Business Cards

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Jul 7, 2007 2:54 am

Yes, a "serious" topic for the weekend. We might think a focus on the card a bit shallow (great scene in American Psycho) but I think clients might be a bit turned off by something that looks like it was printed off at a Kinkos for $5. Over the last year I've gotten or at least seen a lot of cards from either recruiters or former coworkers. Here's my informal ranking of visual appearance:



1) Wells Fargo Securities. Top notch card, really surprising from a bank. Gotta see this one.



2) Waddell & Reed, Fairly spiff raised image, projects more white shoe image than actuality of regional middle class firm.



3) Morgan Stanley. Simple but elegant design. Seems to say "we don't need to try too hard."



4) Merrill Lynch. To the point. Very discrete logo that doesn't go overboard.



5) Ameriprise. Yeah, we know the firm is BS although a decent looking card. I do, however, think many of the people affiliated with the firm should cut out the alphabet soup when they need a SECOND line on the card to fit them all. I saw one that listed about 5 of the american college designations. Shows trying to cover up something...



6) Smith Barney, looks just like a Citi card, which is indicative of why the firm should try for a more pronouced brand segmentation. This is a serious firm that more and more affiliates its branding with the corporate mother, for the worsening of the image.



7) Bank of America, really "sterile" and generic appearance. Not impresive at all.



8) TD Ameritrade, projects "discount" image.



9) Scottrade, ditto with above but worse.





These are at least the ones I've seen. Definitely a silly weekend topic but when you think about it, if you have to save money, is this the place to do it? How much more can a really nice card cost to produce than one that isn't? I'd say pay the small amount and save on something the client doesn't see.

Jul 7, 2007 1:01 pm
xbanker:

I'd say pay the small amount and save on something the client doesn't see.



Thats why I quit wearing underwear, on the plus side I'm really starting to like the commando feel.

Jul 9, 2007 12:25 am
Maxstud:
xbanker:

I'd say pay the small amount and save on something the client doesn't see.



Thats why I quit wearing underwear, on the plus side I'm really starting to like the commando feel.



That's just too much information.

On a serious note, it pays to spend the money to have a nice business card.  That is often part of the first impression you make on people.  And, nice(but not gaudy) ones don't really cost that much.

Sep 13, 2007 5:34 pm

OK off topic but I wanted to share.  Someone had told me they are going trick or treating this year as a edward jones door knocker...lmao




sorry not trying to make fun but i had to laugh

Sep 13, 2007 5:50 pm

Once again Ameriprise is ridiculed for retaining (as local owners) some of the brightest planners in the industry.


I prefer using an 8x4 picture biography with a picture me smiling out over a golf shirt.  So much for the bull.  

Sep 13, 2007 8:26 pm
xbanker:

Over the last year I've gotten or at least seen a lot of
cards from either recruiters or former coworkers. Here's my informal
ranking of visual appearance:





I find cheap business cards to be a major problem in this industry. I have mine done at Crane's



I am thinking about doing something like



http://www.metalcards.com/



But not sure if it would give the right impression.


Sep 13, 2007 9:22 pm

Allreit, you are one heck of a researcher and if you use the metal cards, one tough moniker.

Sep 13, 2007 11:12 pm

Those are pretty spiff, and practical too. I haven't seen them before but would get some if designing my own.

Sep 14, 2007 10:04 am

xbanker, you sound a little jealous about the designations on the amp card. 

Sep 14, 2007 10:51 am
doc c:

Once again Ameriprise is ridiculed for retaining (as local owners) some of the brightest planners in the industry.



Come on, you don't really think that's what behind the ridiculing of Ameriprise, do you?



Say, since you brought it up, thanks for verifying what dog in the fight is yours. Certainly no harm in defending your business model. OTOH, you've talked a few times about LPL being your "first choice". If you have an Ameriprise franchise, what "choice" could you be talking about?

