Rank these firms, from best to worst

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Aug 25, 2008 9:16 pm

For someone starting out, what's the firm pecking-order--from best to worst?

Ameriprise, Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, Waddell and Reid, H&R Block Financial, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, AG Edwards...etc.  You don't have to rank them all if you don't want; you can rank your top 3 and bottom 3.
Aug 25, 2008 9:20 pm

Based on what?  Training? Goals? Support? Dress code? Quality of coffee?

Aug 25, 2008 9:24 pm

Waddell and Reed and Ameriprise are definitely top 3 material.......if you like being tortured....

Aug 25, 2008 9:32 pm

based on overall perception and desirability to work there. 

Is waddell and reed really that sub-par?
Aug 25, 2008 9:54 pm
Rodee:

based on overall perception and desirability to work there. 

Is waddell and reed really that sub-par?



Unless you get really lucky and get a top-notch mentor to show you the ropes and how to do this business the right way, yes, they are that bad.  A good mentoring experience can make even a lousy firm a good place to start.

Aug 25, 2008 9:58 pm
Rodee:

For someone starting out, what's the firm pecking-order--from best to worst?

Ameriprise, Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, Waddell and Reid, H&R Block Financial, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, AG Edwards...etc.  You don't have to rank them all if you don't want; you can rank your top 3 and bottom 3.


That's quite a question.  Let me ask you this: what is the best car, from best to worst?

Aug 25, 2008 10:07 pm

Mass-produced cars (discounting the ultra-expensive/rare),

1. Mercedez 550, 2. BWM 7-series, 3. Lexus LS.....worse?  1. Scion, 2. Mazda, 3. Hyundai
 
I'm sure if I thought it through, the list might vary slightly; however, with regard to immediate perception, I choose the above.
Aug 25, 2008 10:38 pm

Really?  A Mercedes is always best - even for a plumber that needs to transport all his tools to job sites, or a family of 7 running to school & soccer games?  How about for someone of very limited means?

Rodee, if you really think that cars and financial firms can be so glibly and universally ranked from "best to worst" without any further information about a particular Individual's priorities or abilities or budget, you have some learning to do before presuming to advise individuals about managing their financial affairs. 

The quality of the questions you ask will determine the quality of the answers you reach. 


Aug 25, 2008 11:18 pm

It's not a one-size-fits-all question, it's base on your perception and yours alone. 

Aug 26, 2008 6:26 am

Rodee, it's just a really bad question.  Use Edward Jones as an example.  I think that with your list, they are both in the top 3 and the bottom 3.

 
What is it that you want in a firm?  If you answer that, we can probably be of help to you.
 
Personally, I think that for someone starting out an insurance company (NYL, MM, Guardian, NML) is often the best depending on local management.
Aug 26, 2008 9:06 am

The best company is the one that extends to you an offer of employment. Beyond that, with maybe one or two low side exceptions, they are all very much the same.

 
It's all a matter of fit.
Aug 26, 2008 9:18 am

"-EDJ is widely regarded as a great place to start - but really in a league of it's own in regards to their approach to the business.  Great training, but less technology than the wires"

 
ICE, you need to qualify this.  What exactly are you referring to?  If you can give a few specific examples (not last year, or 5 years ago, or what you saw Spears write, but what you KNOW to be FACT today.
 
I have been told by former ML advisors that our technology is superior to their's.  Not that I care about that, but it really disputes this claim.
Aug 26, 2008 11:06 am

Watch it Ice..don't underestimate the power of 20$ gas card and LP carrot to some skater kids in metro St Louis.....

Aug 26, 2008 11:39 am

ICE,

 
Not for nothing, but it's tough to criticize if you are not even aware of what we have. 
When you say "less software/apps, less hardware", I'm not sure what that could possibly be referring to.  Less bandwidth?  I have a T-1, not sure what else I need.  Yes, some offices "only " have DSL, but still, not sure how much faster you need?  Less IT staff - than what?
 
