Ameriprise Buys California Investment Advisor

With the acquisition, Ameriprise will start managing exchange-traded funds (EFT), investment vehicles that combine the potential benefits of traditional ETF investing with active portfolio management.

Ameriprise Financial, Inc., announced Friday that it has agreed to buy a San Francisco-based fund company called Grail Advisors, LLC. The acquisition marks Ameriprise's entry into the world of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs-investment funds that are traded on stock exchanges, much like stocks.

Under the terms of the agreement, Grail will become part of Ameriprise's mutual fund subsidiary, Columbia Management Investment Advisers, LLC-a Boston-based investment manager of long-term assets with $355 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2010.

Grail Advisors is an investment advisor that specializes in actively-managed ETFs, which combine the potential benefits of traditional ETF investing with active portfolio management.

Minneapolis-based Ameriprise said the sale is expected to close in May. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

According to documents filed with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year, Grail Advisors previously signed a letter of intent to be acquired by an unnamed party. The company said in the filing that if the planned transaction fell through or if it could not otherwise raise capital, all of the company's ETFs could be liquidated.

“[The acquisition] will enhance our already deep product line-up and allow us to reach even more investors with our broad investment management capabilities, Colin Moore, chief investment officer of Columbia Management, said in a statement. “We intend to utilize this acquisition to build an extensive offering of actively managed ETFs over time.”

Financial planning firm Ameriprise is among Minnesota's 10-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled approximately $10 billion in 2010.

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