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Bottom line: Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only is an independent brokerage and financial advisory firm. It’s best for experienced investors wanting to use Ameriprise’s wide selection of financial planning services, wealth management tools, and fiduciary advisor access. But it’s not ideal for beginners seeking a user-friendly platform with low fees.
About Ameriprise Financial Services
Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only (formerly known as American Express Advisors) is one of the oldest independent brokerage and financial management firms. It has a market cap of $35 billion, which makes it the 38-largest financial company in the US.
Ameriprise provides a large selection of financial planning, retirement saving, and portfolio management services. It’s also one of the largest registered investment advisors (RIAs) in the US. It currently has over 1.14 million clients and $458 billion in assets under management (AUM).
Investors can choose between discretionary and non-discretionary management account options with varying investment minimums. Asset classes to invest in include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, unit investment trusts (UITs), structured notes, options, and a range of alternative investments.
Ameriprise Financial Services is one of the top financial advisory firms, solely employing fiduciary financial advisors that are legally and ethically bound to act in their client’s best interest. You can choose to trade with an Ameriprise financial advisor, through your online brokerage account, over the phone, or with a registered service representative from the Ameriprise client service center.
Read our guide to the best online brokerages>>
Is Ameriprise Finanical Services Right For You?
Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only is best for experienced investors who either want to work alongside a financial advisor or have a fully managed account. The brokerage offers a huge selection of investment options and services, including education saving plans and retirement savings accounts.
If you’re willing to make a relatively high minimum deposit, it’s great for both active and passive investors wanting expert insight and guidance over your finances. Plus, it provides a large selection of goal-building tools, fund screeners, human advisors access, financial calculators, and more.
However, Ameriprise Financial’s website is hard to navigate. Finding information about accounts, fees, and investment options is difficult and may not be accessible for beginners. Moreover, the investment minimums and fees are high compared to competitors.
If you’re looking for a low-cost, beginner-friendly platform, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Read Insider’s guide to the best investment apps for beginners>>
Ameriprise Financial Services: Overall Rating
FeatureInsider rating (out of 5)Fees 3.15Account features 4.00Access 3.00Customer service 5.00Ethics 4.25Overall score3.83
Ameriprise Financial Services Pros and Cons
ProsConsVarious managed account optionsMultiple investment options and asset classesLarge selection of research resources and investment toolsFiduciary financial advisor accessRetirement savings accounts and education savings plansHigh account minimumsDifficult to navigate websiteComplex fee structure
Is Ameriprise Financial Services Trustworthy?
Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. BBB ratings range from A+ to F and reflect the bureau’s opinion of how well a company interacts with its customers. Therefore, an A+ is the highest rating of customer trustworthiness.
Before issuing ratings, the bureau also considers a company’s time in business (including its business type), customer complaint history, licensing and government actions, and advertising issues.
But its ratings don’t absolutely ensure a company will be reliable or perform well. This is why it’s important to also do your own homework before setting up an account. For better insight, talk with friends and family who have used Ameriprise Financial and read customer reviews.
In 2022, the SEC charged Ameriprise a $5 million fee. The SEC claimed that Ameriprise offered faulty variable annuity exchanges.
Ways to Invest With Ameriprise
Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only offers multiple discretionary and non-discretionary managed account options, including the SPS Advantage Account, Active Portfolio Investments, SPS Advisor Accounts, Select Separate Accounts, Vista Separate Account, Investor Unified Account, and Access Account Programs (aka Manager Direct Programs).
The three managed direct programs are:
Client-Directed Accounts: Customize and manage your own individual investment portfolio alongside an Ameriprise financial advisor. Instead of taking a backseat, you’ll be involved in picking and approving all investment options. With a client-directed account, you can invest in mutual funds, ETFs, UITs, stocks, bonds, structured products, and alternative investments. You can invest through the SPS Advantage Accounts.Manager-Directed Accounts: An investment manager provides ongoing investment management of your portfolio. To choose an investment manager, you and an Ameriprise financial advisor select one together from a preselected list of managers. This account option offers you actively managed mutual funds and ETF portfolios. But you can also invest through either separate managed accounts options, Select Strategist UMA Portfolio, Active Portfolio Investment, Select ETF Portfolio, or the Investor Unified Account. Advisor-Directed Accounts: A financial advisor creates and manages your investment portfolios. The financial advisor has complete authority over the assets and investment selections. With this account, you can invest in mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, and structured products. You can invest through the SPS Advisor Account.
Ameriprise Financial Services doesn’t disclose much about what the managed accounts offer, outside of what the managed direct programs are. Instead, Ameriprise Financial states that “Ameriprise Financial Services will determine whether an Account is appropriate for you upon Account opening based on the information you provide.” You can check out this brochure for more information.
Retirement Savings Accounts
You can open a client-directed, manager-directed, or advisor-directed account as an individual or employee-sponsored retirement savings account. Ameriprise Financial Services offers the following retirement accounts:
Traditional IRAs: Funded by pre-tax dollars so you only pay tax on the amount withdrawn when you’re at least 59 1/2 years old. The 2023 contribution limit is $6,500 for people under age 50, and $7,500 for 50 and older. Roth IRAs: Funded by post-tax dollars so withdrawals are tax-free. The 2023 contribution limit is also $6,500 if you’re under 50 ($7,500 for folks 50 and older). Simple IRAs: A tax-deferred retirement plan offered by small businesses, defined as one with 100 or fewer employees. You can contribute up to $14,000 in 2023 ($17,000 if you’re 50 or older). SEP IRAs: Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs are for self-employed individuals or small business owners. Contributions grow tax-deferred so you’ll only pay taxes on the amount withdrawn. In 2023, you can contribute up to 25% of your salary or $66,000, whichever is lower. 401(k)s: An employee-sponsored retirement plan where you can contribute either pre-tax or post-tax dollars, depending on the plan. You can contribute up to $22,500 in 2023 for if you’re under age 50, or $29,000 if you’re 50 or older. 403(b)s: Tax-deferred retirement plans for nonprofit, church, and public school employees. In 2023, you can contribute up to $22,500 if you’re under 50, or $30,000 if you’re 50 or older.
