Ameriprise Financial, Inc. 10-K 2011
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Commission File No. 1-32525
AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL, INC.
Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (612) 671-3131
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
The aggregate market value, as of June 30, 2010, of voting shares held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $9.1 billion.
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant's classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Part III: Portions of the registrant's Proxy Statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on April 27, 2011 ("Proxy Statement").
Ameriprise Financial, Inc. is a holding company incorporated in Delaware primarily engaged in business through its subsidiaries. Accordingly, references below to "Ameriprise Financial," "the Company," "we," "us," and "our" may refer to Ameriprise Financial, Inc. exclusively, to our entire family of companies, or to one or more of our subsidiaries. Our headquarters is located at 55 Ameriprise Financial Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55474. We also maintain executive offices in New York City.
We provide financial planning, products and services that are designed to be utilized as solutions for our clients' cash and liquidity, asset accumulation, income, protection, and estate and wealth transfer needs. Our model for delivering these solutions is centered on building long term, personal relationships between our affiliated advisors and clients, and in the case of our products distributed through unaffiliated advisors, by supporting those advisors in building strong client relationships. We believe that our focus on personal relationships, together with our strengths in financial planning and product development and distribution, allow us to fully address the evolving financial needs of our clients and our primary target market segment, the mass affluent and affluent, which we define as households with investable assets of more than $100,000.
Our branded affiliated advisors' financial planning and advisory process is designed to provide comprehensive advice that focuses on all aspects of our clients' finances. This approach allows us to recommend actions and a broad range of product solutions consisting of investment, annuity, insurance, banking and other financial products that can help clients attain over time a return or form of protection while accepting what they determine to be an appropriate range and level of risk.
Our approach puts us in a strong position to capitalize on significant demographic and market trends, which we believe will continue to drive increased demand for our financial planning and other financial services. Our emphasis on deep client-advisor relationships has been central to the success of our business model through the extreme market conditions of the past few years, and we believe it will help us to navigate future market and economic cycles. We continue to establish Ameriprise Financial as a financial services leader as we focus on meeting the financial needs of the mass affluent and affluent, as evidenced by our continued leadership in financial planning, a client retention percentage rate of 93%, and our status as a top ten ranked firm within core portions of our four main business segments, including the size of our U.S. advisor force, long-term U.S. mutual funds, variable annuities and variable universal life insurance.
Our multi-platform network of affiliated financial advisors is the primary means by which we develop personal relationships with retail clients. As of December 31, 2010, we had a network of more than 11,400 financial advisors and registered representatives ("affiliated financial advisors"). We refer to the affiliated financial advisors who use our brand name as our branded advisors, and those who do not use our brand name but who are affiliated as registered representatives of ours, as our unbranded advisors. The financial product solutions we offer through our affiliated advisors include both our own products and services and the products of other companies. Our branded advisor network is the primary distribution channel through which we offer our life insurance and annuity products and services, as well as a range of banking and protection products. We offer our branded advisors training, tools, leadership, marketing programs and other field and centralized support to assist them in delivering advice and product solutions to clients. We support unaffiliated advisors with sales and service support and our solutions which they provide to clients. We believe our approach not only improves the products and services we provide to their clients, but also allows us to reinvest in enhanced services for clients and increase support for financial advisors. Our integrated model of financial planning, diversified product manufacturing and affiliated and unaffiliated distribution affords us a deep understanding of our clients, which allows us to better manage the risk profile of our businesses. We believe our focus on meeting clients' needs through personal financial planning results in more satisfied clients with deeper, longer lasting relationships with our company and higher retention of our experienced financial advisors.
We believe we are well positioned to further strengthen our offerings to existing and new clients and deliver profitable long-term growth to our shareholders. Our five strategic objectives are:
Our five operating segments are:
Financial markets and macroeconomic conditions have had and will continue to have a significant impact on the operating results of each of our segments. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, the financial markets continued to recover from the historic volatility and declines experienced in 2008 and early 2009, while signals of economic recovery remained mixed. Despite this recovery in the financial markets, the business and regulatory environment in which we operate remains subject to uncertainty and change, and we expect this challenging climate to continue for the foreseeable future. To succeed in this environment, we expect to continue focusing on each of our key strategic objectives. The success of these and other strategies may be affected by the factors discussed below in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"Risk Factors", and other factors as discussed herein.
In 2010, we generated $10.0 billion in total net revenues. Net income attributable to Ameriprise Financial for 2010 was $1.1 billion. As a diversified financial services firm, we believe our ability to gather assets across the enterprise is best measured by our owned, managed and administered asset metric. At December 31, 2010, we had $672.7 billion in owned, managed and administered assets worldwide compared to $457.8 billion as of December 31, 2009, as follows:
For a more detailed discussion of owned, managed and administered assets see "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our Principal Brands
We use three principal brands for our businesses in the United States: Ameriprise Financial, Columbia Management and RiverSource. We use our Threadneedle brand for our international asset manager's products.
We use Ameriprise Financial as our holding company brand, as well as the name of our branded advisor network and certain of our retail products and services. The retail products and services that utilize the Ameriprise Financial brand include products and services that we provide through our branded advisors (e.g., financial planning, investment advisory accounts, retail brokerage services and banking products) and products and services that we market directly to consumers (e.g., personal auto and home insurance).
We use Columbia Management as the primary brand for our U.S. asset management products and services. Following the completion of the acquisition of the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management from Bank of America in April 2010, RiverSource Investments, our legacy U.S. asset management business, was combined with Columbia Management, under the Columbia Management brand. Our U.S. asset management products, including retail and institutional asset management products, primarily utilize the Columbia name.
We use our RiverSource brand for our annuities products and for the majority of our protection products, including our life and disability income insurance products. We believe that using a distinct brand for these products, as well as our Asset Management products and services, allows us to differentiate them in the marketplace.
History and Development
Our company has a more than 115 year history of providing financial solutions designed to help clients achieve their financial objectives. Our earliest predecessor company, Investors Syndicate, was founded in 1894 to provide face-amount certificates to consumers with a need for conservative investments. By 1937, Investors Syndicate had expanded its product offerings through Federal Housing Authority mortgages, and later, mutual funds, by establishing Investors Mutual, one of the pioneers in the mutual fund industry. In 1949, Investors Syndicate was renamed Investors Diversified Services, Inc., or IDS. In 1957, IDS added life insurance products, and later, annuity products, through IDS Life Insurance Company (now known as "RiverSource Life Insurance Company"). In 1972, IDS began to expand its distribution network by delivering investment products directly to clients of unaffiliated financial institutions. IDS also introduced its comprehensive financial planning processes to clients, integrating the identification of client needs with the products and services to address those needs in the 1970s, and it introduced fee-based planning in the 1980s.
In 1979, IDS became a wholly owned subsidiary of Alleghany Corporation pursuant to a merger. In 1983, our company was formed as a Delaware corporation in connection with American Express' 1984 acquisition of IDS Financial Services from Alleghany Corporation. We changed our name to "American Express Financial Corporation" ("AEFC") and began selling our products and services under the American Express brand in 1994. To provide retail clients with a more comprehensive set of products and services, we began significantly expanding our offering of the mutual funds of other companies in the late 1990s. In 2003, we acquired the business of Threadneedle Asset Management Holdings.
On September 30, 2005, American Express consummated a distribution of the shares of AEFC to American Express shareholders (the "Distribution"), at which time we became an independent, publicly traded company and changed our name to "Ameriprise Financial, Inc." In 2008, we completed the acquisitions of H&R Block Financial Advisors, Inc., Brecek & Young Advisors, Inc. ("Brecek & Young") and J. & W. Seligman & Co. Incorporated ("Seligman"), which further expanded our retail distribution and our asset management capabilities. Also in 2008, we initiated the disposition of our institutional trust and custody business and completed that restructuring in early 2009. In 2010, we completed the acquisition of the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management from Bank of America. This acquisition, the integration of which is expected to be completed in 2011, is expected to further enhance the scale and performance of our retail mutual fund and institutional asset management businesses.
The following is a depiction of the organizational structure for our company, showing the primary subsidiaries through which we operate our businesses. The current legal entity names are provided for each subsidiary.
Following is a brief description of the business conducted by each subsidiary noted above, as well as the segment or segments in which it primarily operates.
Our SegmentsAdvice & Wealth Management
Our Advice & Wealth Management segment provides financial planning and advice, as well as full-service brokerage and banking services, primarily to retail clients through our affiliated financial advisors. Our affiliated financial advisors utilize a diversified selection of both affiliated and non-affiliated products to help clients meet their financial needs. A significant portion of revenues in this segment is fee-based, driven by the level of client assets, which is impacted by both market movements and net asset flows. We also earn net investment income on owned assets primarily from certificate and banking products. This segment earns revenues (distribution fees) for distributing non-affiliated products and earns intersegment revenues (distribution fees) for distributing our affiliated products and services to our retail clients. Intersegment expenses for this segment include expenses for investment management services provided by our Asset Management segment. All intersegment activity is eliminated in our consolidated results. In 2010, 30% of our revenues from external clients were attributable to our Advice & Wealth Management business.
Our Financial Advisor Platform
We provide clients financial planning, advice and brokerage services through our nationwide network of more than 11,400 affiliated financial advisors. Our network currently includes more than 9,600 branded advisors, of which more than 2,100 are employees of our company and more than 7,400 are independent franchisees or employees or contractors of franchisees. Our affiliated network also includes more than 1,800 non-employee unbranded advisors of SAI.
Advisors who use our brand name can affiliate with our company in two different ways. Each affiliation offers different levels of support and compensation, with the amount of compensation we pay to each branded advisor determined by a schedule that takes into account the type of service or product provided, the type of branded advisor affiliation and other criteria. The affiliation options are:
During 2010, we took a number of steps to enhance the performance and the public awareness of our branded platform. In January, we introduced our MORE WITHIN REACH® advertising campaign focusing on the advisor-client relationship and how we help our clients plan for their future. We continued to invest in and implement the conversion to an enhanced brokerage platform designed to be the core technology tool our branded advisors use to service clients. The enhanced technology platform integrates with other advisor resources to help advisors run a more efficient practice, increase productivity and offer clients additional products and services. We expect the conversion effort to continue through 2012. We also continued to recruit experienced financial advisors from other firms and to affiliate such advisors within our branded advisor platform, although at a slower rate than 2009.
Our strong financial advisor retention rate speaks to the value proposition we offer advisors. As of December 31, 2010, over 54% of our branded advisors had been with us for more than 10 years, with an average tenure of nearly 18 years. Among branded advisors who have been with us for more than 10 years, we have a retention rate of over 95%. We believe this success is driven by the affiliation choices we offer branded advisors, together with our competitive payout arrangements and the broad support that helps them build their practices.
The unbranded advisor network served by SAI, offers our own and other companies' mutual funds as well as the investment, annuity and protection products of other companies.
Our affiliated financial advisors provide clients access to our diversified set of cash and liquidity, asset accumulation, income, protection, and estate and wealth transfer products and services, as well as a selection of products from other companies, as more fully described below.
Brokerage and Investment Advisory Services
Individual and Family Financial Services
The personalized financial planning approach of our branded advisors focuses on all aspects of our clients' finances. After understanding our clients' needs, our advisors seek to identify solutions to address those needs across four cornerstones: cash and liabilities, investments, protection and taxes. We believe that this approach helps our clients to build a solid financial foundation, persevere through difficult economies and challenging markets, and ultimately achieve their financial goals. We offer a broad array of products and services in each of these categories, including those carrying the Ameriprise Financial, Columbia or RiverSource name, as well as solutions offered by unaffiliated firms.
Our branded advisors deliver financial solutions to our advisory clients by building long-term personal relationships through financial planning that is responsive to clients' evolving needs. We utilize the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.'s defined financial planning process of Engage, Gather, Analyze, Recommend, Implement and Monitor. This process involves gathering relevant financial information, setting life goals, examining clients' current financial status and determining a strategy or plan for helping clients meet their goals given their current situation and future plans. Once we have identified a financial planning client's objectives, we then recommend a solution set consisting of actionssuch as
paying down debt, increasing savings and investment, protecting income and assets, creating a will, and including tax qualified formats in the client's allocation of savings and investmentas well as products to address these objectives with clients accepting what they determine to be an appropriate range and level of risk. Our financial planning relationships with our clients are characterized by an ability to thoroughly understand their specific needs, which enables us to better help them meet those needs, achieve higher overall client satisfaction, hold more products in their accounts and increase the company's assets under management.
Our financial planning clients pay a fee for the receipt of financial planning services. This fee is based on the complexity of a client's financial and life situation and his or her advisor's particular practice experience. The fee is generally not based on or related to actual investment performance; however, our clients may elect to pay a consolidated, asset-based advisory fee for financial planning and managed account services. If clients elect to implement their financial plan with our company, we and our affiliated financial advisors generally receive a sales commission and/or sales load and other revenues for the products that we sell to them. These commissions, sales loads and other revenues are separate from and in addition to the financial planning fees we and our affiliated financial advisors may receive.
Brokerage and Other Products and Services
We offer our retail and institutional clients a variety of brokerage and other investment products and services.
Our Ameriprise ONE® financial account is a single integrated financial management account that combines a client's investment, banking and lending relationships. The Ameriprise ONE financial account enables clients to access a single cash account to fund a variety of financial transactions, including investments in mutual funds, individual securities, cash products and margin lending. Additional features of the Ameriprise ONE financial account include unlimited check writing with overdraft protection, a MasterCard debit card, online bill payments, ATM access and a savings account.
We provide securities execution and clearing services for our retail and institutional clients through our registered broker-dealer subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2010, we administered $104.2 billion in assets for clients. Clients can use our online brokerage service to purchase and sell securities, obtain independent research and information about a wide variety of securities, and use self-directed asset allocation and other financial planning tools. We also offer shares in public non-exchange traded Real Estate Investment Trusts ("REITs"), and other alternative investments and structured notes issued by unaffiliated companies.
Through Ameriprise Achiever Circle, we offer special benefits and rewards to recognize clients who have $100,000 or more invested with us. Clients who have $500,000 or more invested with us are eligible for Ameriprise Achiever Circle Elite, which includes additional benefits. To qualify for and maintain Achiever Circle or Achiever Circle Elite status, clients must meet certain eligibility and maintenance requirements. Special benefits of the program may include fee reductions or waivers on Ameriprise® IRAs and the Ameriprise ONE financial accounts, fee-waived Ameriprise Financial MasterCard®, fee or interest rate benefits on an Ameriprise Savings or Advantage Savings Accounts, and fee or rate benefits on home equity lines of credit with Ameriprise Bank.
Fee-based Investment Advisory Accounts
In addition to purchases of affiliated and non-affiliated mutual funds and other securities on a stand-alone basis, clients may purchase mutual funds, among other securities, in connection with investment advisory fee-based "wrap account" programs or services. The wrap fee is for the added services and investment advice associated with these accounts and is based on a percentage of their assets. We currently offer both discretionary and non-discretionary investment advisory wrap accounts. In a discretionary wrap account, we (or an unaffiliated investment advisor) choose the underlying investments in the portfolio on behalf of the client, whereas in a non-discretionary wrap account, clients choose the underlying investments in the portfolio based on their own or on their financial advisor's recommendation. Investors in discretionary and non-discretionary wrap accounts generally pay an asset-based fee (for investment advice and other services) based on the assets held in that account as well as any related fees or costs included in the underlying securities held in that account (e.g., underlying mutual fund operating expenses, investment advisory or related fees, Rule 12b-1 fees, etc.). A significant portion of our affiliated mutual fund sales are made through wrap accounts. Client assets held in affiliated mutual funds in a wrap account generally produce higher revenues to us than client assets held in affiliated mutual funds on a stand-alone basis because, as noted above, we receive an investment advisory fee based on the asset values of the assets held in a wrap account in addition to revenues we normally receive for investment management of the funds included in the account.
We offer several types of investment advisory accounts. We sponsor Ameriprise Strategic Portfolio Service Advantage, a non-discretionary wrap account service, as well as SPSAdvisor, a discretionary wrap account service. We also sponsor Ameriprise Separately Managed Accounts ("SMAs"), a discretionary wrap account service through which clients invest in strategies offered by us and by affiliated and non-affiliated investment managers and a similar program on an accommodation basis where clients transfer assets to us and do not maintain an investment management relationship with the manager of those assets. We also sponsor Active Portfolios® investments, a discretionary mutual fund wrap
account service that enables choices among strategic target allocations based on different risk profiles and tax sensitivities. Following the introduction of two new series in 2010, we currently offer six different series of Active Portfolios investments: Active Accumulation Portfolios, Active Income Portfolios, Active Diversified Funds Portfolios, Active Diversified Alternatives Portfolios, Active Diversified Yield Portfolios and Active Opportunity ETF Portfolios. Additionally, we offer discretionary wrap account services through which clients may invest in SMAs, mutual funds and exchange traded funds.
Our unbranded advisor force offers separate fee-based investment advisory account services through Securities America Advisors, Inc. and through Iron Point Capital Management, the investment management platform of Brecek & Young. Securities America Advisors, Inc. and Brecek & Young are wholly owned subsidiaries of SAFC.
Mutual Fund Offerings
In addition to the Columbia family of mutual funds (discussed below in "Our SegmentsAsset ManagementU.S. Asset Management OfferingsMutual Funds"), we offer mutual funds from more than 275 mutual fund families on a stand-alone basis and as part of our wrap accounts to provide our clients a broad choice of investment products. In 2010, retail sales of other companies' mutual funds accounted for a substantial portion of our total retail mutual fund sales. Client assets held in mutual funds of other companies on a stand-alone basis generally produce lower total revenues than client assets held in our own mutual funds, as our Asset Management segment does not receive ongoing investment management fees.
Mutual fund families of other companies generally pay us a portion of the revenue generated from the sales of those funds and from the ongoing management of fund assets attributable to our clients' ownership of shares of those funds. These payments enable us to make the mutual fund families of other companies generally available through our financial advisors and through our online brokerage platform. We also receive administrative services fees from most mutual funds sold through our distribution network.
Insurance and Annuities
We offer insurance and annuities issued by the RiverSource Life companies (discussed below in "BusinessOur SegmentsAnnuities" and in "BusinessOur SegmentsProtection"). The RiverSource insurance solutions available to our retail clients include variable and fixed universal life insurance, traditional life insurance and disability income insurance. RiverSource annuities include fixed annuities, as well as variable annuities that allow our clients to choose from a number of underlying investment options and to purchase certain guaranteed benefit riders. In addition to RiverSource insurance and annuity products, our branded advisors offer products of unaffiliated carriers on a limited basis. In 2010, we began offering variable annuities issued by a select number of unaffiliated insurance companies.
We receive a portion of the revenue generated from the sale of life and disability insurance policies of unaffiliated insurance companies. We are paid distribution fees on annuities sales of unaffiliated insurance companies based on a portion of the revenue generated from such sales. Such insurance companies may also pay us an administrative service fee in connection with the sale of their products.
We provide consumer lending and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") insured deposit products to our retail clients through our banking subsidiary, Ameriprise Bank. Our consumer lending products include first mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, and investment secured loans. We also offer credit card products linked to the Ameriprise Achiever Circle Program. These include the Ameriprise World Elite MasterCard, World MasterCard and Platinum MasterCard. The majority of bank deposits are brokered deposits from affiliated broker-dealers or they are in the Ameriprise Personal Savings Account, which we offer in connection with the Ameriprise ONE Financial Account described above in "Brokerage and Investment Advisory ServicesBrokerage and Other Products and Services." We also offer stand-alone checking, savings and money market accounts and certificates of deposit. We believe these products play a key role in our Advice & Wealth Management business by offering our clients an FDIC-insured alternative to other cash products. These products also provide pricing flexibility generally not available through money market funds.
To manage our exposure to residential real estate, we sell the majority of our originated first mortgage products to third parties shortly after origination. All other lending products are originated and held on the balance sheet of Ameriprise Bank, with the exception of investment secured loans, which are held on the balance sheet of Ameriprise Financial. As of December 31, 2010, there were $825 million in home loans/equity line of credit balances, $14 million in investment secured loan balances and $217 million in unsecured balances, net of premiums and discounts, and capitalized lender paid origination fees.
Ameriprise Bank's strategy and operations are focused on serving branded advisor clients. We distribute our banking products primarily through branded advisors. We believe that the availability of these products is a competitive advantage and supports our financial advisors in their ability to meet the cash and liquidity needs of our clients. We also serve advisor clients through the Personal Trust Services division of Ameriprise Bank. Personal Trust Services provides personal trust, custodial, agency and investment management services to help them meet the estate and wealth transfer needs of individual and corporate clients of our branded advisors. Personal Trust Services also uses some of our investment products in connection with its services.
We currently issue four types of face-amount certificates through Ameriprise Certificate Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial that is registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 ("Investment Company Act"). Owners of our certificates invest funds and are entitled to receive at maturity or at the end of a stated term, a determinable amount of money equal to their aggregate investments in the certificate plus interest at rates we declare, less any withdrawals and early withdrawal penalties. For two types of certificate products, the rate of interest is calculated in whole or in part based on any upward movement in a broad-based stock market index up to a maximum return, where the maximum is a fixed rate for a given term, but can be changed at our discretion for prospective terms.
At December 31, 2010, we had $3.2 billion in total certificate reserves underlying our certificate products. Our earnings are based upon the difference, or "spread," between the interest rates credited to certificate holders and the interest earned on the certificate assets invested. A portion of these earnings is used to compensate the various affiliated entities that provide management, administrative and other services to our company for these products. The certificates compete with investments offered by banks (including Ameriprise Bank), savings and loan associations, credit unions, mutual funds, insurance companies and similar financial institutions, which may be viewed by potential customers as offering a comparable or superior combination of safety and return on investment. In times of weak performance in the equity markets, certificate sales are generally stronger. In 2010, branded financial advisors' cash sales were $850 million.
We provide workplace financial planning and educational programs to employees of major corporations and small businesses through our Business Alliances group. Our Business Alliances group helps the individual employees of client companies plan for and achieve their long-term financial objectives. It offers financial planning as an employee benefit supported by educational materials, tools and programs. In addition, we provide training and support to financial advisors working on-site at company locations to present educational seminars, conduct one-on-one meetings and participate in client educational events. We also provide financial advice service offerings, such as Financial Planning and Executive Financial Services, tailored to discrete employee segments.
Strategic Alliances and Other Marketing Arrangements
We use strategic marketing alliances, local marketing programs for our branded advisors, and on-site workshops through our Business Alliances group to generate new clients for our financial planning and other financial services. An important aspect of our strategy is to leverage the client relationships of our other businesses by working with major companies to create alliances that help us generate new financial services clients. For example, AFSI currently has a strategic alliance with H&R Block, Inc. designed to build relationships between our branded financial advisors and the tax professionals of H&R Block, Inc. and to leverage those relationships to better serve both AFSI and H&R Block, Inc. clients through referrals. Our alliance arrangements are generally for a limited duration of one to five years with an option to renew. Additionally, these types of marketing arrangements typically provide that either party may terminate the agreements on short notice, usually within sixty days. We compensate our alliance partners for providing opportunities to market to their clients.
In addition to our alliance arrangements, we have developed a number of local marketing programs for our branded advisors to use in building their client bases. These include pre-approved seminars, seminar- and event-training and referral tools and training, which are designed to encourage both prospective and existing clients to refer or bring their friends to an event.
