Ameriprise Financial Services – The Best Personal Financial Adviser

In today’s growing consumer market, where one has plethora of options to choose from for almost all goods and services, many companies have managed to maintain their goodwill and win the rat race with a simple rule – consumer is the king!

Some companies have carved their niche with prompt and accurate customer services and support system. A leading name among financial advisory services today is – Ameriprise Financial Services or the AFS.

Ameriprise Financial Services initiated as a small company from a local office, and have managed to expand a fortune. They are best known for their online financial advisory services and personal consultation.

Their strategy for the same is to use a handy advisor locator. The best part of using this locator is that you do not need to give any personal details. On the company’s web portal simply key in your zip code. The locator would automatically supply a list of Ameriprise Financial Services Advisors with in your vicinity. Be rest assured that you won’t be contacted unless & until you yourself opt to call an agent.

Besides the regular functions of the web portals, Ameriprise Financial Services’ website offers enormous wealth of information on all aspects regarding financial planning. An individual’s financial planning primarily depends on their budget and the financial requirements. However, at the end financial planning remains one’s personal decision. Yet, all of us need to have a clear understanding of our goals from the same.

The personal advisors at Ameriprise Financial Services understand these basics and hence their website details the very core information like:

i. The fundamentals of investment
ii. Tips for paperwork
iii. Information that we must put forward before the advisor to make the best of his services. This way he or she would give you the best possible recommendations for your personalized financial planning needs.

How the Ameriprise Financial Services’ Advisor works?

Ameriprise Financial Services’ personal financial planner initially offers a free consultation session. Here, he or she would help you identify your financial goals. He or she would present before you the realistic & concrete picture of your current scenario and your actual needs. That is your financial stand today and what it requires to meet what you want.

In the following sessions, the advisors would help you synchronize the goals, that is prioritizing the needs & wants. He or she would then prepare the information you need. Next, He or she would present this information in a way that it clarifies all your doubts. Hence the advisor would help you understand the best possible ways to achieve your financial goals.

Ameriprise Financial Services advisors are always there for you in order to answer your questions. Yet, they are just advisors and they would leave the final decisions for the client or customer.

Finally a written plan would be developed. As per your requisites and goals it would also be modified until completion.

That is not all. You advisor would also help you implement the plan with regular meetings. Ensuring that the customer stays on the track to achieve their financial objectives and goals, they would guide you through the required changes as well.

 

Global Trends For the Financial Service Industry

As the economic crisis continues to unfold, the financial service industry faces serious challenges. The crisis is rooted in continuous imbalances, including long periods of low interest rates, rapidly rising asset prices, and massive credit and savings imbalances. The 2007 and 2008 Reports from the World Economic Forum predicted these changes as continuous risk to the market.

Earlier decades of exceptional growth and capitalism at its best have now caused the market to adapt to tighter credit, growing government intervention, slowing pace of globalization, and no economic growth. With increasing regulations in the United States and decreasing availability of credit, the industry faces a significant risk of stunted growth. The global recession is also affecting the financial sector because of capital markets and decreased aggregate demand, according to Max von Bismarck, Director and Head of Investor Industries.

This article will provide leaders, employees and investors in the financial service industry with five unique and timely trends to keep in the forefront of their growth strategies for the next five years. These five key trends will shape the post financial crisis in a holistic and systematic manner.

FIVE KEY TRENDS

GLOBAL BANKING. According to the World Bank, although many banks such as American Express, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase conduct business in multiple countries, they are relatively regional in the United States. In order to grow, the financial industry will have to infiltrate emerging markets. For companies that have a more aggressive growth strategy, the spread to emerging markets such as Africa and Asia presents unparalleled opportunities for profit and increased market share.

IT PLATFORM SHARING. Network World confirms that financial service firms’ business strategies must be altered for the new dynamics and intricacies of today’s market. Immediate access to information and integration along product lines and geography are a must for future success. With the need to supply information to a global market, firms must decrease cost. One cost effective initiative is the use of platform sharing; like cell phone companies that collaborate with local companies in order to decrease cost and increase access, financial firms can do the same.

E-BANKING. A special report from The Economist sees that with 3.5 billion people with cell phones and an expected 10-20% year over year growth, personal and business banking transactions are conducted through cell phones more and more. Thus, E-banking capability is quickly becoming an increasing requirement in order to compete in the marketplace. E-banking capabilities provide companies with essential flexibility and differentiation in the market through Internet-based service applications.

MOBILE MONEY. The increase of mobile phone usage in emerging markets makes mobile money a safe, low cost initiative for the financial sector. It is an easier way to transfer money to family and friends, money is sent, and payments and withdrawals can be made without ever going to a physical bank or payment center. M-Pesa, an early developer of mobile money, concluded that mobile money “has enormous social and economic benefits.”

SELF-SERVICE. Self-service and the customer should be a primary focus for firms in this new financial service world, according to IBM. AppViewXS is a self-service portal firms can purchase, so customers can check the status of their account and gain instant access to available services. Customer questions and concerns are addressed more quickly, states an IBM representative. This technology automates many processes; the result is that staff workload is reduced while representatives operate faster and more efficiently.

Financial service firms need to have sustainable, steady expansion in the emerging markets in order to grow in the future. Deloitte and Touche Research reports that financial service firms have not positioned themselves to capitalize on more geographically dispersed opportunities. More than 93 percent of the executives interviewed for this report acknowledged that their firms “are not operating in a globally integrated fashion.”