Sep 14, 2007 10:54 am

Big T., I'm looking forward to hearing the home office decision about allowing official GHIN golf handicap scores to be included on the business card. That'll let prospects know that we're well-rounded, brilliant geeks.

Sep 14, 2007 11:02 am
mikebutler222:
doc c:

Once again Ameriprise is ridiculed for retaining (as local owners) some of the brightest planners in the industry.


Be cool, Mike. It was a joke. I hate having to use those smiley emoticons.


Come on, you don't really think that's what behind the ridiculing of Ameriprise, do you?


I only know your passion, not your reasons. You seems to be a guy who likes to take shots from the woods and run, I never said I was marching in line with the Red Coats.



Say, since you brought it up, thanks for verifying what dog in the fight is yours. Certainly no harm in defending your business model. OTOH, you've talked a few times about LPL being your "first choice". If you have an Ameriprise franchise, what "choice" could you be talking about?



No problem. Do you have equity in your business, and have you been in business very long? Having a plan B is always prudent. My affiliated broker dealer will need to continuously improve and earn my respect, trust and revenue, just like I earn these from my clients. I heard LPL is hiring a lot of ex Ameriprise executives. I wonder if some of those executives were replaced by younger, brighter and leaner execs at AMP?

Sep 14, 2007 11:20 am
doc c:
mikebutler222:
doc c:

Once again Ameriprise is ridiculed for retaining (as local owners) some of the brightest planners in the industry.


Be cool, Mike. It was a joke. I hate having to use those smiley emoticons.


Come on, you don't really think that's what behind the ridiculing of Ameriprise, do you?


I only know your passion, not your reasons. You seems to be a guy who likes to take shots from the woods and run, I never said I was marching in line with the Red Coats.



Say, since you brought it up, thanks for verifying what dog in the fight is yours. Certainly no harm in defending your business model. OTOH, you've talked a few times about LPL being your "first choice". If you have an Ameriprise franchise, what "choice" could you be talking about?



No problem. Do you have equity in your business, and have you been in business very long? Having a plan B is always prudent. My affiliated broker dealer will need to continuously improve and earn my respect, trust and revenue, just like I earn these from my clients. I heard LPL is hiring a lot of ex Ameriprise executives. I wonder if some of those executives were replaced by younger, brighter and leaner execs at AMP?



What I'm curious about is the fact that the Ameriprise franchise business model makes it unlike most Indy reps that would be able to change b/d without changing everything else about their business.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


If you're an Indy going from using one b/d to another isn't much more than a back office operation. If you're at ML going to MS requires paperwork and persuading clients to going you. If you have an Ameriprise franchise, isn't that like going from owning a McDonalds franchise to owning a Burger King franchise? (and no, I didn't chose the burger analogy as an insult, only because they're a franchise business model.)


Sep 14, 2007 11:29 am

Good question. Well, if you are a smart franchise builder and owner, you keep your options open.


In my case, I concentrate on asset management using non proprietary products.


Moving the stuff to Burger King (let's say, the Morgan Stanley guy who is begging me to move over and wants to pay a huge, albeit complicated and contingent spiff), involves submitting the ACATS for the wrap accounts after the license is moved.


With a good transition team at the new broker dealer, I would think most of the transition time would be spent on managing client relationships.


How much do you know about the AMP franchise model, which is where about 100% of AMP's profits come from, as opposed to AMPs training program, which is akin to social work in terms of training new people in this industry and helping the masses?


Personally, I feed and water plenty of millionaires in the stable, but I still like helping the average guy, something I learned as a trainee.

Sep 14, 2007 12:20 pm

I guess I'd have to look at why a person would want to change their B/D?


Poor payout?


Is the back office dropping the ball all the time?


Is the investment platform too limited?


What do they do to help the advisor with marketing and ease of business?


Have they done a good job with branding and establishing a niche?


What's their technology platforms like?


Are they treating the advisor as the client? 



