I have some long-held accounts at Ameriprise (currently branded as Columbia mutual funds). I just received a letter dated Nov-1 which starts thus:

As a client of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., you're already part of something special -- a collaborative relationship focused on planning for what matters most to you. To continue to serve you well, we're enhancing our online services and investment capabilities. To that end, we plan to move your Columbia mutual funds to an Ameriprise brokerage account on or around Dec. 2, 2016...

In February 2017 your new account will have the full capabilities of a brokerage account and will also be subject to our standard brokerage fees...

More info on the Ameriprise website: https://www.ameriprise.com/transition/

I have not made new investments in these accounts in many years; in fact, I have slowly been moving funds to Vanguard accounts. What are the pros & cons for me personally of having these funds in a brokerage account? And: any idea what prompted this change?

  • Check your mail (normal and electronic) for previous attempts at communication from Ameriprise. Changing the mutual fund is not made without previous warning. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


your new account will [...] be subject to our standard brokerage fees

I don't know their fee schedule, but this doesn't necessarily mean you'll start getting charged with new fees. It might. You'll have to either look up or request the fee schedule.

Most brokerages don't charge their own fees for trading mutual funds. The funds themselves may or may not have transaction fees, but this wouldn't change, based on the type of account they're held in.

Some brokerages might charge regular maintenance fees, typically quarterly. This is what I would look for.


If they are just moving how they are tracking your account, this has no real effect on you except that it makes it easier to market additional services to you. You aren't required to take them.

If they tell you that one or more of the funds is being replaced by another fund, or is changing which index it is tracking, that would be something to monitor closely, as it could force you to take a bunch of gains or losses in that year as they sell and re-buy shares to accomplish this. But generally that kind of action can't happen without a vote by the shareholders, so you should have plenty of warning if that ever becomes an issue.


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