Ameriprise and Buffet: The Oracle of Omaha is a hypocrite.

On page 16 of his latest Chairman's Letter (PDF warning), Warren Buffet gives a longwinded lecture about "frictional costs" - or basically an attack on the financial services industry.

"Today, in fact, the family’s frictional costs of all sorts may well amount to 20% of
the earnings of American business. In other words, the burden of paying Helpers may cause American equity investors, overall, to earn only 80% or so of what they would earn if they just sat still and listened to no one. "

The irony here is that Warren Buffet himself partially owns and supports one of the most vile Helpers, Ameriprise. This company agressively recruits kids straight out of college, has them call everyone they know ("Hello, Grandma?") and has them sell horribly overpriced financial planning services and products that don't make much sense. Don't believe me? Try reading one of the Ameriprise Sucks forums, such as Amerisux or Ameriprise Sucks. From my understanding, they charge anywhere from $1,000 and up for a financial plan that many other financial advisors provide for free. And worse yet, this isn't a masterful plan - it's basically a "universal plan" which has been mildly customized by an inexperienced kid fresh out of college.

Recently, Ameriprise bought back $275 Million in stock from Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. However, Berkshire Hathaway still owns 9.8% of the outstanding shares.

I think it's interesting that Warren Buffet would advocate not using one of his own services. What's next? "Don't shave with Gilette, those razors will kill you!" or "Drinking Coca Cola will rot your teeth and make you fat!"