The merger with UBS Warburg has left some PaineWebber reps in limbo, wondering about the direction of the firm and their future with it.
"It'll be interesting to see how the merger plays out," says one rep. "UBS will leave the firm's current management team in place, I believe. I hope they don't tinker with that."
Adds another: "PaineWebber's private client group was on track to do some great things before the UBS merger. We'll see what happens now."
In the meantime, reps are glad to have two things in particular from UBS - more research capability and syndicate. In fact, respondents scored PaineWebber lower on research this year compared with 1999. One broker complains that research used to be much better in years past, so now many reps are looking to UBS for quick improvements.
Brokers would also like some changes in the numbers of sales assistants. "There should be one sales assistant for every two brokers, but the firm doesn't want to pay for that," says a producer. "So we end up doing more clerical work. And we can't buy our own sales assistants. The firm won't let us do that."
PaineWebber brokers do enjoy their autonomy, however. "The freedom is great here," one respondent says. "No one tells you that you have to sell PaineWebber stocks. No one says you can't buy something. ... As long as you're doing business clean and ethically, no one bothers you."
"For now the European management will let things go as they have been going. Four or five years down the road, who knows?"
"The best thing about PaineWebber is the freedom and the entrepreneurial aspect that I haven't seen at other firms."
"The firm has always followed through, maybe not as fast as we'd like, but they try."
"We absolutely cater to the individual investor with no pressure in terms of investment banking."