Charles Hart, who had been an independent advisor since 1982, has joined Ameriprise’s employee broker-dealer division. Hart, who managed $114 million in client assets, is now based Ameriprise's Plano, Texas, office.
“We evaluated where we thought the industry was going,” Hart told On Wall Street. “Compliance has become more challenging, and more rules are likely to be added. We could have added a compliance officer to our independent firm. Instead, we’re effectively using Ameriprise as a compliance officer and spreading the cost over thousands of reps.”
Hart acknowledged that he has moved in the “opposite direction” from many advisors, who have left the employee model to go independent, but he said such counter-moves may become more common. “We focus on financial planning, estate planning, and tax planning,” he said. “Yet we found that we were spending a great deal of time not only complying with all the rules but also learning the rules we have to follow. That was reducing the time we could spend with clients. Joining Ameriprise has freed us up to do what we’re good at.”
Ameriprise has the infrastructure in place to limit the amount of time spent on compliance and administration, according to Hart. “We also have access to technology that provides excellent data security,” he said. “Today, you need to protect clients from all types of threats, from theft to natural disasters.”
Hart also praised an “aggregation” system that Ameriprise is developing. “This system will enable us to collect clients’ financial data from all sources,” he said, “which will help with comprehensive planning. This year, with income tax and estate tax laws scheduled to change in December, and with Congress having a history of waiting until the last minute to act, it will be enormously important to be prepared with comprehensive plans.”
Before moving to Ameriprise’s employee platform, Hart’s independent firm had been with Raymond James Financial and, most recently, with VSR Financial Services.
Donald Jay Korn writes for On Wall Street.