Ameriprise? Is it really that bad?

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Mar 14, 2006 9:11 am

I read these posts about people bashing ameriprise and I am thinking to myself what the hell did american express do to get this god awful image in the finance industry??

Mar 14, 2006 9:24 am

The answer is they hire almost anybody who is willling to take a chance on themselves, and a lot of who they hire are actually little more than whining bitchoids.


There's not much wrong with Ameriprise except the limited product line and the fact that the little boys and girls are treated as though they were recruits in a boot camp.


None of those who complain day in and day out have a clue to the truth revealed in the statement, "Respect is earned not given."

Mar 14, 2006 10:58 pm

www.amexsux.com

Mar 15, 2006 6:54 am

One of the biggest problems American Express has had is the zeal with which they sell the opportunity to losers who wander into their road shows.


Years ago the quite literally hired anybody who was willing to take a chance on themselves.  That is a recruiting philosophy with some merit, after all at its core sales is really little more than an exercise in self motivation.


The wirehouses give batteries of tests and lots of interviews trying to sort through a bunch of applicants for a single job.  American Express hired them all, trained them in the disciplines of getting up early, putting on clothes that are appropriate, showing up, and prospecting their asses off.


Most do not make it, but one out of a hundred do.  Just like in the wirehouses. The difference is most of the 99 who didn't make it were never given a desk and a phone in the first place.  At American Express they were.


Put yourself in their shoes.  You are actually not much of a speciman, but you've been given a chance.


Since you're really not what is necessary you're going to fail.  But you begin to rot before you fall off the tree and while you're still hanging around you start to bitch and moan about what a horrible place it it.  You grasp at things like a narrow product line, overbearing managers, no "respect" (whatever that means) and so forth.


The reality is you don't need to have selling agreements with every fund that's out there, you need a handful of them. Most clients cannot tell the difference and today's darling is very likely to be tomorrows dog anyway.


It is human nature to blame anything, and everything, except the iimage in the mirror.  So, when Lonnie Loser finally begins to realize that he's failing at his career choice he begins to grasp at everything he can find to blame.  Except himself.


That somebody started the amerisux website is not unexpected, but it was not started by a guy who would have been able to make it anywhere else.


Drop a big hitter at any firm into an Ameriprise office and he or she will excel there just like they're excelling where they are.  Your broker dealer is important, but not as important as you are.


Conversely, a broker who fails at Ameriprise would have failed anywhere else.


The difference is that around an American Express office (especially several years ago) there were always a lot of young people in various stages of failing and they spent countless hours bitching to each other about how the company was the problem.


It wasn't then and it isn't now.  It's a fine place to start a career, it's a fine place to spend a career, it's a fine place to end a career.


As anybody who makes it anywhere knows, at the end of the day it's up to you.

Mar 15, 2006 8:56 am

It is the worst because you CAN NEVER LEAVE.


Go anywhere else.

Mar 15, 2006 9:09 am
maybeeeeeeee:

It is the worst because you CAN NEVER LEAVE.


Go anywhere else.



Where in the world did you get that idea?

Mar 15, 2006 9:26 am

It's getting easier.  AMP is spending much less effort on pursuing departing reps.  Additionally, many firms are starting to do buyouts of the prop VAs in order to bring more clients over.


The fact of the matter is, though, that the prop products have (generally) been middle of the road, to 3rd or 4th quintile performing products and they're getting pushed like there is no tomorrow.  Additionally, what if a client doesn't want a financial plan?  Is it right to penalize that rep for not pushing a $750 plan for someone that doesn't want it, simply to remain at a higher payout based on the scorecard?


And, BEF, you are right to an extent that you don't need every product on the street.  However, how can one justify that the 5 VAs we work with that are not as competitive as the 500 that the ML office across the street works with fo your $1M account, Mr. Client?  I do think it comes back to the rep, in many instances, but you can't go to war with a 9mm pistol and expect to win against a tank every time.  There needs to be a re-vamping of the product line.  They're taking a good step by improving the technology and bringing it into the 21st century, but they also need to take a look at opening up the prop products and expanding a little outside of their comfort level, in addition to becoming more progressive, forward thinking and innovative. 

Mar 15, 2006 10:28 am
Big Easy Flood:

One of the biggest problems American Express has had is the zeal with which they sell the opportunity to losers who wander into their road shows.


Years ago the quite literally hired anybody who was willing to take a chance on themselves.  That is a recruiting philosophy with some merit, after all at its core sales is really little more than an exercise in self motivation.


The wirehouses give batteries of tests and lots of interviews trying to sort through a bunch of applicants for a single job.  American Express hired them all, trained them in the disciplines of getting up early, putting on clothes that are appropriate, showing up, and prospecting their asses off.