Our SegmentsAsset Management
Our Asset Management segment provides investment advice and investment products to retail and institutional clients. Columbia Management primarily provides U.S. domestic products and services, and Threadneedle primarily provides international investment products and services. U.S. domestic retail products are primarily distributed through unaffiliated third party financial institutions and also through our Advice & Wealth Management segment, and institutional products and services are sold through our institutional sales force. International retail products are primarily distributed through third parties. Retail products include mutual funds, variable product funds underlying insurance and annuity separate accounts, separately managed accounts and collective funds. Institutional asset management services are designed to meet specific client objectives and may involve a range of products, including those that focus on traditional asset classes, separate accounts, individually managed accounts, collateralized loan obligations, hedge funds and property funds. In addition to the products and services provided to third party clients, management teams serving our Asset Management segment provide all intercompany asset management services for Ameriprise Financial. The fees for all such services are reflected within the Asset Management segment results through intersegment transfer pricing. Intersegment expenses for this segment include distribution expenses for services provided by our Advice & Wealth Management, Annuities and Protection segments. All intersegment activity is eliminated in our consolidated results. In 2010, 23% of our total revenues from external clients were attributable to our Asset Management business.
We have continued to invest in the growth of our Asset Management segment, as we believe such investment affords attractive opportunities for growth and the achievement of our performance objectives. On April 30, 2010, we completed the acquisition of the long-term asset management business of the Columbia Management Group from Bank of America. The acquisition significantly enhanced the capabilities of the Asset Management segment by increasing its scale, broadening its retail and institutional distribution capabilities and strengthening and diversifying its lineup of retail and institutional products. The integration of the Columbia Management business, which is ongoing and is expected to be completed in 2011, has involved organizational changes to our portfolio management and analytical teams and to our operational, compliance, sales and marketing support staffs. This integration has also involved the streamlining of our U.S. domestic product offerings, a process that is ongoing. As a result of the integration, we combined RiverSource Investments, our legacy U.S. asset management business, with Columbia Management, under the Columbia Management brand. Threadneedle will remain the company's primary international asset management platform.
Prior to the Columbia Management acquisition, in November 2008, we acquired the Seligman companies. The business of the Seligman companies, which we integrated into our Asset Management segment, involved the management of open- and closed-end investment funds, hedge funds and institutional portfolios. The Seligman business has been recognized for its accomplished technology investment team, which manages retail mutual funds, separate accounts and hedge funds, including Seligman Communications and Information Fund, and for its value-oriented offerings. We believe the Columbia Management and Seligman acquisitions will help us achieve our goal of delivering consistent and strong investment performance by enhancing our investment management leadership, talent, technology infrastructure and distribution capabilities.
Revenues in the Asset Management segment are primarily earned as fees based on managed asset balances, which are impacted by both market movements and net asset flows. We may also earn performance fees from certain accounts where investment performance meets or exceeds certain pre-identified targets. At December 31, 2010, our Asset Management segment had $457 billion in managed assets worldwide. Managed assets include managed external client assets and managed owned assets. Managed external client assets include client assets for which we provide investment management services, such as the assets of the Columbia Management and Threadneedle families of mutual funds and the assets of institutional clients. Managed external client assets include assets managed by sub-advisors we select. These external client assets are not reported on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. Managed owned assets include certain assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets (such as the assets of the general account and the variable product funds held in the separate accounts of our life insurance subsidiaries) for which the Asset Management segment provides management services and recognizes management fees. For additional details regarding our owned, managed and administered assets, see "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
U.S. Investment Management Capabilities
Our U.S. investment management activities are conducted primarily through investment management teams located in offices throughout the United States. Each investment management team may focus on particular investment strategies, asset types, products and on services offered and distribution channels utilized. These teams manage the majority of assets in our Columbia family of mutual funds, as well as the assets we manage for institutional clients in separately managed accounts, hedge funds, the general and separate accounts of the RiverSource Life companies, the assets of IDS Property Casualty and Ameriprise Certificate Company and the investment portfolio of Ameriprise Bank. These investment management teams also manage assets under sub-advisory arrangements.
We believe that delivering consistent and strong investment performance will positively impact our assets under management by increasing the competitiveness and attractiveness of many of our investment products. To achieve such performance, our investment teams are overseen utilizing a "5P" process that focuses on the five factors we believe are most significant for delivering results to clients: product definition, investment philosophy, people, investment process and performance expectation. These factors are continuously monitored and provide a framework around which portfolio managers can better define their objectives and the processes through which they plan to achieve them.
Each investment management team focuses on particular investment strategies and product sets. Our U.S. investment management teams are located in multiple locations, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Menlo Park and Portland. We have implemented a multi-platform approach to equity asset management using individual, accountable investment management teams with a combination of dedicated centralized analytical and equity trading resources. The portfolios managed by these teams focus on varying sizes and categories of domestic and global equity securities. Our U.S. fixed income teams are organized by sectors, including for example, investment grade, high yield, municipal, global and structured. This sector-based approach creates focused and accountable teams organized by expertise. Portfolio performance is measured to align client and corporate interests, and asset managers are incented to collaborate, employ best practices and execute in response to changing market and investment conditions consistent with established portfolio management principles.
In an effort to address changing market conditions and the evolving needs of investors, we may from time to time develop and offer new retail and institutional investment products, including mutual funds, separately managed accounts and collective funds. We may also provide seed money to our investment management teams to develop new products for our institutional clients.
U.S. Asset Management Offerings
We provide investment advisory, distribution and other services to the Columbia family of mutual funds. The Columbia family of funds includes retail mutual funds (both open- and closed-end funds) and variable product funds. Retail mutual funds are available through unaffiliated third-party financial institutions and the Ameriprise financial advisor network and as part of Ameriprise institutional 401(k) plans. Variable product funds are available as underlying investment options in variable annuity and variable life products, including RiverSource products. The Columbia family of funds includes domestic and international equity funds, fixed income funds, cash management funds, balanced funds and asset allocation funds, including fund-of-funds, with a variety of investment objectives. The consolidation of our legacy asset management business under the Columbia Management brand has involved numerous fund mergers, which are ongoing.
At December 31, 2010, our retail mutual funds had total managed assets of $164.2 billion in 176 funds. The variable insurance trust funds ("VIT Funds") that we manage had total managed assets at December 31, 2010 of $54.3 billion in 79 funds.
CMIA serves as investment manager for most of our U.S. mutual funds. Columbia Wanger Asset Management, LLC ("Columbia Wanger") also serves as investment manager for certain funds. In addition, several of our subsidiaries perform ancillary services for the funds, including distribution, accounting, administrative and transfer agency services. CMIA and Columbia Wanger perform investment management services pursuant to contracts with the mutual funds that are subject to renewal by the mutual fund boards within two years after initial implementation, and thereafter, on an annual basis.
We earn management fees for managing the assets of the Columbia family of mutual funds based on the underlying asset values. We also earn fees by providing ancillary services to the Columbia family of mutual funds. Certain Columbia equity and balanced funds have a performance incentive adjustment that adjusts the level of management fees received, upward or downward, based on the fund's performance as measured against a designated external index of peers. This has a corresponding impact on management fee revenue. In 2010, revenues were adjusted upward by approximately $7.5 million due to performance incentive adjustments. This program is expected to be discontinued during 2011, subject to fund shareholder approvals.
The Columbia family of funds also uses sub-advisors to diversify and enhance investment management expertise. Since the end of 2003, Threadneedle personnel have provided investment management services to Columbia global and international equity funds. In addition to Threadneedle, unaffiliated sub-advisors provide investment management services to certain Columbia funds.
CMIA also acts as sub-advisor for certain domestic and international mutual funds advised by other firms and is pursuing opportunities to sub-advise additional investment company assets in the U.S. and overseas. As with the Columbia funds, we earn management fees for these services based on the underlying asset value of the funds we sub-advise. As of December 31, 2010, we managed over $37.0 billion in assets in a sub-advisory capacity.
Separately Managed Accounts
We provide investment management services to pension, profit-sharing, employee savings and endowment funds, accounts of large- and medium-sized businesses and governmental clients, as well as the accounts of high-net-worth individuals and smaller institutional clients, including tax-exempt and not-for-profit organizations. Our services include investment of funds on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis and related services including trading, cash management and reporting. We offer various fixed income and equity investment strategies for our institutional separately managed accounts clients. Through an arrangement with Threadneedle, we also offer certain international and U.S. equity strategies to U.S. clients.
For our investment management services, we generally receive fees based on the market value of managed assets pursuant to contracts that can typically be terminated by the client on short notice. Clients may also pay fees to us based on the performance of their portfolio. At December 31, 2010, we managed a total of $38.7 billion in assets under this range of services.
We also offer U.S. equity and a variety of fixed income strategies to non-U.S. clients.
Management of Institutional Owned Assets
We provide investment management services and recognize management fees for certain assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets, such as the assets held in the general account of our RiverSource Life companies, assets held by Ameriprise Certificate Company and the investment portfolio of Ameriprise Bank. Our fixed income team manages the general account assets to produce a consolidated and targeted rate of return on investments while controlling risk. Our fixed income and equity teams also manage separate account assets. The Asset Management segment's management of institutional owned assets for Ameriprise Financial subsidiaries is reviewed by the boards of directors and staff functions of the applicable subsidiaries consistent with regulatory investment requirements. At December 31, 2010, the Asset Management segment managed $37.8 billion of institutional owned assets.
Management of Collateralized Debt Obligations ("CDOs")
We provide collateral management services to special purpose vehicles that issue CDOs through a dedicated team of investment professionals. CDOs are securities collateralized by a pool of assets, primarily syndicated bank loans and, to a lesser extent, high-yield bonds. Multiple tranches of securities are issued by a CDO, offering investors various maturity and credit risk characteristics. Scheduled payments to investors are based on the performance of the CDO's collateral pool. For collateral management of CDOs, we earn fees based on the par value of assets and, in certain instances, we may also receive performance-based fees. At December 31, 2010, excluding CDOs managed by Threadneedle, we managed $6 billion of assets related to CDOs.
We provide investment advice and related services to private, pooled investment vehicles organized as limited partnerships, limited liability companies or foreign (non-U.S.) entities. These funds are currently exempt from registration under the Investment Company Act and are organized as domestic and foreign funds. For investment management services, we generally receive fees based on the market value of assets under management, as well as performance-based fees. As of December 31, 2010, we managed $4.0 billion in hedge fund assets.
Ameriprise Trust Collective Funds and Separately Managed Accounts
As of December 31, 2010, we managed $7.3 billion of RiverSource Trust Collective Funds and separate accounts for Ameriprise Trust Company clients. This amount does not include the Columbia family of mutual funds held in other retirement plans because these assets are included under assets managed for institutional and retail clients and within the "U.S. Asset Management OfferingsMutual Funds" section above.
Collective funds are investment funds that are exempt from registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and offered primarily through banks and other financial institutions to institutional clients such as retirement, pension and profit-sharing plans. We currently serve as investment manager to 36 Ameriprise Trust Company collective funds covering a broad spectrum of investment strategies. We receive fees for investment management services that are generally based upon a percentage of assets under management rather than performance. In addition to Columbia funds and RiverSource Trust Collective Funds, Ameriprise Trust Company offers separately managed accounts and collective funds to our retirement plan clients.
Columbia Management Investment Distributors, Inc. acts as the principal underwriter and distributor of our Columbia family of mutual funds. Pursuant to distribution agreements with the funds, we offer and sell fund shares on a continuous basis and pay certain costs associated with the marketing and selling of shares. We earn commissions for distributing the Columbia funds through sales charges (front-end or back-end loads) on certain classes of shares and distribution and
servicing-related (12b-1) fees based on a percentage of fund assets, and receive intersegment allocation payments. This revenue is impacted by overall asset levels of the funds.
Columbia fund shares are sold through both our Advice & Wealth Management segment and through unaffiliated third party financial intermediaries. Among our third party distribution arrangements is a strategic distribution agreement entered into in connection with the acquisition of Columbia Management that provides ongoing access to clients of Bank of America affiliated distributors, including U.S. Trust. Fees and reimbursements paid to such intermediaries may vary based on sales, redemptions, asset values, and marketing and support activities provided by the intermediary. Intersegment distribution expenses for services provided by our Advice & Wealth Management Segment are eliminated in our consolidated results.
We offer separately managed account services to a variety of institutional clients, including pension plans, employee savings plans, foundations, endowments, corporations, banks, trusts, governmental entities, high-net-worth individuals and not-for-profit organizations. We provide investment management services for insurance companies, including our insurance subsidiaries, as well as hedge fund management and other alternative investment products. We also provide, primarily through our trust company subsidiary and one of our broker-dealer subsidiaries, a variety of services for our institutional clients that sponsor retirement plans. We have dedicated institutional and sub-advisory sales teams that market directly to such institutional clients.
At December 31, 2010, we managed $137.2 billion of assets for Columbia Management institutional clients.
International Asset ManagementThreadneedle
We offer international investment management products and services through Threadneedle, which is headquartered in Luxembourg and maintains its primary investment operations in London. Threadneedle is our international platform for the distribution of investment products to both retail and institutional clients. At December 31, 2010, Threadneedle had $105.6 billion in managed assets worldwide.
Investment Management Capabilities
Threadneedle's investment management activities are conducted primarily from its London office. Threadneedle's investment philosophy is to share investment ideas and alpha generation across teams and asset classes. Each investment management team may focus on particular investment strategies, asset types, products and services offered and distribution channels. These teams manage the majority of assets in the Threadneedle family of mutual funds, the assets of Threadneedle's alternative investment structures and the assets managed for Threadneedle's institutional clients. These investment management teams also manage assets under sub-advisory arrangements, including certain Columbia funds.
Threadneedle offers a wide range of products and services, including segregated asset management, mutual funds and hedge funds to institutional clients as well as to retail clients in Europe, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Threadneedle's mutual fund and hedge fund product range includes different risk-return options across regions, markets, asset classes and product structures, which include Open Ended Investment Companies ("OEICs"), Societe d'Investissement A Capital Variable ("SICAV"), unit trusts, Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities ("UCITS III") and offshore vehicles.
Threadneedle's institutional business offers separately managed accounts to European and other international pension funds and other institutions. At December 31, 2010, Threadneedle had $71 billion in managed assets in separately managed accounts including $48 billion of assets managed for Zurich Financial Services Group ("Zurich"). Zurich is Threadneedle's largest client and represented 46% of Threadneedle's assets under management as of December 31, 2010 but a substantially lower portion of Threadneedle's revenue. Threadneedle is expanding distribution of its institutional products in Europe, Asia, U.S., Middle East and Australia.
For more information on the funds and other investment vehicles and services offered by Threadneedle, see "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In recognition of the fact that the industry is broadly divided into two major segments, the retail and institutional markets, Threadneedle has organized its sales force and support services along similar lines. The institutional team concentrates on establishing strong relationships with institutional clients and the leading global and national consultancy firms. On the retail side, Threadneedle mutual funds are sold through financial intermediaries and institutions: Threadneedle works with banks, life insurance companies, independent financial advisers, wealth managers and platforms offering a variety of
investment products. Threadneedle's dedicated Global Financial Institutions team offers internationally coordinated coverage to financial institutions with a global reach.
Our Annuities segment provides RiverSource variable and fixed annuity products to retail clients. Variable annuity products are distributed through our branded financial advisors, while fixed annuity products are distributed through both affiliated and unaffiliated advisors. Revenues for our variable annuity products are primarily earned as fees based on underlying account balances, which are impacted by both market movements and net asset flows. Revenues for our fixed annuity products are primarily earned as net investment income on assets supporting fixed account balances, with profitability significantly impacted by the spread between net investment income earned and interest credited on the fixed account balances. We also earn net investment income on owned assets supporting reserves for immediate annuities and for certain guaranteed benefits offered with variable annuities and on capital supporting the business. Intersegment revenues for this segment reflect fees paid by our Asset Management segment for marketing support and other services provided in connection with the availability of VIT Funds under the variable annuity contracts. Intersegment expenses for this segment include distribution expenses for services provided by our Advice & Wealth Management segment, as well as expenses for investment management services provided by our Asset Management segment. All intersegment activity is eliminated in our consolidated results. In 2010, 23% of our revenues from external clients were attributable to our Annuities segment.
Our products include deferred variable and fixed annuities, in which assets accumulate until the contract is surrendered, the contractholder (or in some contracts, the annuitant) dies or the contractholder or annuitant begins receiving benefits under an annuity payout option. We also offer immediate annuities, in which payments begin within one year of issue and continue for life or for a fixed period of time. The relative proportion between fixed and variable annuity sales is generally driven by the relative performance of the equity and fixed income markets. Fixed sales are generally stronger when yields available in the fixed income markets are relatively high than when yields are relatively low. Variable sales are generally stronger in times of superior performance in equity markets than in times of weak performance in equity markets. The relative proportion between fixed and variable annuity sales is also influenced by product design and other factors. In addition to the revenues we generate on these products, which are described below, we also receive fees charged on assets allocated to our separate accounts to cover administrative costs and a portion of the management fees from the underlying investment accounts in which assets are invested, as discussed below under "Variable Annuities." Investment management performance is critical to the profitability of our RiverSource annuity business.
Our branded advisors are the largest distributors of RiverSource annuity products, although they can offer variable annuities from a select number of unaffiliated insurers as well. In 2010, we expanded the offerings available through our branded advisors by including variable annuities issued by a limited number of unaffiliated insurance companies. Our RiverSource Distributors subsidiary is a broker-dealer that serves as the principal underwriter and distributor of RiverSource variable and fixed annuities through AFSI and fixed annuities through SAI, as well as serving as the distributor of fixed annuities through third-party channels such as banks and broker-dealer networks.
A variable annuity provides a contractholder with investment returns linked to underlying investment accounts of the contractholder's choice. These underlying investment options may include the VIT Funds previously discussed (see "BusinessOur SegmentsAsset ManagementU.S. Asset Management OfferingsMutual Funds," above) as well as variable portfolio funds of other companies. RiverSource variable annuity products in force offer a fixed account investment option with guaranteed minimum interest crediting rates ranging up to 4% at December 31, 2010. In 2010, we introduced multiple versions of our new RAVA 5 variable annuity, including RAVA 5 Access, RAVA 5 Advantage and RAVA 5 Select.
Our Portfolio Navigator asset allocation program is available under our variable annuities. The Portfolio Navigator program allows clients to allocate their contract value to one of five funds of funds, each of which invests in various underlying funds. The Portfolio Navigator program is designed to allow a contract purchaser to select investment options based on the purchaser's investment time horizon, risk tolerance and investment goals. We believe the Portfolio Navigator program helps a contract purchaser to tailor the performance of annuities and life insurance policies to their specific needs and to keep investment allocations on track over time. CMIA, our investment management subsidiary, serves as investment adviser for the funds of funds and all of the underlying funds in which the funds of funds invest.
The majority of the variable annuity contracts we issue include guaranteed minimum death benefit ("GMDB") provisions. Contract purchasers can choose to add optional benefit provisions to their contracts to meet their needs, including guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit ("GMWB") and guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit ("GMAB") provisions. Approximately 98% of RiverSource Life's overall variable annuity assets include a GMDB provision and approximately 45% of RiverSource Life's overall variable annuity assets include a GMWB or GMAB provision. In general, these features can help protect contractholders and beneficiaries from a shortfall in death or living benefits due to a decline in the value of their underlying investment accounts.
The general account assets of our life insurance subsidiaries support the contractual obligations under the guaranteed benefit provisions the company issues (see "BusinessOur SegmentsAsset ManagementU.S. Asset Management OfferingsManagement of Institutional Owned Assets" above). As a result, we bear the risk that protracted under-performance of the financial markets could result in guaranteed benefit payments being higher than what current account values would support. Our exposure to risk from guaranteed benefits generally will increase when equity markets decline, as evidenced by the significant decline experienced in 2008 and early 2009. You can find a discussion of liabilities and reserves related to our annuity products in Part II, Item 7A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk", as well as in Note 11, Note 12 and Note 16 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
RiverSource variable annuities provide us with fee-based revenue in the form of mortality and expense risk fees, marketing support and administrative fees, fees charged for optional features elected by the contractholder, and other contract charges. We receive marketing support payments from the VIT Funds underlying our variable annuity products as well as Rule 12b-1 distribution and servicing-related fees from the VIT Funds and the underlying funds of other companies. In addition, we receive marketing support payments from the affiliates of other companies' funds included as investment options in our RiverSource variable annuity products.
RiverSource fixed annuity products provide a contractholder with cash value that increases by a fixed or indexed interest rate. We periodically reset rates at our discretion subject to certain policy terms establishing minimum guaranteed interest crediting rates. Our earnings from fixed annuities are based upon the spread between rates earned on assets purchased with fixed annuity deposits and the rates at which interest is credited to our RiverSource fixed annuity contracts.
In 2007, we discontinued new sales of equity indexed annuities.
RiverSource fixed annuity contracts in force provide guaranteed minimum interest crediting rates ranging from 1.25% to 5.0% at December 31, 2010. New contracts issued provide guaranteed minimum interest rates in compliance with state laws providing for indexed guaranteed rates.
Liabilities and Reserves for Annuities
We maintain adequate financial reserves to cover the risks associated with guaranteed benefit provisions added to variable annuity contracts in addition to liabilities arising from fixed and variable annuity base contracts. You can find a discussion of liabilities and reserves related to our annuity products in Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Financial Strength Ratings
Our insurance company subsidiaries that issue RiverSource annuity products receive ratings from independent rating organizations. Ratings are important to maintain public confidence in our insurance subsidiaries and our protection and annuity products. For a discussion of the financial strength ratings of our insurance company subsidiaries, see the "Our SegmentsProtectionFinancial Strength Ratings" section, below.
Third-Party Distribution Channels
In the fourth quarter of 2010, RiverSource Life companies discontinued the distribution of variable annuity products through third-party channels in order to focus on the distribution of variable annuity products within our Advice & Wealth Management segment. We continue to distribute RiverSource fixed annuity products through third-party channels. In 2010, we had total cash sales for variable and fixed annuity products through third-party channels of $1.0 billion, of which $760 million pertained to variable annuity sales and $265 million pertained to fixed annuity sales. As of December 31, 2010, we had distribution agreements for RiverSource fixed annuity products in place with more than 120 third party firms.
Our Protection segment provides a variety of protection products to address the protection and risk management needs of our retail clients, including life, disability income and property-casualty insurance. Life and disability income products are primarily distributed through our branded advisors. Our property-casualty products are sold primarily through affinity relationships. We issue insurance policies through our life insurance subsidiaries and the Property Casualty companies (as defined below under "Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance Products"). The primary sources of revenues for this segment are premiums, fees and charges we receive to assume insurance-related risk. We earn net investment income on owned assets supporting insurance reserves and capital supporting the business. We also receive fees based on the level of assets supporting variable universal life separate account balances. This segment earns intersegment revenues from fees paid by our Asset Management segment for marketing support and other services provided in connection with the availability of VIT Funds under the variable universal life contracts. Intersegment expenses for this segment include
distribution expenses for services provided by our Advice & Wealth Management segment, as well as expenses for investment management services provided by our Asset Management segment. All intersegment activity is eliminated in consolidation. In 2010, 20% of our revenues from external clients were attributable to our Protection business.
RiverSource Insurance Products
Through the RiverSource Life companies, we are the issuers of both variable and fixed universal life insurance, traditional life insurance and disability income insurance. These solutions are designed to help clients protect their income, grow assets, and give to those individuals or causes that they care most about. Universal life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance characterized by flexible premiums, flexible death benefits and unbundled pricing factors (i.e., mortality, interest and expenses). Variable universal life insurance combines the premium and death benefit flexibility of universal life with underlying fund investment flexibility and the risks associated therewith. Traditional life insurance refers to whole and term life insurance policies. While traditional life insurance typically pays a specified sum to a beneficiary upon death of the insured for a fixed premium, in 2010 we began offering a term life insurance product that will generally pay the death benefit in the form of a monthly income stream to a date specified at issue. We also offer a chronic care rider, AdvanceSource®, on our new permanent insurance products. This rider allows its policy holder to accelerate a portion of the life insurance death benefit in the event of a qualified chronic care need.
