Ameriprise Financial has overhauled part of its manager selection process, handing a wider role to investment consultants Wilshire Associates and hiring Russell Investments.
Wilshire is to manage Ameriprise’s Active Diversified portfolios, discretionary wrap accounts which provide a range of investment options to match clients’ risk profiles.
Previously, Wilshire was used for some consultancy work on the portfolios but has now been appointed for full discretionary oversight, a Wilshire spokeswoman confirmed.
A spokeswoman for Ameriprise declined to comment.
The deal between the two firms was struck at the end of 2016 with Wilshire’s wider role beginning in April, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Their role only relates to the Active Diversified portfolios and Mike Jastrow, vice president of manager research at Ameriprise, and the rest of his team remain responsible for putting together the firm’s recommended manager list used by advisors.
As a firm Wilshire wears a number of hats including fund management, analytics and investment consulting. Its consulting business is largely made up of outsourced-chief investment officer responsibilities, where it primarily works with institutional clients offering advisory consulting, discretionary management and investment technology solutions.
Additionally, Russell has been appointed to oversee the Ameriprise Active Adaptive portfolios, a much smaller range of discretionary strategies made up of both mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
The move follows a trend of increased use of third party research by large wirehouses and broker-dealers.
In 2015, UBS formed a strategic partnership with Mercer Investments, to strengthen the former’s manager research offering.
Mercer provides its manager research opinions and performance analytics of mutual funds and exchange traded-fund strategies to the in-house investment manager research team at UBS.
In May last year, Merrill Lynch hired investment research firm Morningstar as part of an overhaul of its mutual fund platform.
Merrill’s own team of mutual fund analysts, led by head of due diligence Anna Snider, worked with Morningstar, in an outsourced due-diligence capacity, to assess existing funds on the platform and new ones pushing for a presence.
Ameriprise has previously outlined other changes to its business in light of the of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule, which has now been delayed until June and may yet be revised or rescinded.
In October 2016, the firm stated that it would continue to offer commission-based accounts despite the upcoming implementation of the DOL rule, then slated for April 10. The firm said that the product range offered through the service was likely to narrow.
In February, the firm responded to a possible delay of the rule stating that it would continue to move towards offering institutional share classes on funds, but that other changes in the business could take a back seat should the DOL rule be delayed or scrapped.
'There are certain things we are continuing with like the move away from 12b1 [funds] - we're going to continue down that road,' said the firm’s chief executive Jim Cracchiolo.