pools.
 
“We’re executing our strategy well and maintaining tight expenses to offset headwinds from low interest rates,” Cracchiolo said in a statement.
 
Ameriprise recently launched a series of TV ads featuring actor Tommy Lee Jones, who was also featured in the company’s 2011 ads. To view those ads on YouTube, click here.
 
Ameriprise is among Minnesota’s 15-largest public companies based on revenue. Shares of the company’s stock were trading at $66.35, down about 0.8 percent, early Thursday afternoon.
 

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