Our sales of RiverSource individual life insurance in 2010, as measured by scheduled annual premiums, lump sum and excess premiums, consisted of 35% variable universal life, 59% fixed universal life and 6% traditional life. Our RiverSource Life companies issue only non-participating policies that do not pay dividends to policyholders from the insurer's earnings.
Assets supporting policy values associated with fixed account life insurance and annuity products, as well as those assets associated with fixed account investment options under variable insurance and annuity products (collectively referred to as the "fixed accounts"), are part of the RiverSource Life companies' general accounts. Under fixed accounts, the RiverSource Life companies bear the investment risk. More information on the RiverSource Life companies' general accounts is found under "BusinessOur SegmentsAsset ManagementU.S. Asset Management OfferingsManagement of Institutional Owned Assets" above.
Variable Universal Life Insurance
Variable universal life insurance provides life insurance coverage along with investment returns linked to underlying investment accounts of the policyholder's choice. Options may include VIT Funds discussed above, Portfolio Navigator funds of funds, as well as variable portfolio funds of other companies. RiverSource variable universal life insurance products in force offer a fixed account investment option with guaranteed minimum interest crediting rates ranging from 3.0% to 4.5% at December 31, 2010.
Fixed Universal Life Insurance and Traditional Whole Life Insurance
Fixed universal life and traditional whole life insurance policies do not subject the policyholder to the investment risks associated with variable universal life insurance.
RiverSource fixed universal life insurance products provide life insurance coverage and cash value that increases by a fixed interest rate. The rate is periodically reset at the discretion of the issuing company subject to certain policy terms relative to minimum interest crediting rates. RiverSource fixed universal life insurance policies in force provided guaranteed minimum interest crediting rates ranging from 3.0% to 5.0% at December 31, 2010. The majority of fixed universal life policies issued in recent years provide a secondary guarantee that ensures, subject to specified conditions, the policy will not terminate and will continue to provide a death benefit even if there is insufficient policy value to cover the monthly deductions and charges. In 2009, we discontinued new sales of traditional whole life insurance, however, we continue to service existing policies. These in force traditional whole life insurance policies combine a death benefit with a cash value that generally increases gradually over a period of years.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides a death benefit, but it does not build up cash value. The policyholder chooses the term of coverage with guaranteed premiums at the time of issue. During the chosen term, we cannot raise premium rates even if claims experience deteriorates. At the end of the chosen term, coverage may continue with higher premiums until the maximum age is attained, or the policy expires with no value. In 2010, we began offering a term insurance product which pays the death benefit in the form of a monthly income stream.
Disability Income Insurance
Disability income insurance provides monthly benefits to individuals who are unable to earn income either at their occupation at time of disability ("own occupation") or at any suitable occupation ("any occupation") for premium payments that are guaranteed not to change. Depending upon occupational and medical underwriting criteria, applicants for disability income insurance can choose "own occupation" and "any occupation" coverage for varying benefit periods. In some states, applicants may also choose various benefit provisions to help them integrate individual disability income insurance benefits with social security or similar benefit plans and to help them protect their disability income insurance benefits from the risk of inflation.
Long Term Care Insurance
As of December 31, 2002, the RiverSource Life companies discontinued underwriting long term care insurance. However, our branded financial advisors sell long term care insurance issued by other companies, including Genworth Life Insurance Company, John Hancock Life Insurance Company and Prudential Insurance Company.
In 2004 RiverSource Life and RiverSource Life of NY began to file for approval to implement rate increases on most of their existing blocks of nursing home-only indemnity long term care insurance policies. Implementation of these rate increases began in early 2005 and continues. We have received approval for some or all requested increases in the 49 states where increases have been requested, with an average approved cumulative rate increase of 62.9% of premium on all such policies where an increase was requested.
In 2007 RiverSource Life and RiverSource Life of NY began to file for approval to implement rate increases on most of their existing blocks of comprehensive reimbursement long term care insurance policies. Implementation of these rate increases began in late 2007 and continues. We have received approval for some or all requested increases in 47 states, with an average approved cumulative rate increase of 17.5% of premium on all such policies where an increase was requested.
We intend to seek additional rate increases with respect to these and other existing blocks of long term care insurance policies, subject to regulatory approval.
Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance Products
We offer personal auto, home and excess personal liability insurance products through IDS Property Casualty and its subsidiary, Ameriprise Insurance Company (the "Property Casualty companies"). Our Property Casualty companies provide personal auto, home and liability coverage to clients in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
Distribution and Marketing Channels
We offer RiverSource life insurance products almost exclusively through our branded financial advisors. Our branded advisors offer insurance products issued predominantly by the RiverSource Life companies. In addition, our branded advisors may offer insurance products of unaffiliated carriers, subject to certain qualifications.
Our Property Casualty companies do not have field agents; rather, we use co-branded direct marketing to sell our personal auto and home insurance products through alliances with commercial institutions and affinity groups, and directly to our clients and the general public. We also receive referrals through our financial advisor network. Our Property Casualty companies have a multi-year distribution agreement with Costco Insurance Agency, Inc., Costco's affiliated insurance agency. Costco members represented 62% of all new policy sales of our Property Casualty companies in 2010. Through other alliances, we market our property casualty products to customers of Ford Motor Credit Company and offer personal home insurance products to customers of the Progressive Group. Termination of one or more of these alliances could adversely affect our ability to generate new sales and retain existing business.
We reinsure a portion of the insurance risks associated with our life, disability income and long term care insurance products through reinsurance agreements with unaffiliated reinsurance companies. We use reinsurance in order to limit losses, reduce exposure to large risks and provide additional capacity for future growth. To manage exposure to losses from reinsurer insolvencies, we evaluate the financial condition of reinsurers prior to entering into new reinsurance treaties and on a periodic basis during the terms of the treaties. Our insurance companies remain primarily liable as the direct insurers on all risks reinsured.
Generally, we currently reinsure 90% of the death benefit liability related to almost all individual fixed and variable universal life and term life insurance products. As a result, the RiverSource Life companies typically retain and are at risk for, at most, 10% of each policy's death benefit from the first dollar of coverage for new sales of these policies, subject to the reinsurers fulfilling their obligations. The RiverSource Life companies began reinsuring risks at this level during 2001 (2002 for RiverSource Life of NY) for term life insurance and 2002 (2003 for RiverSource Life of NY) for individual fixed and variable universal life insurance. Policies issued prior to these dates are not subject to these reinsurance levels. Generally, the maximum amount of life insurance risk retained by the RiverSource Life companies is $1.5 million on a single life and $1.5 million on any flexible premium survivorship life policy. Risk on fixed and variable universal life policies is reinsured on a yearly renewable term basis. Risk on most term life policies starting in 2001 (2002 for RiverSource Life of NY) is reinsured on a coinsurance basis, a type of reinsurance in which the reinsurer participates proportionally in all material risks and premiums associated with a policy.
For existing long term care policies, RiverSource Life retained 50% of the risk and ceded on a coinsurance basis the remaining 50% of the risk to subsidiaries of Genworth Financial, Inc. ("Genworth"). For RiverSource Life of NY, this reinsurance arrangement applies for 1996 and later issues only. As of December 31, 2010, RiverSource Life companies'
credit exposure to Genworth under this reinsurance arrangement was approximately $1.4 billion. Genworth also serves as claims administrator for our long term care policies.
Generally, RiverSource Life companies retain at most $5,000 per month of risk per life on disability income policies sold on policy forms introduced in most states in October 2007 (August 2010 for RiverSource Life of NY) and they reinsure the remainder of the risk on a coinsurance basis with unaffiliated reinsurance companies. RiverSource Life companies retain all risk for new claims on disability income contracts sold on other policy forms. Our insurance companies also retain all risk on accidental death benefit claims and substantially all risk associated with waiver of premium provisions.
We also reinsure a portion of the risks associated with our personal auto and home insurance products through two types of reinsurance agreements with unaffiliated reinsurance companies, as follows:
See Note 7 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information on reinsurance.
Liabilities and Reserves
We maintain adequate financial reserves to cover the insurance risks associated with the insurance products we issue. Generally, reserves represent estimates of the invested assets that our insurance companies need to hold to provide adequately for future benefits and expenses. For a discussion of liabilities and reserves related to our insurance products, see Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Financial Strength Ratings
Independent rating organizations rate our insurance subsidiaries. Their ratings are important to maintain public confidence in our insurance subsidiaries and our protection and annuity products. Lowering of our insurance subsidiaries' ratings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to market our protection and annuity products and could lead to increased surrenders of these products. Rating organizations evaluate the financial soundness and claims-paying ability of insurance companies continually, and base their ratings on a number of different factors, including a strong market position in core products and market segments, excellent risk-adjusted capitalization and high quality investment portfolios. More specifically, the ratings assigned are developed from an evaluation of a company's balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile. Balance sheet strength reflects a company's ability to meet its current and ongoing obligations to its contractholders and policyholders and includes analysis of a company's capital adequacy. The evaluation of operating performance centers on the stability and sustainability of a company's sources of earnings. The business profile component of the rating considers a company's mix of business, market position and depth and experience of management.
Information concerning the financial strength ratings for Ameriprise Financial, RiverSource Life and IDS Property Casualty can be found in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the heading "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsLiquidity and Capital Resources". We also list our ratings on our website at ir.ameriprise.com. For the most current ratings information, please see the individual rating agency's website.
Our SegmentsCorporate & Other
Our Corporate & Other segment consists of net investment income on corporate level assets, including excess capital held in our subsidiaries and other unallocated equity and other revenues from various investments as well as unallocated corporate expenses.
We operate in a highly competitive industry. As a diversified financial services firm, we compete directly with a variety of financial institutions, including registered investment advisors, securities brokers, asset managers, banks and insurance companies. We compete directly with these entities for the provision of products and services to clients, as well as for our financial advisors and investment management personnel. Our products and services also compete indirectly in the marketplace with the products and services of our competitors.
Our financial advisors compete for clients with a range of other advisors, broker-dealers and direct channels, including wirehouses, regional broker-dealers, independent broker-dealers, insurers, banks, asset managers, registered investment advisers and direct distributors.
To acquire and maintain managed and administered assets, we compete against a substantial number of firms, including those in the categories listed above. Our mutual funds, like other mutual funds, face competition from other mutual fund
families and alternative investment products such as exchange traded funds. Additionally, for mutual funds, high ratings from rating services such as Morningstar or Lipper, as well as favorable mention in financial publications, may influence sales and lead to increases in managed assets. As a mutual fund's assets increase, management fee revenue increases and the fund may achieve economies of scale that make it more attractive to investors because of potential resulting reductions in the fund's expense ratio. Conversely, low ratings and negative mention in financial publications can lead to outflows, which reduce management fee revenues and can impede achieving the benefits of economies of scale. Additionally, reputation and brand integrity are important in the mutual fund industry generally, and certain firms in particular, have come under regulatory and media scrutiny. Our mutual fund products compete against products of firms like Fidelity, American Funds and Oppenheimer. Competitive factors affecting the sale of mutual funds include investment performance in terms of attaining the stated objectives of the particular products and in terms of fund yields and total returns, advertising and sales promotional efforts, brand recognition, investor confidence, type and quality of services, fee structures and distribution.
Our brokerage subsidiaries compete with securities broker-dealers, independent broker-dealers, financial planning firms, registered investment advisors, insurance companies and other financial institutions in attracting and retaining members of the field force. Competitive factors in the brokerage services business include price, service and execution.
Competitors of our RiverSource Life companies and Property Casualty companies consist of both stock and mutual insurance companies such as Hartford, MetLife, Prudential, Lincoln Financial, AXA Financial, Principal Financial, Nationwide, Allstate and State Farm. Competitive factors affecting the sale of annuity products include price, product features, investment performance, commission structure, perceived financial strength, claims-paying ratings, service, brand recognition and distribution capabilities. Competitive factors affecting the sale of all insurance products include the cost of insurance and other contract charges, the level of premium rates and financial strength ratings from rating organizations such as A.M. Best. Competitive factors affecting the sale of property casualty insurance products also include brand recognition and distribution capabilities.
We have an integrated customer management system, which serves as the hub of our technology platform. In addition, we have specialized recordkeeping engines that manage individual brokerage, mutual fund, insurance and banking client accounts. Over the years we have updated our platform to include new product lines such as brokerage, deposit, credit and products of other companies, wrap accounts and e-commerce capabilities for our financial advisors and clients. We also use a proprietary suite of processes, methods, and tools for our financial planning services. We update our technological capabilities regularly to help maintain an adaptive platform design that aims to enhance the productivity of our branded financial advisors and will allow a faster, lower-cost response to emerging business opportunities, compliance requirements and marketplace trends.
Most of our applications run on a technology infrastructure that we outsourced to IBM in 2002. Under this arrangement, IBM is responsible for all mainframe, midrange and end-user computing operations and a portion of our web hosting and help desk operations. Also, we outsource our voice network operations to AT&T. In addition to these two arrangements, we have outsourced our production support and a substantial portion of the development and maintenance of our computer applications to other firms. We initiated a major replacement of our brokerage and clearing platforms in the last quarter of 2009 and continue to roll out that implementation in stages across our branded advisor network.
We have developed a comprehensive business continuity plan that covers business disruptions of varying severity and scope and addresses the loss of a geographic area, building, staff, data systems and/or telecommunications capabilities. We review and test our business continuity plan on an ongoing basis and update it as necessary, and we require our key technology vendors and service providers to do the same. Under our business continuity plan, we expect to be able to continue doing business and to resume operations with minimal service impacts. However, under certain scenarios, the time that it would take for us to recover and to resume operations may significantly increase depending on the extent and geographic scope of the disruption and the number of personnel affected.
For years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, approximately 88%, 85% and 86%, respectively, of our long-lived assets were located in the United States and approximately 95%, 95% and 94%, respectively, of our net revenues were generated in the United States. Our foreign operations are conducted predominantly through Threadneedle, as described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K under "BusinessOur SegmentsAsset ManagementInternational Asset ManagementThreadneedle."
At December 31, 2010, we had 10,472 employees, including 2,168 employee branded advisors (which does not include our branded franchisee advisors or the unbranded advisors of SAI, none of whom are employees of our company). We are not subject to collective bargaining agreements, and we believe that our employee relations are strong.
We rely on a combination of contractual rights and copyright, trademark, patent and trade secret laws to establish and protect our intellectual property. In the United States and other jurisdictions, we have established certain service marks and brand names that we consider important to the marketing of our products and services, including but not limited to Ameriprise Financial, Columbia Management, RiverSource and Threadneedle. We have in the past and will in the future take action to protect our intellectual property.
Virtually all aspects of our business, including the activities of the parent company and our various subsidiaries, are subject to various federal, state and foreign laws and regulations. These laws and regulations provide broad regulatory, administrative and enforcement powers to supervisory agencies and other bodies, including U.S. federal and state regulatory agencies, foreign government agencies or regulatory bodies and U.S. and foreign securities exchanges. The costs of complying with such laws and regulations can be significant, and the consequences for the failure to comply may include criminal charges, fines, censure, the suspension of individual employees, and restrictions on or prohibitions from engaging in certain lines of business.
In response to the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, the laws and regulations governing the financial services industry have continued to evolve and change. On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank Act") was enacted into law. The Dodd-Frank Act calls for sweeping changes in the supervision and regulation of the financial service industry designed to provide for greater oversight of financial industry participants, reduce risk in banking practices and in securities and derivatives trading, enhance public company corporate governance practices and executive compensation disclosures, and provide greater protections to individual consumers and investors. Certain elements of the Dodd-Frank Act became effective immediately, though the details of many provisions are subject to additional studies and will not be known until final rules are adopted by applicable regulatory agencies. Legal and regulatory changes arising in response to the Dodd-Frank Act may in the future impact the manner in which we are regulated and the manner in which we operate and govern our businesses.
The discussion set forth below provides a general framework of the laws and regulations impacting our businesses. Certain of our subsidiaries may be subject to one or more elements of this regulatory framework depending on the nature of their business, the products and services they provide and the geographic locations in which they operate. To the extent the discussion includes references to statutory and regulatory provisions, it is qualified in its entirety by reference to such statutory and regulatory provisions.
Broker-Dealer and Securities Regulation
Certain of our subsidiaries are registered with the SEC as broker-dealers under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and with certain of the fifty states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories. Our broker-dealer subsidiaries are also members of certain self-regulatory organizations, including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), and are subject to the regulations of such organizations. The SEC and FINRA have stringent rules with respect to the net capital requirements and the marketing and trading activities of broker-dealers. Our broker-dealer subsidiaries, as well as our financial advisors and other personnel, must obtain all required state and FINRA licenses and registrations to engage in the securities business. SEC regulations also impose notice requirements and capital limitations on the payment of dividends by a broker-dealer to a parent.
Other agencies, exchanges and self-regulatory organizations to which certain of our broker-dealer subsidiaries are members, and subject to applicable rules and regulations, include the Commodities Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC"), the National Futures Association and various stock exchanges. One of our broker-dealer subsidiaries is registered with the CFTC and is thus subject to the requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act. AEIS is a member of the Boston Stock Exchange and is a stockholder in the Chicago Stock Exchange. In addition, certain subsidiaries may also be registered as investment advisers or insurance agencies and subject to the regulations described in the following sections.
Ameriprise Certificate Company, our face-amount certificate company, is regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. As a registered investment company, Ameriprise Certificate Company must observe certain governance, disclosure, record-keeping, operational and marketing requirements. Investment companies are required by the SEC to adopt and implement written policies and procedures designed to prevent violations of the federal securities laws and to designate a chief compliance officer. Ameriprise Certificate Company pays dividends to the parent company and is subject to capital requirements under applicable law and understandings with the SEC and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Our financial advisors are subject to various regulations that impact the manner in which they operate their practices, including those related to supervision, sales methods, trading practices, record-keeping and financial reporting. In addition, because our independent contractor branded advisor platform is structured as a franchise system, we are also subject to Federal Trade Commission and state franchise requirements. Compliance with these and other regulatory requirements
adds to the cost and complexity of operating our business. To support the activities of our advisors, we implemented franchise and compliance standards and strive for a consistently high level of client service. We put in place franchise standards and requirements for our franchisees regardless of location. We have made significant investments in our compliance processes, enhancing policies, procedures and oversight to monitor our compliance with the numerous legal and regulatory requirements applicable to our business. We expect to continue to make significant investments in our compliance infrastructure.
Investment Adviser and Asset Management Regulation
In the U.S., certain of our subsidiaries are registered as investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 ("Advisers Act") and subject to regulation by the SEC. The Advisers Act imposes numerous obligations on such registered investment advisers including fiduciary duties, disclosure obligations and record-keeping, operational and marketing requirements. Investment advisers are required by the SEC to adopt and implement written policies and procedures designed to prevent violations of the Advisers Act and to designate a chief compliance officer responsible for administering these policies and procedures. Our registered investment advisers may also be subject to certain obligations of the Investment Company Act based on their status as an investment adviser to investment companies that we sponsor or that are sponsored by third parties. The SEC is authorized to institute proceedings and impose sanctions for violations of either the Advisers Act or the Investment Company Act, which may include fines, censure or the suspension or termination of an investment adviser's registration. As an outcome of the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress is considering whether to modify the SEC's investment adviser examination program by authorizing one or more self-regulatory organizations to examine, subject to SEC oversight, SEC-registered investment advisers. Outside of the U.S., our Threadneedle group is authorized to conduct its financial services business in the United Kingdom under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Threadneedle is regulated by the Financial Services Authority ("FSA"), which imposes certain capital, operational and compliance requirements. It is expected that the FSA's responsibilities for the oversight of financial institutions, including Threadneedle, will be transitioned to Prudential Regulation Authority and the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority, both under the Bank of England, by the end of 2012. Threadneedle companies and activities are also subject to local country regulations in Europe, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, the U.S. and Australia.
Our trust company is primarily regulated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce (Banking Division) and is subject to capital adequacy requirements under Minnesota law. It may not accept deposits or make personal or commercial loans. As a provider of products and services to tax-qualified retirement plans and IRAs, certain aspects of our business, including the activities of our trust company, fall within the compliance oversight of the U.S. Departments of Labor and Treasury, particularly regarding the enforcement of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended ("ERISA"), and the tax reporting requirements applicable to such accounts. Our trust company, as well as our investment adviser subsidiaries, may be subject to ERISA, and the regulations thereunder, insofar as they act as a "fiduciary" under ERISA with respect to certain clients. ERISA and related provisions of the Internal Revenue Code impose duties on persons who are fiduciaries under ERISA, and prohibit certain transactions involving the assets of ERISA plan clients and certain transactions by the fiduciaries to the plans. The Department of Labor is considering proposed regulations that would expand the scope of activity that constitutes acting as a fiduciary, while prohibiting certain additional types of transactions conducted by persons who are considered fiduciaries.
Our insurance subsidiaries are subject to supervision and regulation by states and other territories in which they are domiciled or otherwise licensed to do business. The primary purpose of such regulation and supervision is to protect the interests of contractholders and policyholders. The Minnesota Department of Commerce (Insurance Division), the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the New York State Insurance Department (the "Domiciliary Regulators") regulate certain of the RiverSource Life companies, IDS Property Casualty, and Ameriprise Insurance Company depending on each company's state of domicile. In addition to being regulated by their Domiciliary Regulators, our RiverSource Life companies and Property Casualty companies are regulated by each of the insurance regulators in the states where each is authorized to transact the business of insurance. Other states also regulate such matters as the licensing of sales personnel and, in some cases, the underwriting, marketing and contents of insurance policies and annuity contracts. Financial regulation of our RiverSource Life companies and Property Casualty companies is extensive, and their financial and intercompany transactions (such as intercompany dividends, capital contributions and investment activity) are often subject to pre-notification and continuing evaluation by the Domiciliary Regulators. Virtually all states require participation in insurance guaranty associations which assess fees to insurance companies in order to fund claims of policyholders and contractholders of insolvent insurance companies.
The Dodd-Frank Act created the Federal Insurance Office ("FIO") within the Department of Treasury. The FIO does not have substantive regulatory responsibilities, though it is tasked with monitoring the insurance industry and the effectiveness of its regulatory framework and for providing periodic reports to the President and Congress. The scope and impact of the research and reports provided by the FIO, and the extent to which such work may ultimately lead to a more prominent role of the federal government in the regulation of the insurance industry, is uncertain.
Each of our insurance subsidiaries is subject to risk-based capital ("RBC") requirements designed to assess the adequacy of an insurance company's capital and surplus in relation to its investment and insurance risks. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC") has established RBC standards that virtually all state insurance departments have adopted, with minor modifications. The RBC requirements are used by the NAIC and state insurance regulators to identify companies that merit regulatory actions designed to protect policyholders. Our RiverSource Life companies and Property Casualty companies are subject to various levels of regulatory intervention should their total adjusted statutory capital fall below the RBC requirement. At the "company action level," defined as total adjusted capital level between 100% and 75% of the RBC requirement, an insurer must submit a plan for corrective action with its primary state regulator. The "regulatory action level," which is between 75% and 50% of the RBC requirement, subjects an insurer to examination, analysis and specific corrective action prescribed by the primary state regulator. If a company's total adjusted capital falls between 50% and 35% of its RBC requirement, referred to as "authorized control level," the insurer's primary state regulator may place the insurer under regulatory control. Insurers with total adjusted capital below 35% of the requirement will be placed under regulatory control.