College Savings Accounts
Ameriprise Financial Services offers various college and education savings plans, such as 529 plans. 529 savings plans are state-run, tax-advantaged accounts for future educational expenses like tuition expenses, loan payments, apprenticeships, and other qualifying expenses. Tax benefits and contributions limits of 529 plans vary from state to state.
Ameriprise Financial Services also offers Coverdell education savings accounts (CESA), which, like 529 savings plans, are tax-advantaged accounts for users to save money for qualifying education expenses.
National 529 Day is May 29. To raise awareness of these tax-advantaged education savings plans, the US states are putting on giveaways, competitions, and more. Check out the different 529 plans by state and see how you can celebrate.
Ameriprise Financial Services offers around 2,200 professionally managed mutual funds from 135 fund companies. Stocks and exchange-traded products (ETPs) are listed on major US stock exchanges, like the NASDAQ, and over-the-counter securities. There are three types of ETPs:
You can also invest in a variety of bonds and individual fixed-income. Invest in:
Ameriprise Financial Services also offers a large selection of alternative investments, like:
Other investment options are unit investment trusts (UITs), which are pooled investment vehicles best for a buy-and-hold strategy until the termination date. Ameriprise Financial Services additionally offers options, structured notes, and syndicate offerings.
The investment options you can access depend on the type of account you have with Ameriprise Financial Services.
Ameriprise Financial Services Minimum Investments and Fees
Minimum investments for different Ameriprise Finanical Services accounts are as follows:
SPS Advantage Accounts have a $25,000 account minimumSPS Advisor Accounts have a $100,000 account minimumActive Portfolios Accounts have an initial $25,000 minimum with a maintenance minimum of $15,000 (Active Growth Builder Portfolios have an initial investment minimum of $5,000 and a maintenance minimum of $4,000) Select Separate Accounts have between $100,000 and $500,000 initial minimum.
Ameriprise Finanical Services managed direct programs have varying investment minimums to start investing. For example:
Client-directed: $2,000 per account minimum; $25,000 per household minimumManager-directed: Between $5,000 to $500,000 per account minimumAdvisor-directed: $2,000 per account minimum; $100,000 per household minimum
Ongoing advice from an Ameriprise financial advisor starts at $5,000.
The brokerage charge minimum annual advisory fees of $500 and a 2% AUM fee. You can also enroll in Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only financial planning services for $50 per month.
Other management, administration, and trading fees may be applied.
Ameriprise Financial Services — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Ameriprise Financial Services legit?
Yes, Ameriprise has been a legitimate brokerage and financial firm since 1894.
What bank does Ameriprise Financial Services use?
Ameriprise Financial’s bank co-lenders are Ameriprise Bank, FSB, and the Salt Lake City branch of Goldman Sachs Bank USA.
Who owns Ameriprise Financial Services?
Syndicate Development Corporation is the parent company of Ameriprise Finanical.
What investments does Ameriprise Financial Services offer?
Ameriprise Financial offers stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, UITs, options, structured notes, hedge funds, private equity, REITs, and more alternative investment options.
How Ameriprise Financial Services Compares
Ameriprise Financial Services vs. Interactive Brokers
Both Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only and Interactive Brokers – Product Name Only offer a large selection of investment options, such as mutual funds, ETFs, and stocks. But the companies offer slightly different investments, as well as different account options and investment minimums.
Ameriprise is best for experienced investors looking to work with a financial advisor. Interactive Brokers is best for advanced, active investors — but it also offers a robo-advisor option called Interactive Advisors. In general. Interactive Brokers is lower cost with a $0 account minimum and generally low fees.
Ameriprise Financial Services is the better choice for folks looking for the benefit of working closely with a fiduciary financial advisor. It also offers education savings account options, but Interactive Brokers does not.
Ameriprise Financial Services vs. Vanguard
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services – Product Name Only is an extension of the online brokerage Vanguard – Product Name Only. It has a Vanguard Personal Advisor Services – Account Minimum minimum and is best for passive investors looking to trade Vanguard ETFs and mutual funds.
Like Ameriprise, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers fiduciary advisor access. But it also offers digital portfolio management. Vanguard is better for investors interested in using the brokerage’s automated tax-loss harvesting features and automated portfolio management. But it doesn’t offer individual stocks, bonds, options, or cryptocurrencies.
Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only is more suited for investors who want access to individual investments.
Ameriprise: Related Terms
Brokerage account: Accounts offered through investment platforms and broker-dealers, which allow investors to hold and trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, and other assets. Unit investment trust (UIT): An investment company that buys and holds fixed investment portfolios containing stocks, bonds, and other commodities. Investors (aka unitholders) buy “units” of this portfolio. ETFs: Investment vehicles that contain a blend of stocks, bonds, and other commodities. ETFs can be index-based or actively managed.
Why You Should Trust Us: How We Reviewed Ameriprise Financial Services
We examined Ameriprise Financial Investments – Editorial Name Only using Personal Finance Insider’s rating methodology for investing platforms to compare and examine account types, pricing, investment options, ethics, and overall customer experience when reviewing investing platforms. Platforms are given a rating between 0 to 5.
Brokerages generally offer multiple account options, financial planning tools, advisor access, low fees, and other resources. Some investing platforms are better for more advanced investors or active investors, while others may better suit beginner investors and passive investors. Ameriprise Financial Services was evaluated with a focus on how it performed in each category.