Most do not make it, but one out of a hundred do.  Just like in the wirehouses. The difference is most of the 99 who didn't make it were never given a desk and a phone in the first place.  At American Express they were.


Put yourself in their shoes.  You are actually not much of a speciman, but you've been given a chance.


Since you're really not what is necessary you're going to fail.  But you begin to rot before you fall off the tree and while you're still hanging around you start to bitch and moan about what a horrible place it it.  You grasp at things like a narrow product line, overbearing managers, no "respect" (whatever that means) and so forth.


The reality is you don't need to have selling agreements with every fund that's out there, you need a handful of them. Most clients cannot tell the difference and today's darling is very likely to be tomorrows dog anyway.


It is human nature to blame anything, and everything, except the iimage in the mirror.  So, when Lonnie Loser finally begins to realize that he's failing at his career choice he begins to grasp at everything he can find to blame.  Except himself.


That somebody started the amerisux website is not unexpected, but it was not started by a guy who would have been able to make it anywhere else.


Drop a big hitter at any firm into an Ameriprise office and he or she will excel there just like they're excelling where they are.  Your broker dealer is important, but not as important as you are.


Conversely, a broker who fails at Ameriprise would have failed anywhere else.


The difference is that around an American Express office (especially several years ago) there were always a lot of young people in various stages of failing and they spent countless hours bitching to each other about how the company was the problem.


It wasn't then and it isn't now.  It's a fine place to start a career, it's a fine place to spend a career, it's a fine place to end a career.


As anybody who makes it anywhere knows, at the end of the day it's up to you.



You are quite accurate in your description of their hiring practices.  I used to be in a building that was also a major branch for Ameriprise.  It was like a friggin' revolving door.  I'd occasionally end up chatting with some of these folks in the elevator or when I took a break.  Very poor training, limited experience if any at sales or financial business, and unreasonable expectations.  Frankly the only folks who seemed to be making money were the branch manager and sales manager and VERY FEW advisors who were 'team leaders' or some silly term like that.  For the rest it was a revolving door.  Like the rookies at the wirehouse but far worse.


You'd be surprised, by the way, at some of the losers who get through the hiring process at the wires, too, from what I've observed over the years.

Mar 15, 2006 11:57 am
joedabrkr:

You are quite accurate in your description of their hiring practices.  I used to be in a building that was also a major branch for Ameriprise.  It was like a friggin' revolving door.  I'd occasionally end up chatting with some of these folks in the elevator or when I took a break.  Very poor training, limited experience if any at sales or financial business, and unreasonable expectations.  Frankly the only folks who seemed to be making money were the branch manager and sales manager and VERY FEW advisors who were 'team leaders' or some silly term like that.  For the rest it was a revolving door.  Like the rookies at the wirehouse but far worse.


You'd be surprised, by the way, at some of the losers who get through the hiring process at the wires, too, from what I've observed over the years.



I think the training is actually quite good in that they take very rough individuals and turn them into prospecting machines.


It is true that their brokers are not very well versed in much of what they could deal in with their Series 7 ticket, but they have been taught discipline, self motivation and other intangibles that are not taught at the wirehouses.


Because it is a revolving door they have to hire a dozen or so people each month. That group becomes a peer group and the tend to push each other........until they begin to realize how hard it is then they tend to agree with each other as the go about the process of failing.


Bill bitches so much that he depresses Joe who also gives up and the two them convince Becky that the place sucks and pretty soon they're gone.


Meanwhile a handful of those who are  hired each year don't listen to the caterwauling and end up making it.


It's a recruiting philosophy and I'm not sure it's wrong, but you sure have to be willing to put up with a bunch of goofballs and losers along the way.  The old "You have to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find a prince" idea come to life.

Mar 15, 2006 12:32 pm

How, then, are they justifying all of the senior level reps (in essence, the higher producers) leaving the firm because of the internal structural issues regarding the payout, scorecard and so on?  Obviously firms are losing people daily, but when you're hemhorraging like AMP has been for the past year, something has to be done, otherwise it will be a big black eye to the firm, unless they keep doling out kool-aid.

Mar 15, 2006 1:15 pm
BrokerRecruit:

How, then, are they justifying all of the senior level reps (in essence, the higher producers) leaving the firm because of the internal structural issues regarding the payout, scorecard and so on?  Obviously firms are losing people daily, but when you're hemhorraging like AMP has been for the past year, something has to be done, otherwise it will be a big black eye to the firm, unless they keep doling out kool-aid.


Often a new management team does virtually nothing to keep the existing staff intact.