RiverSource Life, RiverSource Life of NY, IDS Property Casualty and Ameriprise Insurance Company maintain capital well in excess of the company action level required by their state insurance regulators. For RiverSource Life, the company action level RBC was $652 million as of December 31, 2010, and the corresponding total adjusted capital was $3.8 billion, which represents 585% of company action level RBC. For RiverSource Life of NY, the company action level RBC was $38 million as of December 31, 2010, and the corresponding total adjusted capital was $291 million, which represents 761% of company action level RBC. As of December 31, 2010, the company action level RBC was $141 million for IDS Property Casualty and $2 million for Ameriprise Insurance Company. As of December 31, 2010, IDS Property Casualty had $411 million of total adjusted capital, or 291% of the company action level RBC, and Ameriprise Insurance Company had $44 million of total adjusted capital, or 2200% of the company action level RBC.
Ameriprise Financial, as a direct and indirect owner of its insurance subsidiaries, is subject to the insurance holding companies laws of the states in which its insurance subsidiaries are domiciled. These laws generally require insurance holding companies to register with the insurance department of the insurance company's state of domicile and to provide certain financial and other information regarding the operations of the companies within the holding company structure. In addition, transactions between an insurance company and other companies within the same holding company structure must be on terms considered to be fair and reasonable.
Federal Banking Regulation
Ameriprise Bank is a federal savings bank subject to regulation by the Office of Thrift Supervision ("OTS"), which is the primary regulator of federal savings banks, and by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") in its role as insurer of Ameriprise Bank's deposits. As a federally chartered bank, Ameriprise Bank is subject to numerous rules and regulations governing all aspects of the banking business, including lending practices and transactions with affiliates. Ameriprise Bank is also subject to specific capital rules. If Ameriprise Bank's capital falls below certain levels, the OTS is required to take remedial actions and may take other actions, including the imposition of limits on dividends or business activities, and a directive to us to divest the subsidiary. Ameriprise Bank is also subject to limits on capital distributions, including payment of dividends. In addition, an array of community reinvestment, fair lending, and other consumer protection laws and regulations apply to Ameriprise Bank. Either of the OTS or the FDIC may bring administrative enforcement actions against Ameriprise Bank or its officers, directors or employees if any of them are found to be in violation of the law or engaged in an unsafe or unsound practice.
As the controlling company of Ameriprise Bank, Ameriprise Financial is a savings and loan holding company that is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the OTS. As a savings and loan holding company, Ameriprise Financial is not subject to specific statutory capital requirements. However, Ameriprise Financial has entered into a Source of Strength Agreement with Ameriprise Bank to reflect that it will commit such capital and managerial resources to support the subsidiary as the OTS may determine necessary under applicable regulations and supervisory standards. In the event of the appointment of a receiver or conservator for Ameriprise Bank, the FDIC would be entitled to enforce Ameriprise Financial's Source of Strength Agreement.
As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, it is expected that the duties of the OTS with regard to the supervision of Ameriprise Bank will be transferred to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ("OCC"). It is also expected that the duties of the OTS with regard to the supervision of our holding company will be transferred to the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System ("FRB"). We expect that this transition will occur in 2011.
Parent Company Regulation
Ameriprise Financial is a publicly-traded company that is subject to the rules and regulations of the SEC and NYSE regarding public disclosure, financial reporting and internal controls and corporate governance principles. These rules and regulations were significantly enhanced in connection with the adoption of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and may
continue to evolve in connection with the Dodd-Frank Act and other legislative and regulatory initiatives arising in connection with the recent economic crisis. As noted above, we expect the FRB to perform as supervisory regulator with respect to Ameriprise Financial once the transference of responsibilities of the OTS pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act is complete.
We have operations in a number of geographical regions outside of the U.S. through Threadneedle and certain of our other subsidiaries. We monitor developments in European Union ("EU") legislation, as well as in the other markets in which we operate, to ensure that we comply with all applicable legal requirements, including EU directives applicable to financial institutions as implemented in the various member states. Because of the mix of business activities we conduct, we are continually assessing the impact of, and insuring compliance with, the EU Financial Conglomerates Directive, which contemplates that certain financial conglomerates involved in banking, insurance and investment activities will be subject to a system of supplementary supervision at the level of the holding company constituting the financial conglomerate. The directive requires financial conglomerates to, among other things, implement measures to prevent excessive leverage and multiple leveraging of capital and to maintain internal control processes to address risk concentrations as well as risks arising from significant intragroup transactions. The OTS has accepted our request that it be designated as our global consolidated supervisory regulator under the EU Financial Conglomerates Directive. We expect that the FRB will perform this function once the transference of responsibilities of the OTS pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act is complete.
Many aspects of our business are subject to increasingly comprehensive legal requirements by a multitude of different functional regulators concerning the use and protection of personal information, particularly that of clients, including those adopted pursuant to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, an ever increasing number of state laws, and the European Union data protection legislation as domestically implemented in the respective EU member states. We have implemented policies and procedures in response to such requirements in the UK. We continue our efforts to safeguard the data entrusted to us in accordance with applicable law and our internal data protection policies, including taking steps to reduce the potential for identity theft or other improper use or disclosure of personal information, while seeking to collect and use data to properly achieve our business objectives and to best serve our clients.
USA Patriot Act
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, commonly referred to as the USA Patriot Act, was enacted in October 2001 in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The USA Patriot Act broadened substantially existing anti-money laundering legislation and the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the United States. In response, we have enhanced our existing anti-money laundering programs and developed new procedures and programs. For example, we have implemented a customer identification program applicable to many of our businesses and have enhanced our "know your customer" and "enhanced due diligence" programs. In addition, we will continue to comply with anti-money laundering legislation in the UK derived from applicable EU directives and to take account of international initiatives adopted in other jurisdictions in which we conduct business.
Securities Exchange Act Reports and Additional Information
We maintain an Investor Relations website at ir.ameriprise.com and we make available free of charge our annual, quarterly and current reports and any amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable following the time they are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. To access these and other documents, click on the "SEC Filings" link found on our Investor Relations homepage.
You can also access our Investor Relations website through our main website at ameriprise.com by clicking on the "Investor Relations" link located at the bottom of our homepage. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this report or any other report filed with the SEC.
Segment Information and Classes of Similar Services
You can find financial information regarding our operating segments and classes of similar services in Note 26 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our operations and financial results are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including those described below, that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations and could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline. Based on the information currently known to us, we believe that the following information identifies the material factors affecting our company. However, the risks and uncertainties our company faces are not limited to those described below. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also adversely affect our business.
Risks Relating to Our Business
Our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by market fluctuations and by economic and other factors.
Our financial condition and results of operations may be materially affected by market fluctuations and by economic and other factors. Many such factors of a global or localized nature include: political, economic and market conditions; the availability and cost of capital; the level and volatility of equity prices, commodity prices and interest rates, currency values and other market indices; technological changes and events; the availability and cost of credit; inflation; investor sentiment and confidence in the financial markets; terrorism events and armed conflicts; and natural disasters such as weather catastrophes and widespread health emergencies. Furthermore, changes in consumer economic variables, such as the number and size of personal bankruptcy filings, the rate of unemployment, decreases in property values, and the level of consumer confidence and consumer debt, may substantially affect consumer loan levels and credit quality, which, in turn, could impact the results of our banking business and savings levels in all of our businesses. These factors also may have an impact on our ability to achieve our strategic objectives.
Although U.S. and global capital markets demonstrated signs of recovery in 2010, current market conditions remain precarious and any declines or volatility in U.S. and global market conditions would impact our businesses. Our businesses have been and in the future may be adversely affected by U.S. and global capital market and credit crises, the repricing of credit risk, equity market volatility and decline, and stress or recession in the U.S. and global economies generally. Each of our segments operates in these markets with exposure for ourselves and our clients in securities, loans, derivatives, alternative investments, seed capital and other commitments. It is difficult to predict how long and to what extent the aforementioned conditions will exist, which of our markets, products and businesses will be directly affected in terms of revenues, management fees and investment valuations and earnings, and to what extent our clients may seek to bring claims arising out of investment performance that is affected by these conditions. As a result, these factors could materially adversely impact our results of operations. Certain of our insurance and annuity products and certain of our investment and banking products are sensitive to interest rate fluctuations, and future impacts associated with such variations may differ from our historical costs. In addition, interest rate fluctuations could result in fluctuations in the valuation of certain minimum guaranteed benefits contained in some of our variable annuity products. Although we typically hedge to mitigate some of the effect of such fluctuations, significant changes in interest rates could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.
During periods of increasing market interest rates, we must offer higher crediting rates on interest-sensitive products, such as fixed universal life insurance, fixed annuities, face-amount certificates and certificates of deposit, and we must increase crediting rates on in force products to keep these products competitive. Because returns on invested assets may not increase as quickly as current interest rates, we may have to accept a lower spread and thus lower profitability or face a decline in sales and greater loss of existing contracts and related assets. In addition, increases in market interest rates may cause increased policy surrenders, withdrawals from life insurance policies, annuity contracts and certificates of deposit and requests for policy loans, as policyholders, contractholders and depositors seek to shift assets to products with perceived higher returns. This process may lead to an earlier than expected outflow of cash from our business. Also, increases in market interest rates may result in extension of certain cash flows from structured mortgage assets. These withdrawals and surrenders may require investment assets to be sold at a time when the prices of those assets are lower because of the increase in market interest rates, which may result in realized investment losses. Increases in crediting rates, as well as surrenders and withdrawals, could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. An increase in surrenders and withdrawals also may require us to accelerate amortization of deferred acquisition costs ("DAC") or other intangibles or cause an impairment of goodwill, which would increase our expenses and reduce our net earnings.
During periods of falling interest rates or stagnancy of low interest rates, our spread may be reduced or could become negative, primarily because some of our products have guaranteed minimum crediting rates. Due to the long-term nature of the liabilities associated with certain of our businesses, such as long-term care and fixed universal life with secondary guarantees as well as fixed annuities and guaranteed benefits on variable annuities, sustained declines in or stagnancy of low long-term interest rates may subject us to reinvestment risks and increased hedging costs.
Interest rate fluctuations also could have an adverse effect on the results of our investment portfolio. During periods of declining market interest rates or stagnancy of low interest rates, the interest we receive on variable interest rate investments decreases. In addition, during those periods, we are forced to reinvest the cash we receive as interest or return of principal on our investments in lower-yielding high-grade instruments or in lower-credit instruments to maintain comparable returns. Issuers of certain callable fixed income securities also may decide to prepay their obligations in order to borrow at lower market rates, which increases the risk that we may have to invest the cash proceeds of these securities in lower-yielding or lower-credit instruments.
Significant downturns and volatility in equity markets may have, and have in the past had, an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Market downturns and volatility may cause, and have caused, potential new
purchasers of our products to refrain from purchasing products, such as mutual funds, OEICs, variable annuities and variable universal life insurance, which have returns linked to the performance of the equity markets. If we are unable to offer appropriate product alternatives which encourage customers to continue purchasing in the face of actual or perceived market volatility, our sales and management fee revenues could decline. Downturns may also cause current shareholders in our mutual funds and OEICs, contractholders in our annuity products and policyholders in our protection products to withdraw cash values from those products.
Additionally, downturns and volatility in equity markets can have, and have had, an adverse effect on the revenues and returns from our asset management services, wrap accounts and variable annuity contracts. Because the profitability of these products and services depends on fees related primarily to the value of assets under management, declines in the equity markets will reduce our revenues because the value of the investment assets we manage will be reduced. In addition, some of our variable annuity products contain guaranteed minimum death benefits and guaranteed minimum withdrawal and accumulation benefits. A significant equity market decline or volatility in equity markets could result in guaranteed minimum benefits being higher than what current account values would support, which would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Although we have hedged a portion of the guarantees for the variable annuity contracts in order to mitigate the financial loss of equity market declines or volatility, there can be no assurance that such a decline or volatility would not materially impact the profitability of certain products or product lines or our financial condition or results of operations. Further, the cost of hedging our liability for these guarantees may increase as a result of low interest rates and volatility in the equity markets. In addition, heightened volatility creates greater uncertainty for future hedging effectiveness.
We believe that investment performance is an important factor in the success of many of our businesses. Poor investment performance could impair our revenues and earnings, as well as our prospects for growth. A significant portion of our revenue is derived from investment management agreements with the Columbia family of mutual funds that are terminable on 60 days' notice. In addition, although some contracts governing investment management services are subject to termination for failure to meet performance benchmarks, institutional and individual clients can terminate their relationships with us or our financial advisors at will or on relatively short notice. Our clients can also reduce the aggregate amount of managed assets or shift their funds to other types of accounts with different rate structures, for any number of reasons, including investment performance, changes in prevailing interest rates, changes in investment preferences, changes in our (or our financial advisors') reputation in the marketplace, changes in client management or ownership, loss of key investment management personnel and financial market performance. A reduction in managed assets, and the associated decrease in revenues and earnings, could have a material adverse effect on our business. Moreover, if our money market funds experience a decline in market value, we may choose to contribute capital to those funds without consideration, which would result in a loss.
In addition, during periods of unfavorable or stagnating market or economic conditions, the level of individual investor participation in the global markets may also decrease, which would negatively impact the results of our retail businesses. Concerns about current market and economic conditions, declining real estate values and decreased consumer confidence have caused and in the future may cause some of our clients to reduce the amount of business that they do with us. We cannot predict whether or the extent to which improvements in market conditions and consumer confidence experienced in 2010 will continue. Fluctuations in global market activity could impact the flow of investment capital into or from assets under management and the way customers allocate capital among money market, equity, fixed maturity or other investment alternatives, which could negatively impact our Asset Management, Advice & Wealth Management and Annuities businesses. Also, during periods of unfavorable economic conditions, unemployment rates can increase, and have increased, which can result in higher loan delinquency and default rates, and this can have a negative impact on our banking business. Uncertain economic conditions and heightened market volatility may also increase the likelihood that clients or regulators present or threaten legal claims, that regulators may increase the frequency and scope of their examinations of us or the financial services industry generally, and that lawmakers enact new requirements or taxation which have a material impact on our revenues, expenses or statutory capital requirements.
Adverse capital and credit market conditions may significantly affect our ability to meet liquidity needs, our access to capital and our cost of capital.
The capital and credit markets may experience, and have experienced, varying degrees of volatility and disruption. In some cases, the markets have exerted downward pressure on availability of liquidity and credit capacity for certain issuers. We need liquidity to pay our operating expenses, interest expenses and dividends on our capital stock. Without sufficient liquidity, we could be required to curtail our operations, and our business would suffer.
We maintain a level of cash and securities which, combined with expected cash inflows from investments and operations, is believed adequate to meet anticipated short-term and long-term benefit and expense payment obligations. In the event current resources are insufficient to satisfy our needs, we may need to rely on financing sources such as bank debt. The availability of additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the volume of trading activities, the overall availability of credit to the financial services industry, our credit ratings
and credit capacity, as well as the possibility that our shareholders, customers or lenders could develop a negative perception of our long- or short-term financial prospects if we incur large investment losses or if the level of our business activity decreases due to a market downturn. Similarly, our access to funds may be impaired if regulatory authorities or rating organizations take negative actions against us.
Disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the capital and credit markets may also limit our access to capital required to operate our business. Such market conditions may limit our ability to satisfy statutory capital requirements, generate fee income and market-related revenue to meet liquidity needs and access the capital necessary to grow our business. As such, we may be forced to delay raising capital, issue different types of capital than we would otherwise, less effectively deploy such capital, or bear an unattractive cost of capital which could decrease our profitability and significantly reduce our financial flexibility.
The impairment of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.
We have exposure to many different industries and counterparties, and we routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds, insurers, reinsurers and other investment funds and other institutions. The operations of U.S. and global financial services institutions are highly interconnected and a decline in the financial condition of one or more financial services institutions may expose us to credit losses or defaults, limit our access to liquidity or otherwise disrupt the operations of our businesses.
Many transactions with and investments in the products and securities of other financial institutions expose us to credit risk in the event of default of our counterparty. With respect to secured transactions, our credit risk may be exacerbated when the collateral we hold cannot be realized upon or is liquidated at prices insufficient to recover the full amount of the loan or derivative exposure due to it. We also have exposure to financial institutions in the form of unsecured debt instruments, derivative transactions (including with respect to derivatives hedging our exposure on variable annuity contracts with guaranteed benefits), reinsurance and underwriting arrangements and equity investments. There can be no assurance that any such losses or impairments to the carrying value of these assets would not materially and adversely impact our business and results of operations.
Downgrades in the credit or financial strength ratings assigned to the counterparties with whom we transact could create the perception that our financial condition will be adversely impacted as a result of potential future defaults by such counterparties. Additionally, we could be adversely affected by a general, negative perception of financial institutions caused by the downgrade of other financial institutions. Accordingly, ratings downgrades for other financial institutions could affect our market capitalization and could limit access to or increase our cost of capital.
The failure of other insurers could require us to pay higher assessments to state insurance guaranty funds.
Our insurance companies are required by law to be members of the guaranty fund association in every state where they are licensed to do business. In the event of insolvency of one or more unaffiliated insurance companies, our insurance companies could be adversely affected by the requirement to pay assessments to the guaranty fund associations. The financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 weakened the financial condition of numerous insurers, including insurers currently in receiverships, increasing the risk of triggering guaranty fund assessments.
Third-party defaults, bankruptcy filings, legal actions and other events may limit the value of or restrict our access and our clients' access to cash and investments.
Capital and credit market volatility can exacerbate, and has exacerbated, the risk of third-party defaults, bankruptcy filings, foreclosures, legal actions and other events that may limit the value of or restrict our access and our clients' access to cash and investments. Although we are not required to do so, we have elected in the past, and we may elect in the future, to compensate clients for losses incurred in response to such events, provide clients with temporary credit or liquidity or other support related to products that we manage, or provide credit liquidity or other support to the financial products we manage. Any such election to provide support may arise from factors specific to our clients, our products or industry-wide factors. If we elect to provide additional support, we could incur losses from the support we provide and incur additional costs, including financing costs, in connection with the support. These losses and additional costs could be material and could adversely impact our results of operations. If we were to take such actions we may also restrict or otherwise utilize our corporate assets, limiting our flexibility to use these assets for other purposes, and may be required to raise additional capital.
Changes in the supervision and regulation of the financial industry, including those set forth under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, could materially impact our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted into law. The Dodd-Frank Act calls for sweeping changes in the supervision and regulation of the financial industry designed to provide for greater oversight of financial industry
participants, reduce risk in banking practices and in securities and derivatives trading, enhance public company corporate governance practices and executive compensation disclosures, and provide greater protections to individual consumers and investors. Certain elements of the Dodd-Frank Act became effective immediately, though the details of many provisions are subject to additional studies and will not be known until final rules are adopted by applicable regulatory agencies. The impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on our company, the financial industry and the economy cannot be known until all such rules and regulations called for under the Act have been finalized, and, in some cases, implemented over time.
Accordingly, while the final contours of these reforms are not yet known, the Act is expected to impact the manner in which we market our products and services, manage our company and its operations and interact with regulators, all of which could materially impact our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. Certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act that may impact our business include but are not limited to restrictions on proprietary trading and investing in or sponsoring certain types of funds, the establishment of a fiduciary standard for broker-dealers, the imposition of capital requirements on financial holding companies, the resolution authority granted to the FDIC, changes in regulatory oversight and greater oversight over derivatives trading. We will need to respond to changes to the framework for the supervision of U.S. financial institutions, including the creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel ("FSOC") and the abolishment of the OTS, which has been the primary regulator of both our banking subsidiary and our holding company. For example, if we were to be designated by FSOC as a systemically important financial institution, we may become subject to additional regulatory oversight and enhanced prudential standards, including those related to capital requirements and risk management standards at the parent company level. To the extent the Dodd-Frank Act impacts the operations, financial condition, liquidity and capital requirements of unaffiliated financial institutions with whom we transact business, those institutions may seek to pass on increased costs, reduce their capacity to transact, or otherwise present inefficiencies in their interactions with us.
It is uncertain whether the Dodd-Frank Act, the rules and regulations developed thereunder, or any future legislation designed to stabilize the financial markets, the economy generally, or provide better protections to consumers, will have the desired effect. Any new legislation or regulatory changes could require us to change certain of our business practices, impose additional costs on us, or otherwise adversely affect our business operations, regulatory reporting relationships, results of operations or financial condition. Consequences may include substantially higher compliance costs as well as material effects on interest rates and foreign exchange rates, which could materially impact our investments, results of operations and liquidity in ways that we cannot predict. In addition, prolonged government support for, and intervention in the management of, private institutions could distort customary and expected commercial behavior on the part of those institutions, adversely impacting us.
Changes in accounting standards could have a material impact on our financial statements.
We prepare our financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. From time to time, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB"), the SEC, and other regulators change the financial accounting and reporting standards governing the preparation of our financial statements. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, resulting in our restating prior period financial statements. These changes are difficult to predict, and it is possible that such changes could have a material effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Defaults in our fixed maturity securities portfolio or consumer credit products could adversely affect our earnings.
Issuers of the fixed maturity securities that we own may default on principal and interest payments. As of December 31, 2010, 5% of our invested assets had ratings below investment-grade. Moreover, economic downturns and corporate malfeasance can increase the number of companies, including those with investment-grade ratings, that default on their debt obligations. Default-related declines in the value of our fixed maturity securities portfolio or consumer credit products could cause our net earnings to decline and could also cause us to contribute capital to some of our regulated subsidiaries, which may require us to obtain funding during periods of unfavorable market conditions. Higher delinquency and default rates in our bank's customer loan portfolio could require us to contribute capital to Ameriprise Bank and may result in additional restrictions from our regulators that impact the use and access to that capital.
If the counterparties to our reinsurance arrangements or to the derivative instruments we use to hedge our business risks default, we may be exposed to risks we had sought to mitigate, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We use reinsurance to mitigate our risks in various circumstances as described in Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"BusinessOur SegmentsProtectionReinsurance." Reinsurance does not relieve us of our direct liability to our policyholders, even when the reinsurer is liable to us. Accordingly, we bear credit and performance risk with respect to our reinsurers. A reinsurer's insolvency or its inability or unwillingness to make payments under the terms of our reinsurance agreement could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. See Notes 2 and 7 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In addition, we use a variety of derivative instruments (including options, forwards, and interest rate and currency swaps) with a number of counterparties to hedge business risks. The amount and breadth of exposure to derivative counterparties, as well as the cost of derivative instruments, have increased significantly in connection with our strategies to hedge guaranteed benefit obligations under our variable annuity products. If our counterparties fail to honor their obligations under the derivative instruments in a timely manner, our hedges of the related risk will be ineffective. That failure could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. This risk of failure of our hedge transactions from counterparty default may be increased by capital market volatility.
The determination of the amount of allowances and impairments taken on certain investments is subject to management's evaluation and judgment and could materially impact our results of operations or financial position.
The determination of the amount of allowances and impairments vary by investment type and is based upon our periodic evaluation and assessment of inherent and known risks associated with the respective asset class. Such evaluations and assessments are revised as conditions change and new information becomes available. Management updates its evaluations regularly and reflects changes in allowances and impairments in operations as such evaluations are revised. Historical trends may not be indicative of future impairments or allowances.
The assessment of whether impairments have occurred is based on management's case-by-case evaluation of the underlying reasons for the decline in fair value that considers a wide range of factors about the security issuer, and management uses its best judgment in evaluating the cause of the decline in the estimated fair value of the security and in assessing the prospects for recovery. Inherent in management's evaluation of the security are assumptions and estimates about the operations of the issuer and its future earnings potential, which assumptions and estimates are more difficult to make with certainty under current market conditions.
