I’m starting with MSSB in February. Curious to hear other MSSB rep’s feedback on these questions:1. In general, how do you feel the merger is going so far? 2010 outlook? 2. Which elements of SB's culture/products/services are staying? 3. Is MSSB creating a new technology platform or using MS' or SB's current one? 4. Are they using MS' or SB's training program or a combined program? 5. What percentage of the training program is sales/marketing versus product/technology training? 6. What have been your experiences using internal financial planning/insurance/estate planning resources when preparing a proposal or implementing a product sale? Feel free to answer any or all questions. I really appreciate the feedback.
1. In general, how do you feel the merger is going so far? 2010 outlook?
"Think "Rape of Nanking" only with a lot more PowerPoints. SB is a defeated firm, MS is taking over. The last few years have been tough for the whole industry, so it's going to be a real ego boot to have someone to feel superior to for a while. The SB managers will take it up the a**, as will any of the big corporate services types. After the blood and teeth settles, everyone we don't fire should expect to do 2x as much with 1/2 less."
2. Which elements of SB's culture/products/services are staying?
"As little as possible. This is a takeover after all. Who gives a damn about the Smith Barney brand - We're Morgan Stanley! (Not Dean Witter dammit! Dammit!!) We intend to murder their men and take their women and children as slaves. In 5 years, no one will even remember Smith Barney! [Insert evil, maniacal laughter here]"
3. Is MSSB creating a new technology platform or using MS' or SB's current one?
"We'll do whatever's cheapest. Well, actually, no; we'll waste a ton of money and produce little, retaining the cheapest looking alternatives. but not actually saving any money. This will take several years, so expect to have 2x as many protocols to learn, but for them to change just once you've learned them. We've got to keep all the productionless morons in New Jersey busy coming up with new rules and form creation after all."
4. Are they using MS' or SB's training program or a combined program?
"Whatever's cheapest. We've both got pretty pathetic training compared to the good old days, so it really doesn't matter. Rest assured, we'll do a first class job teaching you state of the art sales and marketing techniques - circa 1987."
5. What percentage of the training program is sales/marketing versus product/technology training?
"What's this 'technology training that you speak of? You'll learn gorilla marketing here, boy! Not guerrilla (that actually might suggest a subtle, effective strategy with limited resources) - but GO-rilla, boy. You'll learn, blunt, ineffective techniques that (only) a gorilla could use. That's the brilliance of building a training program on a national level - you'll be trained by the best, most recently failed brokers from places completely unlike where you're from and who have no idea how to build relationships where you're going. If you're from Boise, you'll learn how to sell from a guy from Boca Raton. If you're from Oakland, you'll learn from a guy who's never met a black person before! And the best part is that not only did they fail in the business - their best job prospect after failing was to become a wirehouse training officer! These people are undoubtedly not going to waste your time!"
I like the previous poster’s reply, but I’ll give you a more serious take.1. There really hasn't been a whole lot difference thus far. The comp structure has changed, geared more towards growth of one's business. FAA comp went from 37% to 34%. FAA's are now subject to the small household policy. Other than that really its business as usual. 2. Probably none in the long run. This will Eventually be the old Morgan Stanley. Smith Barney will be erased from memory in the upcoming years. 3. Technology will be integrated, but not for two years or so. More than likely we will be using whatever Morgan Stanley has at the current time. 4. Right now the SB side of training is still in Warren New Jersey. I've heard they are merging the programs later this year. It looks like the new program will be out of Morgan Stanley's training facility, which is somewhere in New York. 5. Almost no product/technology training. All sales and marketing training. 6. The way I look at it is that I give up 66% of my commisions to support these people. Therefore, they work for me. Any assistance you could want is only one call away. There's nothing that we can't do that any other company can't. Whether they're friendly in the process is another story....
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is always great to hear from people “in the trenches.”