Last year, EVEREN Securities announced that payouts would be reduced to fund various new technology initiatives. The move irked many producers who pointed out that the firms top executives were enjoying large bonuses.
Now the question is, where is the new technology?
We hear that the firm is moving toward the rollout of new workstations, but its almost impossible to find out any kind of schedule, says one Southwest-based broker at the firm.
Although some new IXT workstations have, in fact, made their way to a few individual EVEREN offices (although they havent necessarily been installed) most reps are hearing that they shouldnt expect any new technology to come their way until at least the end of the year.
The reason? According to Michael Viviano, president of EVEREN Clearing Corp., the firms first priority is to get new workstations into the hands of the former Principal Financial Group brokers.
We decided that it was necessary to bring the Principal producers into the EVEREN fold as quickly as possible, said Viviano. Otherwise, we wouldnt be fully reaping the benefits of the acquisition.
Although most EVEREN brokers seem to accept that logic, some wonder if there isnt something more to the laggard rollout. Perhaps that the firm is actively looking for an acquirer of its own and doesnt want to invest a lot of money in technology right now?
If you look at the history of change at this firm and the trends toward takeovers in the industry, we look an awful lot like an attractive acquisition target, says one long-time EVEREN rep in Chicago.
Although EVEREN officials wouldnt comment on either the payout reductions or merger speculation, they deny that the firm is purposely holding back on technology.
There are so many technology demands on all firms today that it is difficult to prioritize, but everything will get done, Viviano says.