Our valuation of fixed maturity and equity securities may include methodologies, estimations and assumptions which are subject to differing interpretations and could result in changes to investment valuations that may materially adversely impact our results of operations or financial condition.
Fixed maturity, equity, trading securities and short-term investments, which are reported at fair value on the consolidated balance sheets, represent the majority of our total cash and invested assets. The determination of fair values by management in the absence of quoted market prices is based on: (i) valuation methodologies; (ii) securities we deem to be comparable; and (iii) assumptions deemed appropriate given the circumstances. The fair value estimates are made at a specific point in time, based on available market information and judgments about financial instruments, including estimates of the timing and amounts of expected future cash flows and the credit standing of the issuer or counterparty. Factors considered in estimating fair value include: coupon rate, maturity, estimated duration, call provisions, sinking fund requirements, credit rating, industry sector of the issuer, and quoted market prices of comparable securities. The use of different methodologies and assumptions may have a material effect on the estimated fair value amounts.
During periods of market disruption, including periods of significantly rising or high interest rates, rapidly widening credit spreads or illiquidity, it may be difficult to value certain of our securities. There may be certain asset classes that were in active markets with significant observable data that become illiquid due to the current financial environment. In such cases, certain securities may require additional subjectivity and management judgment. As such, valuations may include inputs and assumptions that are less observable or require greater estimation as well as valuation methods which are more sophisticated or require greater estimation, thereby resulting in values which may be less than the value at which the investments may be ultimately sold. Further, rapidly changing and unprecedented credit and equity market conditions could materially impact the valuation of securities as reported within our consolidated financial statements and the period-to-period changes in value could vary significantly. Decreases in value may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.
Some of our investments are relatively illiquid.
We invest a portion of our owned assets in certain privately placed fixed income securities, mortgage loans, policy loans, limited partnership interests, collateralized debt obligations and restricted investments held by securitization trusts, among others, all of which are relatively illiquid. These asset classes represented 12% of the carrying value of our investment portfolio as of December 31, 2010. If we require significant amounts of cash on short notice in excess of our normal cash requirements, we may have difficulty selling these investments in a timely manner or be forced to sell them for an amount less than we would otherwise have been able to realize, or both, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Intense competition and the economics of changes in our product revenue mix and distribution channels could negatively impact our ability to maintain or increase our market share and profitability.
Our businesses operate in intensely competitive industry segments. We compete based on a number of factors, including name recognition, service, the quality of investment advice, investment performance, product features, price, perceived financial strength, and claims-paying ability and credit ratings. Our competitors include broker-dealers, banks, asset
managers, insurers and other financial institutions. Many of our businesses face competitors that have greater market share, offer a broader range of products, have greater financial resources, or have higher claims-paying ability or credit ratings than we do. Some of our competitors may possess or acquire intellectual property rights that could provide a competitive advantage to them in certain markets or for certain products, which could make it more difficult for us to introduce new products and services. Some of our competitors' proprietary products or technology could be similar to our own, and this could result in disputes that could impact our financial condition or results of operations. In addition, over time certain sectors of the financial services industry have become considerably more concentrated, as financial institutions involved in a broad range of financial services have been acquired by or merged into other firms. This convergence could result in our competitors gaining greater resources and we may experience pressures on our pricing and market share as a result of these factors and as some of our competitors seek to increase market share by reducing prices.
Historically, our branded advisor network (both franchisee advisors and those employed by AFSI) distributed annuity and protection products issued almost exclusively (in the case of annuities) or predominantly (in the case of protection products) by our RiverSource Life companies. In 2010, we expanded the offerings available to all of our branded advisors to include variable annuities issued by a limited number of unaffiliated insurance companies. As a result of this and further openings of our branded advisor network to the products of other companies, we could experience lower sales of our companies' products, higher surrenders, or other developments which might not be fully offset by higher distribution revenues or other benefits, possibly resulting in an adverse effect on our results of operations.
In late 2010, we discontinued the distribution of RiverSource variable annuities through third-party channels. This could impact the persistency of business sold previously through these channels, possibly resulting in the acceleration of DAC amortization or other adverse effects on our results of operations.
A drop in investment performance as compared to our competitors could negatively impact our ability to increase profitability.
Sales of our own mutual funds by our affiliated financial advisor network comprise a significant percentage of our total mutual fund sales. We attribute this success to performance, new products and marketing efforts. A decline in the level of investment performance as compared to our competitors could cause a decline in market share and a commensurate drop in profits as sales of other companies' mutual funds are less profitable than those from our own mutual funds. A decline in investment performance could also adversely affect the realization of benefits from investments in our strategy to expand alternative distribution channels for our own products, including third-party distribution of our mutual funds.
We face intense competition in attracting and retaining key talent.
Our continued success depends to a substantial degree on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel. We are dependent on our network of branded advisors for a significant portion of the sales of our mutual funds, annuities, face-amount certificates, banking and insurance products. The market for these financial advisors, as well as management talent, qualified legal and compliance professionals, fund managers, and investment analysts is extremely competitive. If we are unable to attract and retain qualified individuals or our recruiting and retention costs increase significantly, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely impacted.
Our businesses are heavily regulated, and changes to the laws and regulations applicable to our businesses may have an adverse effect on our operations, reputation and financial condition.
Virtually all aspects of our business, including the activities of our parent company and our various subsidiaries, are subject to various federal, state and foreign laws and regulations. For a discussion of the regulatory framework in which we operate, see Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"BusinessRegulation." Compliance with these applicable laws and regulations is time-consuming and personnel-intensive, and we have invested and will continue to invest substantial resources to ensure compliance by our parent company and our subsidiaries, directors, officers, employees, registered representatives and agents. Any changes to the laws and regulations applicable to our businesses, as well as changes to the interpretation and enforcement of such laws and regulations, may affect our operations and financial condition. Such changes may impact our operations and profitability and the practices of our financial advisors, including with respect to the scope of products and services provided, the manner in which products and services are marketed and sold and the incurrence of additional costs of doing business. The recent economic crisis has resulted in numerous changes to regulation and oversight of the financial industry, the full impact of which has yet to be realized. Any incremental requirements, costs and risks imposed on us in connection with such current or future legislative or regulatory changes, may constrain our ability to market our products and services to our target demographic and potential customers, and could negatively impact our profitability and make it more difficult for us to pursue our growth strategy.
Certain examples of legislative and regulatory changes that may impact our businesses are described further below.
As discussed in Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"BusinessRegulation", the recently enacted Dodd-Frank Act calls for sweeping changes in the supervision and regulation of the financial industry. The Dodd-Frank Act mandates numerous changes to both the regulatory framework in which financial services companies operate and the specific
regulations with which such companies must comply. Amongst the changes to the regulatory framework are the abolishment of the OTS and the transition of its responsibilities to other federal agencies. As a result, the OCC will become the primary regulator of Ameriprise Bank and the FRB will become the primary regulator of our parent company. We cannot predict how the transition to these new regulatory agencies, or the environment for enforcement actions, will impact us.
Any mandated reductions or restructuring of the fees we charge for our products and services resulting from regulatory initiatives or proceedings could reduce our revenues and earnings. In the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, we earned $1.7 billion, $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively, in distribution fees. A significant portion of these revenues was paid to us by our own Columbia family of mutual funds in accordance with plans and agreements of distribution adopted under Rule 12b-1 promulgated under the Investment Company Act. We believe that these fees are a critical element in the distribution of our own mutual funds. In July 2010, the SEC proposed certain measures that would establish a new framework to replace the requirements of Rule 12b-1. The proposed changes are subject to public comment and, following any enactment, would be phased in over a number of years. Any industry-wide reduction or restructuring of Rule 12b-1 fees could have a material adverse effect on our ability to distribute our own mutual funds and the fees we receive for distributing other companies' mutual funds, which could, in turn, have a material adverse effect on our revenues and earnings.
The Department of Labor issued proposed regulations on October 22, 2010 seeking to change the definition of who is a fiduciary with respect to Investment Advice under ERISA, which applies to both 401(k) plans and IRAs. These regulations are in proposed form and have not yet been finalized. We cannot predict whether or when the regulations may be finalized, or how any final regulations may differ from the currently proposed regulations. If the regulations were to be issued substantially as currently drafted, they could impact how we receive fees, as well as how we compensate our advisors and design our investments and services for qualified accounts, which could negatively impact our results of operations.
Our insurance companies are subject to state regulation and must comply with statutory reserve and capital requirements. State regulators are continually reviewing and updating these requirements and other requirements relating to the business operations of insurance companies, including their underwriting and sales practices. The NAIC adopted a change to require principles-based reserves for variable annuities at the end of 2009, and continues to discuss moving to a principles-based reserving system for other insurance and annuity products. The requirement for principles-based variable annuity reserves, along with a similar risk-based capital requirement adopted previously, may result in statutory reserves and risk-based capital for variable annuities being more sensitive to changes in equity prices and other market factors. It is not possible at this time to estimate the potential impact on our insurance businesses of future changes in statutory reserve and capital requirements. Further, we cannot predict the effect that proposed federal legislation, such as the option of federally chartered insurers or a mandated federal systemic risk regulator, may have on our insurance businesses or their competitors.
The majority of our affiliated financial advisors are independent contractors. Legislative or regulatory action that redefines the criteria for determining whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor could materially impact our relationships with our advisors, and our business, resulting in an adverse effect on our results of operations.
We face risks arising from acquisitions.
We have made acquisitions in the past and may pursue further acquisitions in the future. We face a number of risks arising from acquisition transactions, including difficulties in the integration of acquired businesses into our operations, difficulties in assimilating and retaining employees and intermediaries, difficulties in retaining the existing customers of the acquired entities, unforeseen liabilities that arise in connection with the acquired businesses, the failure of counterparties to satisfy any obligations to indemnify us against liabilities arising from the acquired businesses, and unfavorable market conditions that could negatively impact our growth expectations for the acquired businesses. These risks may prevent us from realizing the expected benefits from acquisitions and could result in the impairment of goodwill and/or intangible assets recognized at the time of acquisition.
A failure to protect our reputation could adversely affect our businesses.
Our reputation is one of our most important assets. Our ability to attract and retain customers, investors, employees and affiliated financial advisors is highly dependent upon external perceptions of our level of service, business practices and financial condition. Damage to our reputation could cause significant harm to our business and prospects and may arise from numerous sources, including litigation or regulatory actions, failing to deliver minimum standards of service and quality, compliance failures, unethical behavior and the misconduct of employees, affiliated financial advisors and counterparties. Negative perceptions or publicity regarding these matters could damage our reputation among existing and potential customers, investors, employees and affiliated financial advisors. Adverse developments with respect to our industry may also, by association, negatively impact our reputation or result in greater regulatory or legislative scrutiny or litigation against us.
Our reputation is also dependent on our continued identification of and mitigation against conflicts of interest. As we have expanded the scope of our businesses and our client base, we increasingly have to identify and address potential conflicts of interest, including those relating to our proprietary activities and those relating to our sales of non-proprietary products
from manufacturers that have agreed to provide us marketing, sales and account maintenance support. For example, conflicts may arise between our position as a provider of financial planning services and as a manufacturer and/or distributor or broker of asset accumulation, income or insurance products that one of our affiliated financial advisors may recommend to a financial planning client. We have procedures and controls that are designed to identify, address and appropriately disclose conflicts of interest. However, identifying and appropriately dealing with conflicts of interest is complex, and our reputation could be damaged if we fail, or appear to fail, to deal appropriately with conflicts of interest. In addition, the SEC and other federal and state regulators have increased their scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest. It is possible that potential or perceived conflicts could give rise to litigation or enforcement actions. It is possible also that the regulatory scrutiny of, and litigation in connection with, conflicts of interest will make our clients less willing to enter into transactions in which such a conflict may occur, and will adversely affect our businesses.
Misconduct by our employees and affiliated financial advisors is difficult to detect and deter and could harm our business, results of operations or financial condition.
Misconduct by our employees and affiliated financial advisors could result in violations of law, regulatory sanctions and/or serious reputational or financial harm. Misconduct can occur in each of our businesses and could include:
We cannot always deter misconduct by our employees and affiliated financial advisors, and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in all cases. Preventing and detecting misconduct among our branded franchisee advisors and our unbranded affiliated financial advisors who are not employees of our company and tend to be located in small, decentralized offices, present additional challenges. We also cannot assure that misconduct by our employees and affiliated financial advisors will not lead to a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
Legal and regulatory actions are inherent in our businesses and could result in financial losses or harm our businesses.
We are, and in the future may be, subject to legal and regulatory actions in the ordinary course of our operations, both domestically and internationally. Various regulatory and governmental bodies have the authority to review our products and business practices and those of our employees and independent financial advisors and to bring regulatory or other legal actions against us if, in their view, our practices, or those of our employees or affiliated financial advisors, are improper. Pending legal and regulatory actions include proceedings relating to aspects of our businesses and operations that are specific to us and proceedings that are typical of the industries and businesses in which we operate. Some of these proceedings have been brought on behalf of various alleged classes of complainants. In certain of these matters, the plaintiffs are seeking large and/or indeterminate amounts, including punitive or exemplary damages. See Item 3 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"Legal Proceedings." In or as a result of turbulent times such as those we have experienced, the volume of claims and amount of damages sought in litigation and regulatory proceedings generally increase. Substantial legal liability in current or future legal or regulatory actions could have a material adverse financial effect or cause significant reputational harm, which in turn could seriously harm our business prospects.
A downgrade or a potential downgrade in our financial strength or credit ratings could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Financial strength ratings, which various ratings organizations publish as a measure of an insurance company's ability to meet contractholder and policyholder obligations, are important to maintain public confidence in our products, the ability to market our products and our competitive position. A downgrade in our financial strength ratings, or the announced potential for a downgrade, could have a significant adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations in many ways, including:
A downgrade in our credit ratings could also adversely impact our future cost and speed of borrowing and have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.
In view of the difficulties experienced recently by many financial institutions, including our competitors in the insurance industry, the ratings organizations have heightened the level of scrutiny that they apply to such institutions and have requested additional information from the companies that they rate. They may increase the frequency and scope of their credit reviews, adjust upward the capital and other requirements employed in the ratings organizations' models for maintenance of ratings levels, or downgrade ratings applied to particular classes of securities or types of institutions. Ratings organizations may also become subject to tighter laws and regulations governing the ratings, which may in turn impact the ratings assigned to financial institutions.
We cannot predict what actions rating organizations may take, or what actions we may take in response to the actions of rating organizations, which could adversely affect our business. As with other companies in the financial services industry, our ratings could be changed at any time and without any notice by the ratings organizations.
If our reserves for future policy benefits and claims or for our bank lending portfolio or for future certificate redemptions and maturities are inadequate, we may be required to increase our reserve liabilities, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We establish reserves as estimates of our liabilities to provide for future obligations under our insurance policies, annuities and investment certificate contracts. We also establish reserves as estimates of the potential for loan losses in our consumer lending portfolios. Reserves do not represent an exact calculation but, rather, are estimates of contract benefits or loan losses and related expenses we expect to incur over time. The assumptions and estimates we make in establishing reserves require certain judgments about future experience and, therefore, are inherently uncertain. We cannot determine with precision the actual amounts that we will pay for contract benefits, the timing of payments, or whether the assets supporting our stated reserves will increase to the levels we estimate before payment of benefits or claims. We monitor our reserve levels continually. If we were to conclude that our reserves are insufficient to cover actual or expected contract benefits or loan collections, we would be required to increase our reserves and incur income statement charges for the period in which we make the determination, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. For more information on how we set our reserves, see Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Morbidity rates or mortality rates that differ significantly from our pricing expectations could negatively affect profitability.
We set prices for RiverSource life insurance and some annuity products based upon expected claim payment patterns, derived from assumptions we make about our policyholders and contractholders, the morbidity rates, or likelihood of sickness, and mortality rates, or likelihood of death. The long-term profitability of these products depends upon how our actual experience compares with our pricing assumptions. For example, if morbidity rates are higher, or mortality rates are lower, than our pricing assumptions, we could be required to make greater payments under disability income insurance policies, chronic care riders and immediate annuity contracts than we had projected. The same holds true for long term care policies we previously underwrote to the extent of the risks that we have retained. If mortality rates are higher than our pricing assumptions, we could be required to make greater payments under our life insurance policies and annuity contracts with guaranteed minimum death benefits than we have projected.
The risk that our claims experience may differ significantly from our pricing assumptions is particularly significant for our long term care insurance products notwithstanding our ability to implement future price increases with regulatory approvals. As with life insurance, long term care insurance policies provide for long-duration coverage and, therefore, our actual claims experience will emerge over many years. However, as a relatively new product in the market, long term care insurance does not have the extensive claims experience history of life insurance and, as a result, our ability to forecast future claim rates for long term care insurance is more limited than for life insurance. We have sought to moderate these uncertainties to some extent by partially reinsuring long term care policies we previously underwrote and by limiting our present long term care insurance offerings to policies underwritten fully by unaffiliated third-party insurers, and we have also implemented rate increases on certain in force policies as described in Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"BusinessOur SegmentsProtectionRiverSource Insurance ProductsLong Term Care Insurance". We may be required to implement additional rate increases in the future and may or may not receive regulatory approval for the full extent and timing of any rate increases that we may seek.
We may face losses if there are significant deviations from our assumptions regarding the future persistency of our insurance policies and annuity contracts.
The prices and expected future profitability of our life insurance and deferred annuity products are based in part upon assumptions related to persistency, which is the probability that a policy or contract will remain in force from one period to the next. Given the ongoing economic and market dislocations, future consumer persistency behaviors could vary materially from the past. The effect of persistency on profitability varies for different products. For most of our life insurance and
deferred annuity products, actual persistency that is lower than our persistency assumptions could have an adverse impact on profitability, especially in the early years of a policy or contract, primarily because we would be required to accelerate the amortization of expenses we deferred in connection with the acquisition of the policy or contract.
For our long term care insurance and universal life insurance policies with secondary guarantees, as well as variable annuities with guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits, actual persistency that is higher than our persistency assumptions could have a negative impact on profitability. If these policies remain in force longer than we assumed, then we could be required to make greater benefit payments than we had anticipated when we priced or partially reinsured these products. Some of our long term care insurance policies have experienced higher persistency and poorer loss experience than we had assumed, which led us to increase premium rates on certain of these policies.
Because our assumptions regarding persistency experience are inherently uncertain, reserves for future policy benefits and claims may prove to be inadequate if actual persistency experience is different from those assumptions. Although some of our products permit us to increase premiums during the life of the policy or contract, we cannot guarantee that these increases would be sufficient to maintain profitability. Additionally, some of these pricing changes require regulatory approval, which may not be forthcoming. Moreover, many of our products do not permit us to increase premiums or limit those increases during the life of the policy or contract, while premiums on certain other products (primarily long term care insurance) may not be increased without prior regulatory approval. Significant deviations in experience from pricing expectations regarding persistency could have an adverse effect on the profitability of our products.
We may be required to accelerate the amortization of DAC, which would increase our expenses and reduce profitability.
DAC represent the costs of acquiring new business, principally direct sales commissions and other distribution and underwriting costs that have been deferred on the sale of annuity, life and disability income insurance and, to a lesser extent, marketing and promotional expenses for personal auto and home insurance, and distribution expense for certain mutual fund products. For annuity and universal life products, DAC are amortized based on projections of estimated gross profits over amortization periods equal to the approximate life of the business. For other insurance products, DAC are generally amortized as a percentage of premiums over amortization periods equal to the premium-paying period. For certain mutual fund products, we generally amortize DAC over fixed periods on a straight-line basis, adjusted for redemptions.
Our projections underlying the amortization of DAC require the use of certain assumptions, including interest margins, mortality rates, persistency rates, maintenance expense levels and customer asset value growth rates for variable products. We periodically review and, where appropriate, adjust our assumptions. When we change our assumptions, we may be required to accelerate the amortization of DAC or to record a charge to increase benefit reserves.
For more information regarding DAC, see Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the heading "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsCritical Accounting PoliciesDeferred Acquisition Costs and Deferred Sales Inducement Costs" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsRecent Accounting Pronouncements."
The occurrence of natural or man-made disasters and catastrophes could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
The occurrence of natural disasters and catastrophes, including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fires, severe winter weather, explosions, pandemic disease and man-made disasters, including acts of terrorism and military actions, could adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition. Such disasters and catastrophes may impact us directly by damaging our facilities, preventing our employees and financial advisors from performing their roles or otherwise disturbing our ordinary business operations and by impacting insurance claims, as described below. Such disasters and catastrophes may also impact us indirectly by changing the condition and behaviors of our customers, business counterparties and regulators, as well as by causing declines or volatility in the economic and financial markets.
The effects of natural and man-made disasters and catastrophes on certain of our businesses include but are not limited to the following: a catastrophic loss of life may materially increase the amount of or accelerate the timing in which benefits are paid under our insurance policies; significant property damage may materially increase the amount of claims submitted under our property casualty insurance policies; an increase in claims and any resulting increase in claims reserves caused by a disaster may harm the financial condition of our reinsurers, thereby impacting the cost and availability of reinsurance and the probability of default on reinsurance recoveries; and declines and volatility in the financial markets may decrease the value of our owned, managed and administered assets, which would harm our financial condition and reduce our management fees.
We cannot predict the timing and frequency with which natural and man-made disasters and catastrophes may occur, nor can we predict the impact that changing climate conditions may have on the frequency and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes. As such, we cannot be sure that our actions to identify and mitigate the risks associated with such
disasters and catastrophes, including predictive modeling, establishing liabilities for expected claims, acquiring insurance and reinsurance and developing business continuity plans, will be effective.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property and may be subject to infringement claims.
We rely on a combination of contractual rights and copyright, trademark, patent and trade secret laws to establish and protect our intellectual property. Although we use a broad range of measures to protect our intellectual property rights, third parties may infringe or misappropriate our intellectual property. We may have to litigate to enforce and protect our copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets and know-how or to determine their scope, validity or enforceability, which represents a diversion of resources that may be significant in amount and may not prove successful. The loss of intellectual property protection or the inability to secure or enforce the protection of our intellectual property assets could have a material adverse effect on our business and our ability to compete.
We also may be subject to costly litigation in the event that another party alleges our operations or activities infringe upon such other party's intellectual property rights. Third parties may have, or may eventually be issued, patents or other protections that could be infringed by our products, methods, processes or services or could otherwise limit our ability to offer certain product features. Any party that holds such a patent could make a claim of infringement against us. We may also be subject to claims by third parties for breach of copyright, trademark, license usage rights, or misappropriation of trade secret rights. Any such claims and any resulting litigation could result in significant liability for damages. If we were found to have infringed or misappropriated a third-party patent or other intellectual property rights, we could incur substantial liability, and in some circumstances could be enjoined from providing certain products or services to our customers or utilizing and benefiting from certain methods, processes, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets or licenses, or alternatively could be required to enter into costly licensing arrangements with third parties, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Breaches of security, or the perception that our technology infrastructure is not secure, could harm our business.
Our business requires the appropriate and secure utilization of client and other sensitive information. Our operations require the secure transmission of confidential information over public networks. Security breaches in connection with the delivery of our products and services, including products and services utilizing the Internet, as well as intrusions resulting from the efforts of "hackers" seeking the sensitive data we possess, and the trend toward broad consumer and general public notification of such incidents, could significantly harm our business, financial condition or results of operations. Even if we successfully protect our technology infrastructure and the confidentiality of sensitive data, we could suffer harm to our business and reputation if attempted security breaches are publicized. We cannot be certain that advances in criminal capabilities, discovery of new vulnerabilities, attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in our systems, data thefts, physical system or network break-ins or inappropriate access, or other developments will not compromise or breach the technology or other security measures protecting the networks used in connection with our products and services.