What is it that makes a person want to change their B/D?  Based on experience speaking with other advisors and reading threads like this one, I'm content with my B/D.


The most important thing is equity.  If you don't own your book, then you're an employee with variable pay.  If you own your book, and can sell it someday, then, just like your home, you'll most likely keep it up, looking attractive, and it will be worth more and more as time goes on.

Sep 14, 2007 12:56 pm
doc c:

Good question. Well, if you are a smart franchise builder and owner, you keep your options open.



My point, or rather my question, was don't you have to walk away from your equity in the franchise, whatever costs you sunk into get it, in order to change b/d? Since that's the case, doesn't that place AMP in a different category than Indies who can change b/d without their clients giving it much of a notice, since the signs out from, etc., don't change?

Sep 14, 2007 1:06 pm

Big Taco:

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I guess I'd have to look at why a person would want to change their B/D?


Poor payout?


Is the back office dropping the ball all the time?


Is the investment platform too limited?


What do they do to help the advisor with marketing and ease of business?


Have they done a good job with branding and establishing a niche?


What's their technology platforms like?


Are they treating the advisor as the client? 


All good reasons to consider changing b/d. OTOH leaving AMP with its franchise model isn't quite the same as being a self labeled Indy who can change b/d with little more effort than buying a new laptop or changing assistants.


Big Taco:

The most important thing is equity.  If you don't own your book, then you're an employee with variable pay.  If you own your book, and can sell it someday, then, just like your home, you'll most likely keep it up, looking attractive, and it will be worth more and more as time goes on.



Yeah, we've heard the pitch before, and it's not completely devoid of reality. OTOH, wirehouse guys own their book to the extent they can move it (granted, while fighting with reps from the losing firm) with large financial incentives to do so and sell it (again, with restrictions). I often hear about Indies selling books, I’ve even looked to buy one as an addition,  but you check the websites of buyers and sellers, and you see little, if any action.


I have, OTOH, seen wirehouse people sell their books to others in the same firm, engineer partnerships with varying splits to allow one partner to ease into retirement, etc. I’ve yet to see a wirehouse guy doing good, clean business being told “Bob, you’re now retired, thanks for your efforts, Jim here will be taking your book. Here’s your watch, don’t let the door hit you as you leave.


 There are pros and cons to the two business models, and this month’s RR does a great job in explaining why so many successful reps are happy to stay at wirehouses. That wasn’t the point of my post, however. The point there was to ask about the unique issues that come up with a franchise business model.



Sep 14, 2007 1:08 pm

I see, Mike.


There is no non compete. I rent my own office space, in fact, there is no big Ameriprise sign, a little placard says, " Doc Cochran, CFP, Ameriprise Financial ".


If I change, do the ACATS, have the landlord change the placard, and scrape off the little Ameriprise compass logo off the window.


AMP, or any b/d, needs this kind of pressure from the owners to be successful. Frankly, they are luck I stayed, given some of the whitewater we have experienced. Now, I am lucky I stayed.

Sep 14, 2007 1:12 pm

There are pros and cons to the two business models, and this month’s RR does a great job in explaining why so many successful reps are happy to stay at wirehouses. That wasn’t the point of my post, however. The point there was to ask about the unique issues that come up with a franchise business model.


I have total respect for wirehouse and franchisee.


But if guys like Allreit make a moral issue out of the difference between RIA and broker dealer affiliation, them's fightin' words.


Because morality always resides with the individual planner, and not the firm.


I totally respect Allreit, and wish him the best over there on his thread :).


Not to change the subject, I am just showing a few cards.


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Sep 14, 2007 1:55 pm
doc c:

I see, Mike.


There is no non compete. I rent my own office space, in fact, there is no big Ameriprise sign, a little placard says, " Doc Cochran, CFP, Ameriprise Financial ".


If I change, do the ACATS, have the landlord change the placard, and scrape off the little Ameriprise compass logo off the window.



Did the franchise come with a cost?