The same report states that financial firms need to invest away from veteran or mature markets and toward emerging markets because “by 2025, veteran markets will be rivaled by other markets with faster growing economies and increasingly sophisticated financial product appetites.” USA based firms can look toward Japanese and African markets for expansion opportunities. Kennedy Consulting analysts believe that the market will rebound from the global financial crisis in 2011, but there will not be any return to the robust levels prior to 2007 until much later in the decade; hopefully, the five key trends in this report will help the leaders, employees and investors in the financial service industry to look toward a robust sound future.

In addition to growth strategies, in the 2002 Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Henson and Wilson discuss the extreme changes that have occurred in the financial service industry and how many firms are trying to develop and execute successful strategies based on innovative technology and customers. Aside from the regular ups and downs of the financial world, technology and innovation will always prevail as the win-win for the financial service industry. Because online banking has become the norm for most customers, technology will be very important in these firms’ strategies.

With the customer at the center of most trends in financial service firms, creating new values for their current and potential clients beyond current expectations will be a top priority. The need for convenience mixed with technology makes mobile money a great initiative in the emerging as well as the developed markets. Many firms have speed pay, the ability to pay without swiping the card, as part of their credit card services. An embedded chip in the credit card enables payments to be made by putting the card close to the payment processor. Mobile money will be an expansion of payment and money transfers without the need for a card, the need to go to a physical bank, or to use Internet banking. Payments, transfers, deposits and withdrawals can be made with a cell phone.

The World Bank concurs that innovative technology and an increase in e-business strategies will lead to much lower costs and greater competition in financial services. Internet and related technologies, the World Bank affirms, are more than just new delivery channels; they are an inexpensive, different, and very effective way to provide the same services. Since financial service firms must grow organically, build customer loyalty, and accommodate the customers’ expanding needs for services and convenience, partnerships with new technology businesses will allow them to lower their expenses and be competitive.

Established firms such as Amex, Citibank, and others can partner with groups such as the wired tech savvy Google Alumni who are not averse to risk and who own fledgling technology businesses that are reshaping the industry with a new wave of innovative products, write Spencer Ante and Kimberly Weisul of Business Week. Mobile Money Ventures is one such fledgling company that is a provider on the forefront of alternative financial service products. Small companies such as these are able to provide well-known financial firms the wherewithal to open in emerging markets where there is a need for cooperation with other firms in order to attain then obtain the local customer base.

 

Has Health and Safety Really Gone Mad? No, it Hasn’t!

Health and Safety legislation has saved thousands of lives. Yet for some, it’s become synonymous with today’s compensation culture.

We’re all familiar with what seems to be a modern-day mantra of injury: No win no fee! Do you know someone, who knows someone, who once lived with someone who had an accident at work? You could be in for a payout!

Agreed, this is an exaggeration. But seemingly, with each advert break, we are bombarded by adverts almost willing us to have an accident at work, so that we can be rewarded with a windfall.

Health and safety has become big-money business. ‘Health and Safety has gone mad’ is a phrase banded about so freely that it has almost become accepted as truth, and there are countless comical classic examples to support this premise. In August 2009, the Daily Telegraph reported that the Trade Union Congress was due to propose a motion the following month that ‘High heels should be banned from the workplace’. The motion demanded that a one-inch-maximum rule be slapped on employees’ footwear.

Tabled by the all-things-foot-related Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, the motion claimed that high heels worn in the workplace could cause all number of terrible foot and leg problems, and should therefore be banished.

Interestingly, the Union mostly comprises gentlemen.

In a similar vein, a certain grey-topped tabloid couldn’t wait to report that, in the name of Health and Safety, Midlothian Council were leaving the lights switched on in a derelict school building so that if intruders were to enter, they would be less likely to do themselves a mischief because they couldn’t see where they were going.

Health and Safety continues to suffer bad press. And so, with such sensationalised, distorted and non-representational reporting, it can often seem that the purpose of Health and Safety legislation is to apportion blame and metaphorically trip up the ignorant, rather than to protect.

This is not so. For all the jovial quips about Health and Safety gone mad, there remains the very real fact that there is still a lot of room for improvement. The Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced in 1974, at a time when an average of 651 people a year suffered a work-related death. In the year 2007 – 2008, this figure sat at 228. The lowest figure for deaths since the Act was passed was between 2005 – 2006, a year when there were 217 deaths. The figure seems to have reached a plateau since.

Health and Safety can be a minefield for an employer, whether they employ five people or five hundred, in any sector, from conveyancing to construction. But Health and Safety legislation really isn’t put in place to appoint blame, and the Government actively promotes guidelines which, if followed properly, will actually benefit business. Guidelines from the Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) aim to reduce the amount of time and money lost through absences and sick leave; boost company productivity and profits; increase staff retention as well as reducing insurance premiums and legal costs.

A useful step-by-step guide of what an employer must do can be found on the HSE website which lists everything from the ratio of toilet cubicles to employees necessary, to the importance of Employer’s Liability Compulsory Insurance.

The further understanding and training achieved in the Health and Safety area, the more lives that will be saved. Oh, but be warned, you probably won’t read about this in the tabloids, because it wouldn’t make a very juicy story.