Protection from system interruptions and operating errors is important to our business. If we experience a sustained interruption to our telecommunications or data processing systems, or other failure in operational execution, it could harm our business.
System or network interruptions could delay and disrupt our ability to develop, deliver or maintain our products and services, causing harm to our business and reputation and resulting in loss of customers or revenue. Interruptions could be caused by operational failures arising from our implementation of new technology, as well from our maintenance of existing technology. Our financial, accounting, data processing or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of events that are wholly or partially beyond our control, adversely affecting our ability to process transactions or provide products and services to our customers. These interruptions can include fires, floods, earthquakes, power losses, equipment failures, failures of internal or vendor software or systems and other events beyond our control. Further, we face the risk of operational failure, termination or capacity constraints of any of the clearing agents, exchanges, clearing houses or other financial intermediaries that we use to facilitate or are component providers to our securities transactions and other product manufacturing and distribution activities. These risks are heightened by our deployment in response to both investor interest and evolution in the financial markets of increasingly sophisticated products, such as those which incorporate automatic asset re-allocation, long/short trading strategies or multiple portfolios or funds, and business-driven hedging, compliance and other risk management strategies. Any such failure, termination or constraint could adversely impact our ability to effect transactions, service our clients and manage our exposure to risk.
Risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in identifying or mitigating risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risk, including employee and financial advisor misconduct.
We have devoted significant resources to develop our risk management policies and procedures and will continue to do so. Nonetheless, our policies and procedures to identify, monitor and manage risks may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risk. Many of our methods of managing risk and exposures are based upon our use of observed historical market behavior or statistics based on historical models. During periods of market volatility or due to unforeseen events, the historically derived correlations upon which these methods are based
may not be valid. As a result, these methods may not accurately predict future exposures, which could be significantly greater than what our models indicate. This could cause us to incur investment losses or cause our hedging and other risk management strategies to be ineffective. Other risk management methods depend upon the evaluation of information regarding markets, clients, catastrophe occurrence or other matters that are publicly available or otherwise accessible to us, which may not always be accurate, complete, up-to-date or properly evaluated.
Moreover, we are subject to the risks of errors and misconduct by our employees and affiliated financial advisors, such as fraud, non-compliance with policies, recommending transactions that are not suitable, and improperly using or disclosing confidential information. These risks are difficult to detect in advance and deter, and could harm our business, results of operations or financial condition. We are further subject to the risk of nonperformance or inadequate performance of contractual obligations by third-party vendors of products and services that are used in our businesses. Management of operational, legal and regulatory risks requires, among other things, policies and procedures to record properly and verify a large number of transactions and events, and these policies and procedures may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risk. Insurance and other traditional risk-shifting tools may be held by or available to us in order to manage certain exposures, but they are subject to terms such as deductibles, coinsurance, limits and policy exclusions, as well as risk of counterparty denial of coverage, default or insolvency.
As a holding company, we depend on the ability of our subsidiaries to transfer funds to us to pay dividends and to meet our obligations.
We act as a holding company for our subsidiaries, through which substantially all of our operations are conducted. Dividends from our subsidiaries and permitted payments to us under our intercompany arrangements with our subsidiaries are our principal sources of cash to pay shareholder dividends and to meet our other financial obligations. These obligations include our operating expenses and interest and principal on our borrowings. If the cash we receive from our subsidiaries pursuant to dividend payment and intercompany arrangements is insufficient for us to fund any of these obligations, we may be required to raise cash through the incurrence of additional debt, the issuance of additional equity or the sale of assets. If any of this happens, it could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Insurance, banking and securities laws and regulations regulate the ability of many of our subsidiaries (such as our insurance, banking and brokerage subsidiaries and our face-amount certificate company) to pay dividends or make other permitted payments. See Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K"Regulation" as well as the information contained in Part II, Item 7 under the heading "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsLiquidity and Capital Resources." In addition to the various regulatory restrictions that constrain our subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends or make other permitted payments to our company, the rating organizations impose various capital requirements on our company and our insurance company subsidiaries in order for us to maintain our ratings and the ratings of our insurance subsidiaries. The value of assets on the company-level balance sheets of our subsidiaries is a significant factor in determining these restrictions and capital requirements. As asset values decline, our and our subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends or make other permitted payments can be reduced. Additionally, the various asset classes held by our subsidiaries, and used in determining required capital levels, are weighted differently or are restricted as to the proportion in which they may be held depending upon their liquidity, credit risk and other factors. Volatility in relative asset values among different asset classes can alter the proportion of our subsidiaries' holdings in those classes, which could increase required capital and constrain our and our subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends or make other permitted payments. The regulatory capital requirements and dividend-paying ability of our subsidiaries may also be affected by a change in the mix of products sold by such subsidiaries. For example, fixed annuities typically require more capital than variable annuities, and an increase in the proportion of fixed annuities sold in relation to variable annuities could increase the regulatory capital requirements of our life insurance subsidiaries. This may reduce the dividends or other permitted payments which could be made from those subsidiaries in the near term without the rating organizations viewing this negatively. Further, the capital requirements imposed upon our subsidiaries may be impacted by heightened regulatory scrutiny and intervention, which could negatively affect our and our subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends or make other permitted payments. Additionally, in the past we have found it necessary to provide support to certain of our subsidiaries in order to maintain adequate capital for regulatory or other purposes and we may provide such support in the future. The provision of such support could adversely affect our excess capital, liquidity, and the dividends or other permitted payments received from our subsidiaries.
The operation of our business in foreign markets and our investments in non-U.S. denominated securities and investment products subjects us to exchange rate and other risks in connection with earnings and income generated overseas.
While we are a U.S.-based company, a portion of our business operations occur outside of the U.S. and some of our investments are not denominated in U.S. dollars. As a result, we are exposed to certain foreign currency exchange risks that could reduce U.S. dollar equivalent earnings as well as negatively impact our general account and other proprietary investment portfolios. Appreciation of the U.S. dollar could unfavorably affect net income from foreign operations, the value of non-U.S. dollar denominated investments and investments in foreign subsidiaries. In comparison, depreciation of the U.S. dollar could positively affect our net income from foreign operations and the value of non-U.S. dollar denominated
investments, though such depreciation could also diminish investor, creditor and rating organizations perceptions of our company compared to peer companies that have a relatively greater proportion of foreign operations or investments.
We may seek to mitigate these risks by employing various hedging strategies including entering into derivative contracts. Currency fluctuations, including the effect of changes in the value of U.S. dollar denominated investments that vary from the amounts ultimately needed to hedge our exposure to changes in the U.S. dollar equivalent of earnings and equity of these operations, may adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.
Changes in U.S. federal income or estate tax law could make some of our products less attractive to clients.
Many of the products we issue or on which our businesses are based (including both insurance products and non-insurance products) enjoy favorable treatment under current U.S. federal income or estate tax law. Changes in U.S. federal income or estate tax law could thus make some of our products less attractive to clients.
We are subject to tax contingencies that could adversely affect our provision for income taxes.
We are subject to the income tax laws of the U.S., its states and municipalities and those of the foreign jurisdictions in which we have significant business operations. These tax laws are complex and may be subject to different interpretations. We must make judgments and interpretations about the application of these inherently complex tax laws when determining the provision for income taxes and must also make estimates about when in the future certain items affect taxable income in the various tax jurisdictions. Disputes over interpretations of the tax laws may be settled with the taxing authority upon examination or audit. In addition, changes to the Internal Revenue Code, administrative rulings or court decisions could increase our provision for income taxes.
Risks Relating to Our Common Stock
The market price of our shares may fluctuate.
The market price of our common stock may fluctuate widely, depending upon many factors, some of which may be beyond our control, including:
Stock markets in general have experienced volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of a particular company. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.
Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and of Delaware law may prevent or delay an acquisition of our company, which could decrease the market value of our common stock.
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and Delaware law contain provisions intended to deter coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids by making them unacceptably expensive to the raider and to encourage prospective acquirors to negotiate with our board of directors rather than to attempt a hostile takeover. These provisions include, among others:
Delaware law also imposes some restrictions on mergers and other business combinations between us and any holder of 15% or more of our outstanding common stock.
We believe these provisions protect our shareholders from coercive or otherwise unfair takeover tactics by requiring potential acquirors to negotiate with our board of directors and by providing our board of directors time to assess any acquisition proposal. They are not intended to make our company immune from takeovers. However, these provisions apply
even if the offer may be considered beneficial by some shareholders and could delay or prevent an acquisition that our board of directors determines is not in the best interests of our company and our shareholders.
We operate our business from two principal locations, both of which are located in Minneapolis, Minnesota: the Ameriprise Financial Center, an 848,000 square foot building that we lease, and our 885,000 square foot Client Service Center, which we own. Each of these principal locations meets high environmental standards: The Client Service Center has achieved the U.S. Green Building Council ("USGBC") LEED Gold Certification, and the Ameriprise Financial Center has achieved USGBC LEED Silver Certification. Our lease term for the Ameriprise Financial Center began in November 2000 and is for 20 years, with several options to extend the term. Our aggregate annual rent for the Ameriprise Financial Center is $15 million. Ameriprise Financial, Inc. owns the 171,000 square foot Oak Ridge Conference Center, a training facility and conference center in Chaska, Minnesota, which can also serve as a disaster recovery site, if necessary. We also lease space in an operations center located in Minneapolis, and we occupy space in a second operations center located in Phoenix, Arizona.
Our property and casualty subsidiary, Ameriprise Auto and Home Insurance, leases approximately 142,000 square feet at its corporate headquarters in DePere, Wisconsin, a suburb of Green Bay. The lease has a ten-year term expiring in 2014 with an option to renew the lease for up to six renewal terms of five years each. They also lease a 34,000 square foot office space in Phoenix, Arizona with a lease term expiring in 2014.
SAI leases its corporate headquarters, containing approximately 80,000 square feet, in LaVista, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha, under a lease that runs through January 31, 2018 with renewal options. SAI also maintains data centers and disaster recovery facilities in Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri.
Threadneedle leases one office facility in London, England and one in Swindon, England. It is the sole tenant of its London office, a 60,410 square foot building, under a lease expiring in June 2018. Threadneedle also leases property in Frankfurt, Germany, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Singapore and Australia and rents offices in a number of other European cities, and Dubai to support its global operations.
Columbia Management leases offices in New York City containing approximately 90,000 square feet under a lease expiring in 2019 and, in first quarter 2011, will relocate from Bank of America facilities in Boston to its own space in Boston containing approximately 156,000 square feet under a lease that expires in 2021. In addition, Seligman occupies a space of 11,425 square feet in Menlo Park, California under a lease that expires in 2023, and Columbia Wanger leases 48,000 square feet in Chicago, Illinois under a lease that expires in 2019.
AFSI leases offices containing approximately 84,000 square feet in Detroit, Michigan, under a lease expiring in 2016.
Generally, we lease the premises we occupy in other locations, including the executive and bank offices that we maintain in New York City and branch offices for our employee branded advisors throughout the United States. We believe that the facilities owned or occupied by our company suit our needs and are well maintained.
The Company and its subsidiaries are involved in the normal course of business in legal, regulatory and arbitration proceedings, including class actions, concerning matters arising in connection with the conduct of its activities as a diversified financial services firm. These include proceedings specific to the Company as well as proceedings generally applicable to business practices in the industries in which it operates. The Company can also be subject to litigation arising out of its general business activities, such as its investments, contracts, leases and employment relationships. Uncertain economic conditions, heightened volatility in the financial markets, such as those which have been experienced from the latter part of 2007 through 2009, and significant recently enacted financial reform legislation may increase the likelihood that clients and other persons or regulators may present or threaten legal claims or that regulators increase the scope or frequency of examinations of the Company or the financial services industry generally.
As with other financial services firms, the level of regulatory activity and inquiry concerning the Company's businesses remains elevated. From time to time, the Company receives requests for information from, and/or has been subject to examination or claims by, the SEC, the FINRA, the OTS, state insurance and securities regulators, state attorneys general and various other governmental and quasi-governmental authorities on behalf of themselves or clients concerning the Company's business activities and practices, and the practices of the Company's financial advisors. During recent periods, the Company has received information requests or inquiries regarding certain pending matters, including: sales and product or service features of, or disclosures pertaining to, mutual funds, annuities, equity and fixed income securities, insurance products, brokerage services, financial plans and other advice offerings; trading practices within the Company's asset management business, supervision of the Company's financial advisors; supervisory practices in connection with financial advisors' outside business activities; sales practices and supervision associated with the sale of fixed and variable annuities
and non-exchange traded (or "private placement") securities; information security; the delivery of financial plans and the suitability of investments and product selection processes. The number of reviews and investigations has increased in recent years with regard to many firms in the financial services industry, including Ameriprise Financial. The Company has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with the applicable regulators regarding their inquiries.
These legal and regulatory proceedings and disputes are subject to uncertainties and, as such, the Company is unable to predict the ultimate resolution or range of loss that may result. An adverse outcome in one or more of these proceedings could result in adverse judgments, settlements, fines, penalties or other relief, in addition to further claims, examinations or adverse publicity that could have a material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
Certain legal and regulatory proceedings are described below.
In June 2004, an action captioned John E. Gallus et al. v. American Express Financial Corp. and American Express Financial Advisors Inc., was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, and was later transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs alleged that they were investors in several of the Company's mutual funds and they purported to bring the action derivatively on behalf of those funds under the Investment Company Act. The plaintiffs alleged that fees allegedly paid to the defendants by the funds for investment advisory and administrative services were excessive. Plaintiffs seek an order declaring that defendants have violated the '40 Act and awarding unspecified damages including excessive fees allegedly paid plus interest and other costs. On July 6, 2007, the district court granted the Company's motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims with prejudice. Plaintiffs appealed the district court's decision, and on April 8, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's decision, and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Company filed with the United States Supreme Court a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to review the judgment of the Court of Appeals in this case in light of the Supreme Courts anticipated review of a similar excessive fee case captioned Jones v. Harris Associates. On March 30, 2010, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Jones v. Harris Associates, and on April 5, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated the Eighth Circuit's decision in this case and remanded it to the Eighth Circuit for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Jones v. Harris Associates. Without any further briefing or argument, on June 4, 2010, the Eighth Circuit remanded the case to the district court for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Jones v. Harris Associates. The district court ordered briefing and heard oral argument on September 22, 2010 on the impact of the Jones v. Harris Associates decision. On December 8, 2010, the district court re-entered its July 2007 order granting summary judgment in favor of the Company. On January 10, 2011, plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal with the Eighth Circuit.
In July 2009, two issuers of private placement interests (Medical Capital Holdings, Inc./Medical Capital Corporation and affiliated corporations and Provident Shale Royalties, LLC and affiliated corporations) sold by the Company's subsidiary Securities America, Inc. ("SAI") were the subject of SEC actions (brought against those entities and individuals associated with them), which has resulted in the filing of several putative class action lawsuits naming both SAI and Ameriprise Financial, as well as related regulatory inquiries. Approximately $400 million of Medical Capital and Provident Shale investments made by SAI clients are outstanding and currently in default. On January 26, 2010, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed an Administrative Complaint against SAI, which is being adjudicated in an administrative hearing that is expected to conclude during the second quarter of 2011. A significant volume of FINRA arbitrations have been brought against SAI. Several of them have been settled, and there has been one adverse ruling, but most are scheduled throughout the course of 2011 and 2012. The putative class actions and arbitrations generally allege violations of state and/or federal securities laws in connection with SAI's sales of these private placement interests. These actions were commenced in September 2009 and thereafter. The Medical Capital-related class actions were centralized and moved to the Central District of California by order of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation under the caption "In re: Medical Capital Securities Litigation." The Provident Shale-related class actions remain pending in Texas federal court. On June 22, 2010, the Liquidating Trustee of the Provident Liquidating Trust filed an adversary action ("Liquidating Trustee Action") in the Provident bankruptcy proceeding naming SAI on behalf of both the Provident Liquidating Trust and a number of individual Provident investors who are alleged to have assigned their claims. The Liquidating Trustee Action generally alleges the same types of claims as are alleged in the Provident class actions as well as a claim under the Bankruptcy Code. The Liquidating Trustee Action has been moved from bankruptcy court to the Texas federal court with the other Provident class actions. Motions to dismiss are pending in both the Provident Shale and Medical Capital class actions, but on January 24, 2011 the Medical Capital Class Action was temporarily transferred to the Northern District of Texas, where the Provident class action is pending, so that coordinated settlement negotiations can be conducted under that single Court's supervision. On February 17, 2011, the named plaintiffs to the class actions filed with the Court a Settlement Agreement and Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, seeking the court's approval of agreed-upon settlement terms. A preliminary approval hearing has been set for March 18, 2011, and the judge has issued a temporary restraining order which stays pending arbitration matters scheduled through this date.
Our common stock trades principally on The New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol AMP. As of February 16, 2011, we had approximately 24,915 common shareholders of record. Price and dividend information concerning our common shares may be found in Note 28 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Information comparing the cumulative total shareholder return on our common stock to the cumulative total return for certain indices is set forth under the heading "Performance Graph" provided in our 2010 Annual Report to Shareholders and is incorporated herein by reference.
We are primarily a holding company and, as a result, our ability to pay dividends in the future will depend on receiving dividends from our subsidiaries. For information regarding our ability to pay dividends, see the information set forth under the heading "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsLiquidity and Capital Resources" contained in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The following table presents the information with respect to purchases made by or on behalf of Ameriprise Financial, Inc. or any "affiliated purchaser" (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) of our common stock during the fourth quarter of 2010:
N/A Not applicable.
The following table sets forth selected consolidated financial information from our audited Consolidated Financial Statements as of December 31, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006 and for the five-year period ended December 31, 2010. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year's presentation. On April 30, 2010, we acquired the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management Group. Results presented below include the results of this business after the date of acquisition. The selected financial data presented below should be read in conjunction with our Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes included elsewhere in this report and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
The following discussion and analysis of our consolidated financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the "Forward-Looking Statements," our Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes that follow and the "Consolidated Five-Year Summary of Selected Financial Data" and the "Risk Factors" included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K. Certain reclassifications of prior year amounts have been made to conform to the current presentation.
We provide financial planning, products and services that are designed to be utilized as solutions for our clients' cash and liquidity, asset accumulation, income, protection and estate and wealth transfer needs. Our model for delivering these solutions is centered on building long-term personal relationships between our affiliated advisors and clients, and in the case of our products distributed through unaffiliated advisors, by supporting those advisors in building strong client relationships. We believe that our focus on personal relationships, together with our strengths in financial planning and product development and distribution, allow us to fully address the evolving financial needs of our clients and our primary target market segment, the mass affluent and affluent, which we define as households with investable assets of more than $100,000.
Our branded affiliated advisors' financial planning and advisory process is designed to provide comprehensive advice that focuses on all aspects of our clients' finances. This approach allows us to recommend actions and a broad range of product solutions consisting of investment, annuity, insurance, banking and other financial products that can help clients attain over time a return or form of protection while accepting what they determine to be an appropriate range and level of risk. Our approach puts us in a strong position to capitalize on significant demographic and market trends, which we believe will continue to drive increased demand for our financial planning and other financial services. Our emphasis on deep client-advisor relationships has been central to the success of our business model through the extreme market conditions of the past few years, and we believe it will help us to navigate future market and economic cycles.
Our multi-platform network of affiliated financial advisors is the primary means by which we develop personal relationships with retail clients. As of December 31, 2010, we had a network of more than 11,400 financial advisors and registered representatives ("affiliated financial advisors"). We refer to the affiliated financial advisors who use our brand name as our branded advisors, and those who do not use our brand name but who are affiliated as registered representatives of ours, as our unbranded advisors. The financial product solutions we offer through our affiliated advisors include both our own products and services and the products of other companies. Our branded advisor network is the primary distribution channel through which we offer our life insurance and annuity products and services, as well as a range of banking and protection products. We offer our branded advisors training, tools, leadership, marketing programs and other field and centralized support to assist them in delivering advice and product solutions to clients. We support unaffiliated advisors with sales and service support and our solutions which they provide to clients. We believe our approach not only improves the products and services we provide to their clients, but also allows us to reinvest in enhanced services for clients and increase support for financial advisors. Our integrated model of financial planning, diversified product manufacturing and affiliated and non-affiliated product distribution affords us a deep understanding of our clients, which allows us to better manage the risk profile of our businesses. We believe our focus on meeting clients' needs through personal financial planning results in more satisfied clients with deeper, longer lasting relationships with our company and higher retention of our experienced financial advisors.
We have four main operating segments: Advice & Wealth Management, Asset Management, Annuities and Protection, as well as our Corporate & Other segment. Our four main operating segments are aligned with the financial solutions we offer to address our clients' needs. The products and services we provide retail clients and, to a lesser extent, institutional clients, are the primary source of our revenues and net income. Revenues and net income are significantly affected by investment performance and the total value and composition of assets we manage and administer for our retail and institutional clients as well as the distribution fees we receive from other companies. These factors, in turn, are largely determined by overall investment market performance and the depth and breadth of our individual client relationships.
We continue to establish Ameriprise Financial as a financial services leader as we focus on meeting the financial needs of the mass affluent and affluent, as evidenced by our continued leadership in financial planning, a client retention percentage rate of 93% and our status as a top ten ranked firm within core portions of our four main operating segments, including the size of our U.S. advisor force, long-term U.S. mutual funds, variable annuities and variable universal life ("VUL") insurance.
Equity price, credit market and interest rate fluctuations can have a significant impact on our results of operations, primarily due to the effects they have on the asset management and other asset-based fees we earn, the "spread" income generated on our annuities, banking and deposit products and universal life ("UL") insurance products, the value of deferred acquisition costs ("DAC") and deferred sales inducement costs ("DSIC") assets associated with variable annuity and VUL products, the values of liabilities for guaranteed benefits associated with our variable annuities and the
values of derivatives held to hedge these benefits. For additional information regarding our sensitivity to equity price and interest rate risk, see Part II, Item 7A "Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk."
In June 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") updated the accounting standards related to the required consolidation of certain variable interest entities ("VIEs"). We adopted the accounting standard effective January 1, 2010 and recorded as a cumulative change in accounting principle an increase to appropriated retained earnings of consolidated investment entities of $473 million and consolidated approximately $5.5 billion of client assets and $5.1 billion of liabilities in VIEs onto our Consolidated Balance Sheets that were not previously consolidated. Management views the VIE assets as client assets and the liabilities have recourse only to those assets. While the economics of our business have not changed, the financial statements were impacted. Prior to adoption, we consolidated certain property funds and hedge funds. These entities and the VIEs consolidated as of January 1, 2010, are defined as consolidated investment entities ("CIEs"). Changes in the valuation of the CIE assets and liabilities impact pretax income. The net income of the CIEs is reflected in net income attributable to noncontrolling interests. The results of operations of the CIEs are reflected in the Corporate & Other segment. On a consolidated basis, the management fees we earn for the services we provide to the CIEs and the related general and administrative expenses are eliminated and the changes in the assets and liabilities related to the CIEs, primarily debt and underlying syndicated loans, are reflected in net investment income. We continue to include the fees in the management and financial advice fees line within our Asset Management segment.
Management believes that operating measures, which exclude net realized gains or losses, integration and restructuring charges and the impact of consolidating CIEs, best reflect the underlying performance of our 2010 and 2009 core operations and facilitate a more meaningful trend analysis. Management uses certain of these non-GAAP measures to evaluate our financial performance on a basis comparable to that used by some securities analysts and investors. Also, certain of these non-GAAP measures are taken into consideration, to varying degrees, for purposes of business planning and analysis and for certain compensation-related matters. Throughout our Management's Discussion and Analysis, these non-GAAP measures are referred to as operating measures. While the consolidation of the CIEs impacts our balance sheet and income statement, our exposure to these entities is unchanged and there is no impact to the underlying business results. The CIEs we manage have the following characteristics:
It is management's priority to increase shareholder value over a multi-year horizon by achieving our on-average, over-time financial targets.
