It was an inauspicious debut Monday for Ameriprise ( AMP), the newest publicly traded asset-management firm. Shares of American Express' ( AXP) former financial planning division were down more than 2% after the completion of a spinoff from the charge-card giant. In midday trading, the stock was selling for $35. That's down 30 cents from its official Monday morning opening and down 80 cents from its close Friday, when Ameriprise traded on the New York Stock Exchange on a provisional, when-issued basis. At least two Wall Street analysts began coverage of Ameriprise with hold recommendations, a move that provided little support for the newly-minted shares despite the stock's immediate inclusion in the S&P 500 index. In February, American Express said it would spin off its financial advisory division, which posted revenue of $7 billion and earnings of $700 million in 2004. AmEx said it wanted to streamline its operation to focus more on its higher-margin charge-card and travel business. On Friday, AmEx distributed 246 million shares of the new company to its shareholders. In the arrangement, AmEx shareholders received one share of Ameriprise for every five AmEx shares they own. As a stand-alone entity, Ameriprise, with 2.7 million clients, 10,000 financial advisers and $410 billion in assets, ranks as one of the biggest independent asset-management firms. For instance, BlackRock ( BLK), another large publicly traded asset management firm, has $414 billion in assets. In advance of the spinoff, Ameriprise spent heavily on print and television ads, pitching itself as financial advisory firm for aging baby boomers. The company's slogan is: "Life is full of surprises and opportunities. We can help you prepare for what's next." Over the years, Ameriprise was responsible for some nasty surprises at AmEx. This summer, the NASD fined the financial firm $13 million to settle allegations it sold improper mutual fund shares to some of its customers. In February 2002, the financial planning arm agreed to pay $31 million to settle a gender- and age-discrimination suit brought by female employees who said they were denied promotions and equal pay at the company. The division was also responsible for a bad bet in junk bonds in 2001 that resulted in about a billion dollars worth of writedowns for the parent over a 12-month period.