For all you know a few, a very few, of the senior people were offered especially attractive incentives to stay and keep quiet as the rest of the firm drifts away.


What is needed there is a wholesale turnover--too many losers with too many bad habits.

Mar 15, 2006 1:35 pm

what, me worry?


Naw, cause i'm at H&R Block-


NY Files $250M Fraud Suit Vs. H&R Block





By SAMUEL MAULL, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 44 minutes ago



NEW YORK - New York state filed a $250 million fraud suit Wednesday against H&R Block Inc., the nation's largest tax preparing service, charging the company fraudulently steered customers into a losing retirement account plan. New York Stock Exchange.


The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, says Block advised clients to buy an "unsuitable, fraudulently marketed, poorly performing, fee-ridden 'retirement vehicle' called the Express IRA," an account that actually shrinks over time.


Mar 15, 2006 1:48 pm
TexasRep:

what, me worry?


Naw, cause i'm at H&R Block-


NY Files $250M Fraud Suit Vs. H&R Block





By SAMUEL MAULL, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 44 minutes ago



NEW YORK - New York state filed a $250 million fraud suit Wednesday against H&R Block Inc., the nation's largest tax preparing service, charging the company fraudulently steered customers into a losing retirement account plan. <A class=yqimgins title="Related information on New York Stock Exchange" href="http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=New+York+Stock+Exchange" target=blank onclick="activateYQinlthis;return false;" target="blank">New York Stock Exchange.


The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, says Block advised clients to buy an "unsuitable, fraudulently marketed, poorly performing, fee-ridden 'retirement vehicle' called the Express IRA," an account that actually shrinks over time.




Some realities.


1.  The people who do investment business with H&R Block are not going to be the brightest bulbs in the chandelier so most of them will not become aware of it unless they were victimized and get some sort of class action letter.


2.  Those who do notice it will say to themselves that they're glad they don't do business with H&R Block then immediately forget about the entire thing.


3.  There is no way for a competitive broker to use it against H&R Block because most brokers are not competing with Block.


The sad reality is the American public has the attention span of a small child and any news, good or bad, has a lifespan of a few days.


Don't worry about it.  Things will be back to normal, whatever that is at Block, within a matter of weeks perhaps even days.

Mar 15, 2006 3:12 pm

They did make offers, however many were turned down.  The fact remains, though, that there are many valuable P2s and OSJs across the country that are tired of the instability of the firm and the weaknesses of the internal systems.  A little "hush money" isn't going to solve the problem of good producers (and quality people) from realizing that there could potentially be stronger opportunities with more stability and better growth potential.

Mar 15, 2006 4:59 pm
BrokerRecruit:

However, how can one justify that the 5 VAs we work with that are not as competitive as the 500 that the ML office across the street works with fo your $1M account, Mr. Client?




Just wondering what the difference is between ML and Ameriprise when it comes to product choice?



Having an unlimited number of annuities and insurance is irrelevant since one cannot follow so many. At the same time I realize the benefit of having at least more than one.   Both firms have enough fund families to choose from. Both have managed options to choose from.



From the statements I've seen, brokers are basically using the same stuff. What am I missing?

Mar 15, 2006 5:05 pm

AMEX sold off their investment division.... Does this happen often? I mean the big and small RR firms usually stay in business and do not sell... Right?

AMEX or Ameriprise was mass emailing people who had a degree to find RR's. They they just closed shop in many places including Pensacola Florida.

Mar 15, 2006 5:05 pm

The bottom line is the performance of the products you offer.  AMP pushes the prop products that are historically not as strong as others that are offered.

Mar 16, 2006 12:30 am

Amp Advisors have only Amp insurance products (except for LTC).  But they do have most every mutual fund in their wrap program.  They also have a stock platform.  It's possible to not use their products, but it's difficult.  And the insurance products will always pay more than the straight investment products.  But the tax savings will more than compensate the client for the costs.


Ace (an ex amp advisor)

Mar 16, 2006 6:51 am
Ace Planner:

Amp Advisors have only Amp insurance products (except for LTC).  But they do have most every mutual fund in their wrap program.  They also have a stock platform.  It's possible to not use their products, but it's difficult.  And the insurance products will always pay more than the straight investment products.  But the tax savings will more than compensate the client for the costs.


Ace (an ex amp advisor)



An ex-AMP advisor?  That can't be, it has been stated that it is impossible to leave AMP.

Mar 16, 2006 10:30 am

I was in the office that closed in P-cola.  They said go to another employee office, pay franchise fees of around 11k per year, plus get an office, or quit.  I quit (them).  Most of my GDC was from insurance, and while I had a few 100k AUM, I didn't like the client that formed the bulk of it.  So it really wasn't a problem.


Ace