Our financial targets are:
On April 30, 2010, we acquired the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management Group from Bank of America (the "Columbia Management Acquisition"). The acquisition, the integration of which is expected to be completed in 2011, is expected to further enhance the scale and performance of our retail mutual fund and institutional asset management businesses. Our initial estimate of the purchase price was $927 million, which included a provisional estimate of a payable to Bank of America of $31 million and $30 million of assumed liabilities. We recorded the assets and liabilities acquired at fair value and allocated the costs to goodwill and intangible assets. In the fourth quarter of 2010, we determined the provisional payable was no longer necessary and goodwill was reduced by $31 million as of the acquisition date. We incurred pretax non-recurring integration costs related to the Columbia Management Acquisition of $100 million for the year ended December 31, 2010. In total, we have incurred $107 million of pretax non-recurring integration costs through December 31, 2010, and expect to incur between $130 million and $160 million in total of such costs through 2011. These costs include system integration costs, proxy and other regulatory filing costs, employee reduction and retention costs, and investment banking, legal and other acquisition costs. We have realized integration gross expense synergies of approximately $75 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, and expect annualized
synergies to reach $150 million to $190 million for 2012. The rate of decline in costs from such synergies may vary by quarter.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, we completed the acquisitions of H&R Block Financial Advisors, Inc., subsequently renamed Ameriprise Advisor Services, Inc. ("AASI"), J.&W. Seligman & Co., Incorporated ("Seligman") and Brecek & Young Advisors, Inc. which further expanded our retail distribution and asset management capabilities. The cost of the acquisitions was $787 million, which included the purchase price and transaction costs. We recorded the assets and liabilities acquired at fair value and allocated the remaining costs to goodwill and intangible assets. We incurred integration charges related to these acquisitions of $7 million, $91 million and $19 million for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively.
Critical Accounting Policies
The accounting and reporting policies that we use affect our Consolidated Financial Statements. Certain of our accounting and reporting policies are critical to an understanding of our consolidated results of operations and financial condition and, in some cases, the application of these policies can be significantly affected by the estimates, judgments and assumptions made by management during the preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements. The accounting and reporting policies we have identified as fundamental to a full understanding of our consolidated results of operations and financial condition are described below. See Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements for further information about our accounting policies.
Valuation of Investments
The most significant component of our investments is our Available-for-Sale securities, which we carry at fair value within our Consolidated Balance Sheets. The fair value of our Available-for-Sale securities at December 31, 2010 was primarily obtained from third-party pricing sources. We record unrealized securities gains (losses) in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), net of impacts to DAC, DSIC, certain benefit reserves and income taxes. We recognize gains and losses in results of operations upon disposition of the securities.
Effective January 1, 2009, we early adopted an accounting standard that significantly changed our accounting policy regarding the timing and amount of other-than-temporary impairments for Available-for-Sale securities. When the fair value of an investment is less than its amortized cost, we assess whether or not: (i) we have the intent to sell the security (made a decision to sell) or (ii) it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before its anticipated recovery. If either of these conditions is met, an other-than-temporary impairment is considered to have occurred and we must recognize an other-than-temporary impairment for the difference between the investment's amortized cost basis and its fair value through earnings. For securities that do not meet the above criteria, and we do not expect to recover a security's amortized cost basis, the security is also considered other-than-temporarily impaired. For these securities, we separate the total impairment into the credit loss component and the amount of the loss related to other factors. The amount of the total other-than-temporary impairment related to credit loss is recognized in earnings. The amount of the total other-than-temporary impairment related to other factors is recognized in other comprehensive income, net of impacts to DAC, DSIC, certain benefit reserves and income taxes. For Available-for-Sale securities that have recognized an other-than-temporary impairment through earnings, if through subsequent evaluation there is a sustained increase in the cash flow expected, the difference between the amortized cost basis and the cash flows expected to be collected is accreted as interest income. Subsequent increases and decreases in the fair value of Available-for-Sale securities are included in other comprehensive income.
For all securities that are considered temporarily impaired, we do not intend to sell these securities (have not made a decision to sell) and it is not more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before recovery of its amortized cost basis. We believe that we will collect all principal and interest due on all investments that have amortized cost in excess of fair value that are considered only temporarily impaired.
Factors we consider in determining whether declines in the fair value of fixed maturity securities are other-than-temporary include: (i) the extent to which the market value is below amortized cost; (ii) the duration of time in which there has been a significant decline in value; (iii) fundamental analysis of the liquidity, business prospects and overall financial condition of the issuer; and (iv) market events that could impact credit ratings, economic and business climate, litigation and government actions, and similar external business factors. In order to determine the amount of the credit loss component for corporate debt securities considered other-than-temporarily impaired, a best estimate of the present value of cash flows expected to be collected discounted at the security's effective interest rate is compared to the amortized cost basis of the security. The significant inputs to cash flow projections consider potential debt restructuring terms, projected cash flows available to pay creditors and our position in the debtor's overall capital structure.
For structured investments (e.g., residential mortgage backed securities, commercial mortgage backed securities, asset backed securities and other structured investments), we also consider factors such as overall deal structure and our position within the structure, quality of underlying collateral, delinquencies and defaults, loss severities, recoveries,
prepayments and cumulative loss projections in assessing potential other-than-temporary impairments of these investments. Based upon these factors, securities that have indicators of potential other-than-temporary impairment are subject to detailed review by management. Securities for which declines are considered temporary continue to be carefully monitored by management.
Deferred Acquisition Costs and Deferred Sales Inducement Costs
For our annuity and life, disability income and long term care insurance products, our DAC and DSIC balances at any reporting date are supported by projections that show management expects there to be adequate premiums or estimated gross profits after that date to amortize the remaining DAC and DSIC balances. These projections are inherently uncertain because they require management to make assumptions about financial markets, anticipated mortality and morbidity levels and policyholder behavior over periods extending well into the future. In the third quarter of 2010, management extended the projection periods used for its annuity products to 30 to 50 years compared to previous projection periods of 10 to 25 years. Projection periods for our life insurance and long term care insurance products are often 50 years or longer and projection periods for our disability income products can be up to 45 years. Management regularly monitors financial market conditions and actual policyholder behavior experience and compares them to its assumptions.
For annuity and universal life insurance products, the assumptions made in projecting future results and calculating the DAC balance and DAC amortization expense are management's best estimates. Management is required to update these assumptions whenever it appears that, based on actual experience or other evidence, earlier estimates should be revised. When assumptions are changed, the percentage of estimated gross profits used to amortize DAC might also change. A change in the required amortization percentage is applied retrospectively; an increase in amortization percentage will result in a decrease in the DAC balance and an increase in DAC amortization expense, while a decrease in amortization percentage will result in an increase in the DAC balance and a decrease in DAC amortization expense. The impact on results of operations of changing assumptions can be either positive or negative in any particular period and is reflected in the period in which such changes are made. For products with associated DSIC, the same policy applies in calculating the DSIC balance and periodic DSIC amortization.
For other life, disability income and long term care insurance products, the assumptions made in calculating our DAC balance and DAC amortization expense are consistent with those used in determining the liabilities and, therefore, are intended to provide for adverse deviations in experience and are revised only if management concludes experience will be so adverse that DAC are not recoverable. If management concludes that DAC are not recoverable, DAC are reduced to the amount that is recoverable based on best estimate assumptions and there is a corresponding expense recorded in our Consolidated Statements of Operations.
For annuity and life, disability income and long term care insurance products, key assumptions underlying these long-term projections include interest rates (both earning rates on invested assets and rates credited to contractholder and policyholder accounts), equity market performance, mortality and morbidity rates and the rates at which policyholders are expected to surrender their contracts, make withdrawals from their contracts and make additional deposits to their contracts. Assumptions about earned and credited interest rates are the primary factors used to project interest margins, while assumptions about equity and bond market performance are the primary factors used to project client asset value growth rates, and assumptions about surrenders, withdrawals and deposits comprise projected persistency rates. Management must also make assumptions to project maintenance expenses associated with servicing our annuity and insurance businesses during the DAC amortization period.
The client asset value growth rates are the rates at which variable annuity and variable universal life insurance contract values invested in separate accounts are assumed to appreciate in the future. The rates used vary by equity and fixed income investments. Management reviews and, where appropriate, adjusts its assumptions with respect to client asset value growth rates on a regular basis. In the third quarter of 2010, management adjusted the long-term client asset value growth rates to 9% for equity funds and 6% for fixed income funds compared to previous returns of 9% and 6.5%, respectively. We typically use a five-year mean reversion process as a guideline in setting near-term equity fund growth rates based on a long-term view of financial market performance as well as recent actual performance. The suggested near-term equity fund growth rate is reviewed quarterly to ensure consistency with management's assessment of anticipated equity market performance. In the third quarter of 2010, management reset the near-term equity fund growth rate to equal the 9% long-term rate. Assumed near-term fixed income fund growth rates are less than the 6% long-term rate.
A decrease of 100 basis points in various rate assumptions is likely to result in an increase in DAC and DSIC amortization and an increase in benefits and claims expense from variable annuity guarantees. The following table presents the estimated impact to pretax income:
We monitor other principal DAC and DSIC amortization assumptions, such as persistency, mortality, morbidity, interest margin and maintenance expense levels each quarter and, when assessed independently, each could impact our DAC and DSIC balances.
The analysis of DAC and DSIC balances and the corresponding amortization is a dynamic process that considers all relevant factors and assumptions described previously. Unless management identifies a significant deviation over the course of the quarterly monitoring, management reviews and updates these DAC and DSIC amortization assumptions annually in the third quarter of each year. An assessment of sensitivity associated with changes in any single assumption would not necessarily be an indicator of future results.
Future Policy Benefits and Claims
Fixed Annuities and Variable Annuity Guarantees
Future policy benefits and claims related to fixed annuities and variable annuity guarantees include liabilities for fixed account values on fixed and variable deferred annuities, guaranteed benefits associated with variable annuities, equity indexed annuities and fixed annuities in a payout status.
Liabilities for fixed account values on fixed and variable deferred annuities are equal to accumulation values, which are the cumulative gross deposits and credited interest less withdrawals and various charges.
The majority of the variable annuity contracts offered by us contain guaranteed minimum death benefit ("GMDB") provisions. When market values of the customer's accounts decline, the death benefit payable on a contract with a GMDB may exceed the contract accumulation value. We also offer variable annuities with death benefit provisions that gross up the amount payable by a certain percentage of contract earnings which are referred to as gain gross-up benefits. In addition, we offer contracts with guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit ("GMWB") and guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit ("GMAB") provisions and, until May 2007, we offered contracts containing guaranteed minimum income benefit ("GMIB") provisions.
In determining the liabilities for GMDB, GMIB and the life contingent benefits associated with GMWB, we project these benefits and contract assessments using actuarial models to simulate various equity market scenarios. Significant assumptions made in projecting future benefits and assessments relate to customer asset value growth rates, mortality, persistency and investment margins and are consistent with those used for DAC asset valuation for the same contracts. As with DAC, management reviews, and where appropriate, adjusts its assumptions each quarter. Unless management identifies a material deviation over the course of quarterly monitoring, management reviews and updates these assumptions annually in the third quarter of each year. The amounts in the table above in "Deferred Acquisition Costs and Deferred Sales Inducement Costs" include the estimated impact to benefits and claims expense related to variable annuity guarantees resulting from a decrease of 100 basis points in various rate assumptions.
The GMDB liability is determined by estimating the expected value of death benefits in excess of the projected contract accumulation value and recognizing the excess over the estimated meaningful life based on expected assessments (e.g., mortality and expense fees, contractual administrative charges and similar fees).
If elected by the contract owner and after a stipulated waiting period from contract issuance, a GMIB guarantees a minimum lifetime annuity based on a specified rate of contract accumulation value growth and predetermined annuity purchase rates. The GMIB liability is determined each period by estimating the expected value of annuitization benefits in excess of the projected contract accumulation value at the date of annuitization and recognizing the excess over the estimated meaningful life based on expected assessments.
The embedded derivatives related to GMAB and the non-life contingent benefits associated with GMWB provisions are recorded at fair value. See Note 15 to our Consolidated Financial Statements for information regarding the fair value measurement of embedded derivatives. The liability for the life contingent benefits associated with GMWB provisions is
determined in the same way as the GMDB liability. The changes in both the fair values of the GMWB and GMAB embedded derivatives and the liability for life contingent benefits are reflected in benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses.
Liabilities for equity indexed annuities are equal to the accumulation of host contract values covering guaranteed benefits and the fair value of embedded equity options.
Liabilities for fixed annuities in a benefit or payout status are based on future estimated payments using established industry mortality tables and interest rates, ranging from 4.6% to 9.5% at December 31, 2010, depending on year of issue, with an average rate of approximately 5.6%.
Life, Disability Income and Long Term Care Insurance
Future policy benefits and claims related to life, disability income and long term care insurance include liabilities for fixed account values on fixed and variable universal life policies, liabilities for unpaid amounts on reported claims, estimates of benefits payable on claims incurred but not yet reported and estimates of benefits that will become payable on term life, whole life, disability income and long term care policies as claims are incurred in the future.
Liabilities for fixed account values on fixed and variable universal life insurance are equal to accumulation values. Accumulation values are the cumulative gross deposits and credited interest less various contractual expense and mortality charges and less amounts withdrawn by policyholders.
A portion of our fixed and variable universal life contracts have product features that result in profits followed by losses from the insurance component of the contract. These profits followed by losses can be generated by the cost structure of the product or secondary guarantees in the contract. The secondary guarantee ensures that, subject to specified conditions, the policy will not terminate and will continue to provide a death benefit even if there is insufficient policy value to cover the monthly deductions and charges.
In determining the liability for contracts with profits followed by losses, we project benefits and contract assessments using actuarial models. Significant assumptions made in projecting future benefits and assessments relate to customer asset value growth rates, mortality, persistency and investment margins and are consistent with those used for DAC asset valuation for the same contracts. As with DAC, management reviews, and where appropriate, adjusts its assumptions each quarter. Unless management identifies a material deviation over the course of quarterly monitoring, management reviews and updates these assumptions annually in the third quarter of each year.
The liability for these future losses is determined by estimating the death benefits in excess of account value and recognizing the excess over the estimated meaningful life based on expected assessments (e.g. cost of insurance charges, contractual administrative charges, similar fees and investment margin). See Note 11 to our Consolidated Financial Statements for information regarding the liability for contracts with secondary guarantees.
Liabilities for unpaid amounts on reported life insurance claims are equal to the death benefits payable under the policies. Liabilities for unpaid amounts on reported disability income and long term care claims include any periodic or other benefit amounts due and accrued, along with estimates of the present value of obligations for continuing benefit payments. These amounts are calculated based on claim continuance tables which estimate the likelihood an individual will continue to be eligible for benefits. Present values are calculated at interest rates established when claims are incurred. Anticipated claim continuance rates are based on established industry tables, adjusted as appropriate for our experience. Interest rates used with disability income claims ranged from 3.0% to 8.0% at December 31, 2010, with an average rate of 4.6%. Interest rates used with long term care claims ranged from 4.0% to 7.0% at December 31, 2010, with an average rate of 4.0%.
Liabilities for estimated benefits payable on claims that have been incurred but not yet reported are based on periodic analysis of the actual time lag between when a claim occurs and when it is reported.
Liabilities for estimates of benefits that will become payable on future claims on term life, whole life, disability income and long term care policies are based on the net level premium method, using anticipated premium payments, mortality and morbidity rates, policy persistency and interest rates earned on assets supporting the liability. Anticipated mortality and morbidity rates are based on established industry mortality and morbidity tables, with modifications based on our experience. Anticipated premium payments and persistency rates vary by policy form, issue age, policy duration and certain other pricing factors. Anticipated interest rates for term and whole life ranged from 4.0% to 10.0% at December 31, 2010, depending on policy form, issue year and policy duration. Anticipated interest rates for disability income policies ranged from 4.0% to 7.5% at December 31, 2010, depending on policy form, issue year and policy duration. Anticipated interest rates for long term care policy reserves can vary by plan and year and ranged from 5.8% to 9.4% at December 31, 2010.
Where applicable, benefit amounts expected to be recoverable from reinsurance companies who share in the risk are separately recorded as reinsurance recoverable within receivables.
Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities
We use derivative instruments to manage our exposure to various market risks. Examples include index options, interest rate swaps and swaptions, total return swaps, and futures that economically hedge the equity and interest rate exposure of derivatives embedded in certain annuity and certificate liabilities, as well as exposure to price risk arising from affiliated mutual fund seed money investments. All derivatives are recorded at fair value. The fair value of our derivative instruments is determined using either market quotes or valuation models that are based upon the net present value of estimated future cash flows and incorporate current market observable inputs to the extent available.
The accounting for changes in the fair value of a derivative instrument depends on its intended use and the resulting hedge designation, if any. We primarily use derivatives as economic hedges that are not designated as accounting hedges or do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment. We occasionally designate derivatives as (i) hedges of changes in the fair value of assets, liabilities or firm commitments ("fair value hedges"), (ii) hedges of a forecasted transaction or of the variability of cash flows to be received or paid related to a recognized asset or liability ("cash flow hedges") or (iii) hedges of foreign currency exposures of net investments in foreign operations ("net investment hedges in foreign operations").
Our policy is to not offset fair value amounts recognized for derivatives and collateral arrangements executed with the same counterparty under the same master netting arrangement. For derivative instruments that do not qualify for hedge accounting or are not designated as hedges, changes in fair value are recognized in current period earnings. The changes in fair value of derivatives hedging variable annuity living benefits and certain variable annuity death benefits, when applicable, are included within benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses. The changes in fair value of derivatives hedging equity indexed annuities and stock market certificates are included within interest credited to fixed accounts and banking and deposit interest expense, respectively. The changes in fair value of derivatives hedging equity price risk of Ameriprise Financial, Inc. common stock granted as part of the Ameriprise Financial Franchise Advisor Deferred Equity Plan are included in distribution expenses. The changes in fair value of all other derivatives that do not qualify for hedge accounting or are not designated as hedges are a component of net investment income.
For derivative instruments that qualify as fair value hedges, changes in the fair value of the derivatives, as well as changes in the fair value of the hedged assets, liabilities or firm commitments, are recognized on a net basis in current period earnings. The carrying value of the hedged item is adjusted for the change in fair value from the designated hedged risk. If a fair value hedge designation is removed or the hedge is terminated prior to maturity, previous adjustments to the carrying value of the hedged item are recognized into earnings over the remaining life of the hedged item.
For derivative instruments that qualify as cash flow hedges, the effective portion of the gain or loss on the derivative instruments is reported in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) and reclassified into earnings when the hedged item or transaction impacts earnings. The amount that is reclassified into earnings is presented in the Consolidated Statements of Operations with the hedged instrument or transaction impact. Any ineffective portion of the gain or loss is reported in current period earnings as a component of net investment income. If a hedge designation is removed or a hedge is terminated prior to maturity, the amount previously recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) is reclassified to earnings over the period that the hedged item impacts earnings. For any hedge relationships that are discontinued because the forecasted transaction is not expected to occur according to the original strategy, any related amounts previously recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) are recognized in earnings immediately.
For derivative instruments that qualify as net investment hedges in foreign operations, the effective portion of the change in fair value of the derivatives is recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) as part of the foreign currency translation adjustment. Any ineffective portion of net investment hedges in foreign operations is recognized in net investment income during the period of change.
For further details on the types of derivatives we use and how we account for them, see Note 2 and Note 16 to our Consolidated Financial Statements.
Income Tax Accounting
Income taxes, as reported in our Consolidated Financial Statements, represent the net amount of income taxes that we expect to pay to or receive from various taxing jurisdictions in connection with our operations. We provide for income taxes based on amounts that we believe we will ultimately owe taking into account the recognition and measurement for uncertain tax positions. Inherent in the provision for income taxes are estimates and judgments regarding the tax treatment of certain items. In the event that the ultimate tax treatment of items differs from our estimates, we may be required to significantly change the provision for income taxes recorded in our Consolidated Financial Statements.
In connection with the provision for income taxes, our Consolidated Financial Statements reflect certain amounts related to deferred tax assets and liabilities, which result from temporary differences between the assets and liabilities measured for financial statement purposes versus the assets and liabilities measured for tax return purposes. Included in deferred tax assets are significant capital losses that have been recognized for financial statement purposes but not yet for tax return purposes as well as future deductible capital losses realized for tax return purposes. Under current U.S. federal income tax
law, capital losses generally must be used against capital gain income within five years of the year in which the capital losses are recognized for tax purposes.
We are required to establish a valuation allowance for any portion of our deferred tax assets that management believes will not be realized. Significant judgment is required in determining if a valuation allowance should be established, and the amount of such allowance if required. Factors used in making this determination include estimates relating to the performance of the business including the ability to generate capital gains. Consideration is given to, among other things in making this determination, (i) future taxable income exclusive of reversing temporary differences and carryforwards, (ii) future reversals of existing taxable temporary differences, (iii) taxable income in prior carryback years, and (iv) tax planning strategies. Management may need to identify and implement appropriate planning strategies to ensure our ability to realize our deferred tax assets and avoid the establishment of a valuation allowance with respect to such assets. In the opinion of management, it is currently more likely than not that we will realize the benefit of our deferred tax assets, including our capital loss deferred tax asset; therefore, no such valuation allowance has been established.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
For information regarding recent accounting pronouncements and their expected impact on our future consolidated results of operations and financial condition, see Note 3 to our Consolidated Financial Statements.
Sources of Revenues and Expenses
Management and Financial Advice Fees
Management and financial advice fees relate primarily to fees earned from managing mutual funds, separate account and wrap account assets and institutional investments, as well as fees earned from providing financial advice and administrative services (including transfer agent, administration and custodial fees earned from providing services to retail mutual funds). Management and financial advice fees also include mortality and expense risk fees earned on separate account assets.
Our management fees are generally accrued daily and collected monthly. A significant portion of our management fees are calculated as a percentage of the fair value of our managed assets. The substantial majority of our managed assets are valued by independent pricing services vendors based upon observable market data. The selection of our pricing services vendors and the reliability of their prices are subject to certain governance procedures, such as periodic comparison across pricing vendors, due diligence reviews, daily price variance analysis, subsequent sales testing, stale price review, pricing vendor challenge process, and valuation committee oversight.
Several of our mutual funds have a performance incentive adjustment ("PIA"). The PIA increases or decreases the level of management fees received based on the specific fund's relative performance as measured against a designated external index. We expect that the PIA earned by our mutual funds will be discontinued during 2011. We may also receive performance-based incentive fees from hedge funds or other structured investments that we manage. We recognize PIA revenue monthly on a 12 month rolling performance basis. The monthly PIA and annual performance fees for structured investments are recognized as revenue at the time the performance fee is finalized or no longer subject to adjustment. The PIA is finalized on a monthly basis. All other performance fees are based on a full contract year and are final at the end of the contract year. Any performance fees received are not subject to repayment or any other clawback provisions and approximately 1% of managed assets as of December 31, 2010 are subject to "high water marks" whereby we will not earn incentive fees even if the fund has positive returns until it surpasses the previous high water mark. Employee benefit plan and institutional investment management and administration services fees are negotiated and are also generally based on underlying asset values. Fees from financial planning and advice services are recognized when the financial plan is delivered.
