Financial advisor Paul Siegel, formerly of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, has signed on with Ameriprise’s Scottsdale, Ariz. branch.

Last year, Siegel generated $900,000 in annual revenue last year and managed about $70 million in client assets. Previously, Siegel had worked at RBC Dain Rauscher and Piper Jaffray.

“Our recruiting is the most robust it has been since early 2009, at the bottom of the financial crisis," Manish Dave, head of recruiting for Ameriprise, told On Wall Street. Siegel’s hiring is another example showing that Ameriprise's employee channel has come a long way in the past four years. Until then, it was mainly used to train advisors who would eventually become independents.

So far in 2012, the advisors joining Ameriprise from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney include Dan Donato and Doug Veillette, in Hartford, Conn., who have $214 million in assets under management; Richard Trotta in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., who has $154 million under management; and John Levitz, in Plantation, Fla. who manages $86 million.

Among other notable Ameriprise hires this year are John Allison, in Houston, who came from RBC Dain and has $129 million under management; Brian McCarren, Boston, from Janney Montgomery Scott, $113 million; David McGaughey, Vienna, Va., from RBC Dain, $90 million; Dan Dijak, Saginaw, Mich., from Raymond James, more than $80 million; and John Ramzy, Austin, Texas, from Southwest Securities, $80 million.

The new wealth management hires signal an increasing perception that Ameriprise can serve affluent clients, company officials said.

“In Palm Beach County, I generally work with ultra-high-net-worth clients, and I though Ameriprise might be too down market for my business,” Trotta told On Wall Street. “However, after three years of conversations with top management, I became convinced that I can work with affluent clients here.”

Trotta, who had worked with Dean Witter Reynolds and Merrill Lynch, says that the major firms seem to be getting away from financial planning, placing more emphasis on wealth management and investing. “But ultra-high-net-worth individuals need financial planning, too,” he noted. “They often need estate planning and business succession planning, for example.”

Ameriprise has more sophisticated financial planning tools than giant firms have, according to Trotta. “You can do more ‘what-if’ scenarios for possibly higher inflation, including hyper-inflation,” he said. “In addition, the estate planning capabilities at Ameriprise are much more robust, with my access to experts in the firm.”

Donald Jay Korn writes for On Wall Street.


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