I am sure most Ameriprise advisors are professional, knowledgeable and conscientious. I am also sure Ameriprise has at least their share of individuals who run their practices for their own benefit without regard for the long-term well-being of their clients.
But one has to wonder why this Minneapolis-based financial planning firm makes their way into the news fairly regularly and usually for the wrong reasons.
Is it a top-level management issue? A cultural issue?
Or is it a shark in the water smelling blood?
For nearly a decade, Jon E. Drucker has been a thorn in the side of Ameriprise Financial Inc.
The 53-year-old lawyer, who works out of a garage, converted into an office, at his home in Los Angeles, has made a decent living representing advisers and individual investors in lawsuits against Ameriprise, formerly known as American Express Financial Advisors Inc.
What's more, Mr. Drucker, who recently negotiated a $100 million settlement with Ameriprise, firmly believes that his biggest case against the Minneapolis-based firm is yet to come.
In all, Mr. Drucker has represented 10 named plaintiffs in five class actions against American Express and Ameriprise. All five of the suits were settled out of court.
Predictably, Ameriprise takes a dimmer view of Mr. Drucker.
"A lawyer making a career filing frivolous class-action lawsuits doesn't merit a comment from us," said Ben Pratt, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based company.
In his no-holds-barred style, Mr. Drucker recounts how he once tried, unsuccessfully, to get then-New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer to look into American Ex-press' dealings. Last Monday, amid revelations of his involvement with a prostitution ring, Mr. Spitzer stepped down as the state's governor.
"If he'd paid more attention to what American Express was doing to its clients and not doing the same thing with the hooker, he might still be governor of New York," he said.