Distribution fees primarily include point-of-sale fees (such as mutual fund front-end sales loads) and asset-based fees (such as 12b-1 distribution and shareholder service fees) that are generally based on a contractual percentage of assets and recognized when earned. Distribution fees also include amounts received under marketing support arrangements for sales of mutual funds and other companies' products, such as through our wrap accounts, as well as surrender charges on fixed and variable universal life insurance and annuities.
Net Investment Income
Net investment income primarily includes interest income on fixed maturity securities classified as Available-for-Sale, commercial mortgage loans, policy loans, consumer loans, other investments and cash and cash equivalents; the changes in fair value of trading securities, including seed money, certain derivatives and certain assets and liabilities of consolidated investment entities; the pro rata share of net income or loss on equity method investments; and realized gains and losses on the sale of securities and charges for other-than-temporary impairments of investments related to credit losses. Interest income is accrued as earned using the effective interest method, which makes an adjustment of the yield for security
premiums and discounts on all performing fixed maturity securities classified as Available-for-Sale and commercial mortgage loans so that the related security or loan recognizes a constant rate of return on the outstanding balance throughout its term. Realized gains and losses on securities, other than trading securities and equity method investments, are recognized using the specific identification method on a trade date basis.
Premiums include premiums on property-casualty insurance, traditional life and health (disability income and long term care) insurance and immediate annuities with a life contingent feature. Premiums on auto and home insurance are net of reinsurance premiums and are recognized ratably over the coverage period. Premiums on traditional life and health insurance are net of reinsurance ceded and are recognized as revenue when due.
Other revenues include certain charges assessed on fixed and variable universal life insurance and annuities, which consist of cost of insurance charges, net of reinsurance premiums and cost of reinsurance for universal life insurance products, variable annuity guaranteed benefit rider charges and administration charges against contractholder accounts or balances. Premiums paid by fixed and variable universal life policyholders and annuity contractholders are considered deposits and are not included in revenue. Other revenues also include revenues related to certain consolidated limited partnerships.
Banking and Deposit Interest Expense
Banking and deposit interest expense primarily includes interest expense related to banking deposits and investment certificates. Additionally, banking and deposit interest expense includes interest related to non-recourse debt of certain consolidated limited partnerships. The changes in fair value of stock market certificate embedded derivatives and the derivatives hedging stock market certificates are included within banking and deposit interest expense.
Distribution expenses primarily include compensation paid to our financial advisors, registered representatives, third-party distributors and wholesalers, net of amounts capitalized and amortized as part of DAC. The amounts capitalized and amortized are based on actual distribution costs. The majority of these costs, such as advisor and wholesaler compensation, vary directly with the level of sales. Distribution expenses also include marketing support and other distribution and administration related payments made to affiliated and unaffiliated distributors of products provided by our affiliates. The majority of these expenses vary with the level of sales, or assets held, by these distributors, and the remainder is fixed. Distribution expenses also include wholesaling costs.
Interest Credited to Fixed Accounts
Interest credited to fixed accounts represents amounts earned by contractholders and policyholders on fixed account values associated with fixed and variable universal life and annuity contracts. The changes in fair value of equity indexed annuity embedded derivatives and the derivatives hedging equity indexed annuities are included within interest credited to fixed accounts.
Benefits, Claims, Losses and Settlement Expenses
Benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses consist of amounts paid and changes in liabilities held for anticipated future benefit payments under insurance policies and annuity contracts, along with costs to process and pay such amounts. Amounts are net of benefit payments recovered or expected to be recovered under reinsurance contracts. Benefits under variable annuity guarantees include the changes in fair value of GMWB and GMAB embedded derivatives and the derivatives hedging these benefits, as well as the changes in fair value of derivatives hedging GMDB provisions. Benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses also include amortization of DSIC.
Amortization of DAC
Direct sales commissions and other costs capitalized as DAC are amortized over time. For annuity and universal life contracts, DAC are amortized based on projections of estimated gross profits over amortization periods equal to the approximate life of the business. For other insurance products, DAC are generally amortized as a percentage of premiums over amortization periods equal to the premium-paying period. For certain mutual fund products, DAC are generally amortized over fixed periods on a straight-line basis adjusted for redemptions. See "Deferred Acquisition Costs and Deferred Sales Inducement Costs" under "Critical Accounting Policies" for further information on DAC.
Interest and Debt Expense
Interest and debt expense primarily includes interest on corporate debt and debt of consolidated investment entities, the impact of interest rate hedging activities and amortization of debt issuance costs.
General and Administrative Expense
General and administrative expense includes compensation, share-based awards and other benefits for employees (other than employees directly related to distribution, including financial advisors), integration costs, professional and consultant fees, information technology, facilities and equipment, advertising and promotion, legal and regulatory and corporate related expenses.
Owned, Managed and Administered Assets
Owned assets include certain assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets for which we do not provide investment management services and do not recognize management fees, such as investments in non-affiliated funds held in the separate accounts of our life insurance subsidiaries, as well as restricted and segregated cash and receivables.
Managed assets include managed external client assets and managed owned assets. At January 1, 2010, we consolidated approximately $5.5 billion of client assets in VIEs onto our Consolidated Balance Sheets that were not previously consolidated. Prior to January 1, 2010, these assets were included in managed external client assets and were subsequently included in managed owned assets. Managed external client assets include client assets for which we provide investment management services, such as the assets of the Columbia funds and Threadneedle funds, assets of institutional clients and client assets held in wrap accounts. Managed external client assets also include assets managed by sub-advisors selected by us. Managed external client assets are not reported on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. Managed owned assets include certain assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets for which we provide investment management services and recognize management fees in our Asset Management segment, such as the assets of the general account, RiverSource Variable Product funds held in the separate accounts of our life insurance subsidiaries and client assets of CIEs.
Investors in the mutual funds and face amount certificates we advise may redeem shares on each business day, provided that redemption orders are submitted in a timely fashion. For our institutional clients, advisory contracts may generally be terminated (and managed assets redeemed) upon 30 days' written notice. However, we may in limited circumstances negotiate customized termination provisions with certain clients during the contracting process, or we may waive negotiated notice periods at our discretion. Investors in the private investment funds we sponsor can generally redeem shares as of each month end upon 30-days advance written notice, with limited exceptions. In addition, the notice requirements for our private investment funds may be waived or reduced at the discretion of the applicable fund.
Administered assets include assets for which we provide administrative services such as client assets invested in other companies' products that we offer outside of our wrap accounts. These assets include those held in clients' brokerage accounts. We generally record fees received from administered assets as distribution fees. We do not exercise management discretion over these assets and do not earn a management fee. These assets are not reported on our Consolidated Balance Sheets.
We earn management fees on our owned separate account assets based on the market value of assets held in the separate accounts. We record the income associated with our owned investments, including net realized gains and losses associated with these investments and other-than-temporary impairments related to credit losses on these investments, as net investment income. For managed assets, we receive management fees based on the value of these assets. We generally report these fees as management and financial advice fees. We may also receive distribution fees based on the value of these assets.
Our owned, managed and administered assets are impacted by net flows of client assets, market movements and foreign exchange rates. Owned assets are also affected by changes in our capital structure.
The following table presents detail regarding our owned, managed and administered assets:
NM Not Meaningful.
Consolidated Results of Operations
Year Ended December 31, 2010 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2009
In June 2009, the FASB updated the accounting standards related to the required consolidation of certain VIEs. We adopted the accounting standard effective January 1, 2010 and recorded as a cumulative change in accounting principle an increase to appropriated retained earnings of consolidated investment entities of $473 million and consolidated approximately $5.5 billion of client assets and $5.1 billion of liabilities in VIEs onto our Consolidated Balance Sheets that were not previously consolidated. Management views the VIE assets as client assets and the liabilities have recourse only to those assets. While the economics of our business have not changed, the financial statements were impacted. Prior to adoption, we consolidated certain property funds and hedge funds. These entities and the VIEs consolidated as of January 1, 2010, are defined as CIEs. Changes in the valuation of the CIE assets and liabilities impact pretax income. The net income of the CIEs is reflected in net income attributable to noncontrolling interests. On a consolidated basis, the management fees we earn for the services we provide to the CIEs and the related general and administrative expenses are eliminated and the changes in the assets and liabilities related to the CIEs, primarily debt and underlying syndicated loans, are reflected in net investment income.
Management believes that operating measures, which exclude net realized gains or losses, integration and restructuring charges and the impact of consolidating CIEs, best reflect the underlying performance of our 2010 and 2009 core operations and facilitate a more meaningful trend analysis. See our discussion on the use of these non-GAAP measures in the Overview section above.
The following table presents our consolidated results of operations:
The following table presents the components of the adjustments in the table above:
Net income attributable to Ameriprise Financial increased $375 million, or 52%, to $1.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $722 million for the prior year. Operating net income attributable to Ameriprise Financial excludes net realized gains or losses, integration and restructuring charges and the impact of consolidating CIEs. Operating net income attributable to Ameriprise Financial increased $396 million, or 53%, to $1.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $752 million for the prior year driven by improved client activity, market appreciation and net inflows in wrap account assets and variable annuities, as well as improved scale from the Columbia Management Acquisition.
Our annual review of valuation assumptions for RiverSource Life products in the third quarter of 2010 resulted in a net pretax benefit of $88 million. A third quarter expense of $32 million related to an adjustment for insurance and annuity model changes was more than offset by a second quarter benefit of $33 million related to an adjustment for revisions to certain calculations in our valuation of DAC and DSIC. The net benefit of the above items of $89 million reflected a $155 million benefit from persistency improvements, including a net benefit from extending annuity amortization periods and increased living benefits expense, an $85 million expense from resetting near-term equity return assumptions equal to the long-term assumptions and reducing both near- and long-term bond fund return assumptions, and $19 million in additional benefits from all other assumption and model changes.
Our annual review in the third quarter of 2009 resulted in a net pretax benefit of $134 million, consisting of a decrease in expenses primarily from updating product mortality assumptions for certain life insurance products and from the impact of updating product spreads and expense assumptions, partially offset by a decrease in revenues related to the reinsurance impacts from updating product mortality assumptions.
The total pretax impacts on our revenues and expenses for 2010 attributable to the review of valuation assumptions and model changes were as follows:
The total pretax impacts on our revenues and expenses for 2009 attributable to the review of valuation assumptions were as follows:
Results for 2010 included a $34 million pretax benefit from the market's impact on DAC and DSIC compared to $30 million in 2009. Results for 2010 also included a $55 million pretax variable annuity benefits expense, net of hedges, DAC and DSIC, related to market impacts compared to $35 million in the prior year.
Net revenues increased $2.2 billion, or 28%, to $10.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $7.8 billion for the prior year. Operating net revenues exclude net realized gains or losses and revenues of the CIEs and include the fees we earn from services provided to the CIEs. Operating net revenues increased $1.9 billion, or 24%, to $9.6 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $7.7 billion for the prior year primarily due to growth in asset-based management fees and distribution fees driven by higher asset levels reflecting the Columbia Management Acquisition, market appreciation and net inflows in wrap account assets and variable annuities, as well as increased client activity levels.
Management and financial advice fees increased $1.3 billion, or 46%, to $4.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $2.7 billion for the prior year. Operating management and financial advice fees include the fees we earn from services provided to the CIEs. Operating management and financial advice fees increased $1.3 billion, or 48%, to $4.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $2.7 billion for the prior year primarily due to higher asset levels reflecting the Columbia Management Acquisition, market appreciation and net inflows in wrap account assets and variable annuities. The daily average S&P 500 Index increased 20% compared to the prior year. Wrap account assets increased $17.8 billion, or 19%, to $112.7 billion at December 31, 2010 compared to the prior year due to net inflows and market appreciation. Average variable annuities contract accumulation values increased $10.3 billion, or 25%, from the prior year due to higher equity market levels and net inflows. Total Asset Management managed assets increased $213.7 billion, or 88%, to $456.8 billion at December 31, 2010 compared to the prior year primarily due to the Columbia Management Acquisition and market appreciation, partially offset by net outflows.
Distribution fees increased $288 million, or 20%, to $1.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.4 billion in the prior year primarily due to higher asset-based fees driven by growth in assets from the Columbia Management Acquisition, market appreciation and net inflows in wrap account assets and variable annuities, as well as increased client activity.
Net investment income increased $311 million, or 16%, to $2.3 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $2.0 billion in the prior year. Net investment income for 2010 included a $275 million gain for changes in the assets and liabilities of CIEs, primarily debt and underlying syndicated loans, compared to $2 million in the prior year. Operating net investment income excludes net realized gains or losses and changes in the assets and liabilities of CIEs, primarily debt and underlying syndicated loans. Operating net investment income increased $58 million, or 3%, to $2.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.9 billion for the prior year primarily due to a $42 million increase in investment income on fixed maturity securities driven by higher fixed annuity account balances and higher investment
yields, as well as higher investment yields and increased account balances related to assets supporting our Protection business, partially offset by lower investment income related to certificates.
Premiums increased $81 million, or 7%, to $1.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.1 billion for the prior year primarily due to growth in Auto and Home premiums driven by higher volumes, as well as higher sales of immediate annuities with life contingencies. Auto and Home policy counts increased 9% period-over-period.
Other revenues increased $163 million, or 23%, to $885 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $722 million in the prior year. Operating other revenues exclude revenues of consolidated property funds. Operating other revenues increased $66 million, or 10%, to $760 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $694 million in the prior year primarily due to lower charges related to updating valuation assumptions and model changes, higher fees from variable annuity guarantees, and a $25 million benefit from payments related to the Reserve Funds matter in 2010, partially offset by a $58 million benefit in 2009 from repurchasing our junior notes at a discount. Other revenues in 2010 included a charge of $20 million from updating valuation assumptions and model changes compared to a charge of $65 million in the prior year.
Banking and deposit interest expense decreased $71 million, or 50%, to $70 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $141 million in the prior year primarily due to lower certificate balances as a result of the run-off of certificate rate promotions and a decrease in crediting rates on certificate products.
Total expenses increased $1.5 billion, or 22%, to $8.4 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $6.9 billion for the prior year. Operating expenses exclude integration and restructuring charges and expenses of the CIEs. Operating expenses increased $1.3 billion, or 19%, to $8.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $6.8 billion for the prior year primarily due to increases in distribution expenses, benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses and general and administrative expense, partially offset by a decrease in amortization of DAC.
Distribution expenses increased $649 million, or 36%, to $2.4 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.8 billion in the prior year as a result of market appreciation and the Columbia Management Acquisition, as well as higher advisor compensation from business growth.
Interest credited to fixed accounts increased $6 million, or 1%, to $909 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $903 million for the prior year driven by higher average fixed annuity account balances, partially offset by a lower average crediting rate on interest sensitive fixed annuities. The average fixed annuity crediting rate excluding capitalized interest decreased to 3.8% in 2010 compared to 3.9% in the prior year. Average fixed annuities contract accumulation values increased $600 million, or 4%, to $14.5 billion for 2010 compared to the prior year.
Benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses increased $415 million, or 31%, to $1.8 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.3 billion for the prior year driven by the impact of updating valuation assumptions and model changes, partially offset by the market impact of variable annuity guaranteed benefits, net of hedges and DSIC. Benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses in 2010 included an expense of $249 million from updating valuation assumptions and model changes compared to a benefit of $80 million in the prior year. The market impact of variable annuity guaranteed benefits, net of hedges and DSIC, increased benefits expense by $59 million in 2010 compared to an increase of $148 million in the prior year. The market impact in both periods was primarily driven by the impact of nonperformance credit spread on the valuation of living benefit liabilities, which we do not hedge. The market impact to DSIC was a benefit of $3 million in 2010 compared to a benefit of $4 million in the prior year. Benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses related to our Auto and Home business increased compared to the prior year primarily due to higher business volumes and higher claims driven by $11 million in catastrophe losses from a hail storm in the Phoenix area and a $16 million reserve increase for higher auto liability claims. Benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses related to our immediate annuities with life contingencies increased compared to the prior year primarily due to higher premiums. In addition, benefits, claims, losses and settlement expenses increased as a result of the implementation of changes to the Portfolio Navigator program ("PN program") in the second quarter of 2010, higher disability income and long-term care insurance claims and higher reserves for universal life products with secondary guarantees compared to the prior year.
Amortization of DAC decreased $90 million, or 41%, to $127 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $217 million in the prior year. Amortization of DAC in 2010 included a benefit of $358 million from updating valuation assumptions and model changes compared to a benefit of $119 million in the prior year. DAC amortization in 2010 included a benefit of $35 million due to market impacts, including a $4 million benefit offsetting higher variable annuity guaranteed benefit expenses. DAC amortization in 2009 included a benefit of $139 million due to market impacts, including a $113 million benefit offsetting higher variable annuity guaranteed benefit expenses. An increase in DAC amortization related to higher variable annuity gross profits was partially offset by a decrease as a result of the implementation of changes to the PN program in the second quarter of 2010.
Interest and debt expense increased $163 million to $290 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $127 million in the prior year. Interest and debt expense in 2010 included $181 million of interest expense on CIE debt compared to nil in the prior year. Operating interest and debt expense excludes interest expense on CIE debt. Operating interest and debt expense decreased $18 million, or 14%, to $109 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $127 million in the prior year primarily due to an expense of $13 million in 2009 related to the early retirement of $450 million of our senior notes due 2010.
General and administrative expense increased $354 million, or 14%, to $2.9 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $2.5 billion for the prior year. Operating general and administrative expense excludes integration and restructuring charges and expenses of the CIEs. Integration and restructuring charges increased $13 million to $111 million in 2010 compared to $98 million in the prior year. Operating general and administrative expense increased $330 million, or 14%, to $2.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $2.4 billion for the prior year primarily reflecting ongoing expenses from the Columbia Management Acquisition, as well as higher performance based compensation partially offset by lower hedge fund performance compensation.
Our effective tax rate on net income including net income attributable to noncontrolling interests was 21.0% for the year ended December 31, 2010, compared to 19.9% for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase in our effective tax rate primarily reflects an increase in pretax income relative to tax advantaged items, which was partially offset by $53 million in benefits from tax planning and the completion of certain audits. Our effective tax rate on net income excluding net income attributable to noncontrolling interests was 23.4% for the year ended December 31, 2010, compared to 20.2% for the year ended December 31, 2009.
On September 25, 2007, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") issued Revenue Ruling 2007-61 in which it announced that it intends to issue regulations with respect to certain computational aspects of the Dividends Received Deduction ("DRD") related to separate account assets held in connection with variable contracts of life insurance companies. Any regulations that the IRS ultimately proposes for issuance in this area will be subject to public notice and comment, at which time insurance companies and other members of the public will have the opportunity to raise legal and practical questions about the content, scope and application of such regulations. As a result, the ultimate timing and substance of any such regulations are unknown at this time, but they may result in the elimination of some or all of the separate account DRD tax benefit that we receive.
Results of Operations by Segment
Year Ended December 31, 2010 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2009
The following table presents summary financial information by segment:
Advice & Wealth Management
Our Advice & Wealth Management segment provides financial planning and advice, as well as full service brokerage and banking services, primarily to retail clients through our financial advisors. Our affiliated financial advisors utilize a diversified selection of both affiliated and non-affiliated products to help clients meet their financial needs. A significant portion of revenues in this segment is fee-based, driven by the level of client assets, which is impacted by both market movements and net asset flows. We also earn net investment income on owned assets primarily from certificate and banking products. This segment earns revenues (distribution fees) for distributing non-affiliated products and earns intersegment revenues (distribution fees) for distributing our affiliated products and services provided to our retail clients. Intersegment expenses for this segment include expenses for investment management services provided by the Asset Management segment.
In addition to purchases of affiliated and non-affiliated mutual funds and other securities on a stand-alone basis, clients may purchase mutual funds, among other securities, in connection with investment advisory fee-based "wrap account" programs or services, and pay fees based on a percentage of their assets.
The following table presents the changes in wrap account assets:
Wrap account assets had net inflows of $8.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $9.3 billion in the prior year and market appreciation of $9.3 billion in 2010 compared to $12.8 billion in the prior year.
We provide securities execution and clearing services for our retail and institutional clients through our registered broker-dealer subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2010, we administered $104.2 billion in assets for clients, an increase of $9.1 billion compared to the prior year.
Management believes that operating measures, which exclude net realized gains or losses and integration charges for our Advice & Wealth Management segment, best reflect the underlying performance of our 2010 and 2009 core operations and facilitate a more meaningful trend analysis. See our discussion on the use of these non-GAAP measures in the Overview section above.
The following table presents the results of operations of our Advice & Wealth Management segment:
NM Not Meaningful.
Our Advice & Wealth Management segment pretax income was $301 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to a loss of $34 million in the prior year. Our Advice & Wealth Management segment pretax operating income, which excludes net realized gains or losses and integration charges, was $307 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $45 million in the prior year driven by higher asset-based fees partially offset by higher distribution expenses. Pretax margin for 2010 was 7.9% and operating pretax margin was 8.1%.
Net revenues were $3.8 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $3.2 billion in the prior year, an increase of $594 million, or 18%. Operating net revenues exclude net realized gains or losses. Operating net revenues were $3.8 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $3.2 billion in the prior year, an increase of $578 million, or 18%, driven by growth in average fee-based assets, as well as increased client activity.
Management and financial advice fees increased $313 million, or 25%, to $1.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.2 billion for the prior year driven by growth in average fee-based assets resulting from market appreciation and net inflows in wrap account assets. The daily average S&P 500 Index increased 20% compared to the
prior year. Wrap account assets increased $17.8 billion, or 19%, to $112.7 billion at December 31, 2010 compared to the prior year due to market appreciation and net inflows.
Distribution fees increased $227 million, or 13%, to $2.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.7 billion for the prior year primarily driven by growth in average fee-based assets resulting from market appreciation and net inflows in wrap account assets, as well as increased client activity.
Net investment income decreased $20 million, or 7%, to $277 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $297 million for the prior year. Operating net investment income, which excludes net realized gains or losses, decreased $36 million, or 12%, to $276 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $312 million for the prior year driven by lower invested assets resulting from net outflows in certificates, as well as lower average yields on invested assets related to certificates.
Banking and deposit interest expense decreased $66 million, or 50%, to $67 million for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $133 million for the prior year primarily due to lower certificate balances as a result of the run-off of certificate rate promotions, as well as a decrease in crediting rates on certificate products.
Total expenses increased $259 million, or 8%, to $3.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $3.3 billion for the prior year. Operating expenses, which exclude integration charges, increased $316 million, or 10%, to $3.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $3.2 billion for the prior year due to an increase in distribution expenses partially offset by a decrease in general and administrative expense.
Distribution expenses increased $355 million, or 18%, to $2.3 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $2.0 billion for the prior year primarily due to growth in average fee-based assets, as well as higher advisor compensation from business growth.
General and administrative expense decreased $96 million, or 7%, to $1.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to $1.3 billion for the prior year. Integration charges decreased $57 million to $7 million in 2010 compared to $64 million in the prior year. Operating general and administrative expense, which excludes integration charges, decreased $39 million, or 3%, to $1.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010 reflecting cost controls partially offset by higher legal expenses.
Our Asset Management segment provides investment advice and investment products to retail and institutional clients. Columbia Management Investment Advisers, LLC (formerly RiverSource Investments, LLC) predominantly provides U.S. domestic products and services and Threadneedle predominantly provides international investment products and services. U.S. domestic retail products are distributed through unaffiliated third party financial institutions, including distribution through Bank of America and its affiliates, and also through the Advice & Wealth Management segment, and institutional products and services are primarily sold through our institutional sales force. International retail products are primarily distributed through third parties. Retail products include mutual funds, variable product funds underlying