New York - Ameriprise Financial Inc. has promised to hire a consultant to review company laptop policies as part of an agreement with Massachusetts securities regulators. A year ago, the theft of one of Ameriprise’s computers exposed the personal data of more than 150,000 clients.

The Ameriprise outside consultant is expected to submit a written report outlining recommendations for the company. Ameriprise also will pay $25,000 to the commonwealth of Massachusetts to cover the cost of the investigation.

The settlement came after Ameriprise disclosed in January that a company laptop containing information about 158,000 clients was stolen from an employee's car. But Ameriprise is not alone as many other large corporations have admitted similar thefts of laptops loaded with sensitive customer and employee data that had not been encrypted.

"The amount of personal data that was on this [Ameriprise] employee's laptop computer is shocking," the Massachusetts secretary of state said in a statement. "Most of the information should not have been there."

Galvin said the stolen computer contained customer names, account numbers, account values and personal information about past and current Ameriprise advisers, including their Social Security numbers.

"We have been working closely with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are pleased to resolve this matter," Ameriprise said in a statement.

Ameriprise reported the laptop theft to the state. The company said the theft occurred when a thief broke into an employee's vehicle.

At the time, Ameriprise downplayed the theft. A company spokesman then told Reuters the information on clients was limited.

Source: Reuters

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