-We no longer use satellites (except for our in-office broadcasts)
-We are having check scanners installed in all offices
-Vastly upgraded color laser printers
-Statement E-delivery
-Financial Assesment Software (which pulls all personal & financial data directly from our porfolio & contact management system)
-All reports for all applications, in addition to hard copies of anything can be electronically archived.
-Have access to calendar through PDA's.
-Rollout of "Relationship Manager" tool.  It is basically a cetnral database and tracking system for all investments, services, conversations, financial plans, account history
-Interactive tool for building ads, flyers, invitations, etc.
-Morningstar on desktop
-Quote monitor
-Detailed, daily performance/commission/expense reporting that is sortable, trackable, etc. on our desktop
-We can create any lists we want from clients/prospects at the touch of a button.
-Portfolio of thousands of customizable letters
-Customizable Press Releases
-ACH On Demand
-Web-dial
-Fund Multi-Buy system
-Most people agree that our Contact Management System is better than most (and fully integrated with all the software on our desktop).
 
I'm not going to get into all the little "nuances" of everything else that has been upgraded and improved, but suffice it to say that we have more than enough technology compared to other firms.
I am also not trying to "spread the Kool-aide".  But it's irritating when people that either don't work for Jones, or have not worked here for years try to diminish what we have.
 
Aug 26, 2008 11:40 am
bspears:

Watch it Ice..don't underestimate the power of 20$ gas card and LP carrot to some skater kids in metro St Louis.....

 
That might be funny...but I don't get it???
Aug 26, 2008 11:48 am

B24, did you take that info off the brochure you got in the Merril meet and greet? Come on...fess up....

Aug 26, 2008 12:29 pm
bspears:

B24, did you take that info off the brochure you got in the Merril meet and greet? Come on...fess up....

 
Were you there too?
 
(by the way, what the he11 is a Merrill meet and greet?)
Aug 26, 2008 12:32 pm
iceco1d:
 EDJ can't afford to spend what would be required to catch up to ML/SB/MS in a paultry 3 years. 

 
Can, and have.  
 
I hear people, mostly on this forum, say things like this and it makes me wonder what technology I'm missing.  What do the wires have the ability to do that I don't.  The only thing I've heard of that would be interesting, but not useful to me, would to have the ability to do a global trade.  Meaning, if I have discretionary trading authority in all accounts, want to sell all of my AMCPX and trade it for ITHAX, I can do it with just a few clicks.  Like I said, that would be cool, but not useful in our environment. 
 
I'd also like to have the phone ring and have a small window pop up on my computer screen telling me who is on the phone and giving me a link to their primary account.  Oh wait, they're working on that with the new phone systems they're putting in our offices.
 
Finally, I'd like a scanner that I can put my client's financial documents through and then have it recognize stock symbols, fund symbols, dollar amounts, names, birthdates, etc, then take that info, create a current portfolio and a proposed portfolio complete with perfect asset allocation, create financial statements, retirement projections, and wealth transfer exmples, and spit out all reports bound and tabbed for easy presentation to the client.  All in about 5 minutes BTW.   Am I asking too much?       
Aug 26, 2008 12:41 pm

Finally, I'd like a scanner that I can put my client's financial documents through and then have it recognize stock symbols, fund symbols, dollar amounts, names, birthdates, etc, then take that info, create a current portfolio and a proposed portfolio complete with perfect asset allocation, create financial statements, retirement projections, and wealth transfer exmples, and spit out all reports bound and tabbed for easy presentation to the client.  All in about 5 minutes BTW.   Am I asking too much?    




When a firm can do this they will not need you!
Aug 26, 2008 1:10 pm

No, I still need to be there to be able to find new suckers...I mean clients.  And to collect the fees I'm gonna charge every year for the ongoing services of my scanner.   


My blood sugar must be getting low.  I think I'll go get something to eat.