Ameriprise

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Jul 20, 2009 12:30 pm

Any thoughts on the offerings/system, etc?

Jul 20, 2009 1:34 pm

what would you like to know specifically?

Jul 20, 2009 2:24 pm

Anything about the firm.  I see different things on the boards but most of them pretty negative.  I hear they promote a bunch of idiots through management because everyone else leaves.  Is it really that bad?  Can someone do business there or is it amature hour?

Jul 20, 2009 2:58 pm

You can do business there.  Its like Edward Jones (to give you an appropriate analogy since you've probalby heard alot more about them on this board) in a way because they used to hire 1,000,000 people per year hoping a few gems would stick.  Now they hire only career changers and advisors moving over from different firms.  I wouldn't recommend it as a place to start your career because their/our proprietary products suck and unless you at a certain level you can't go outside for insurance products.  Management is a joke, but as long as you are able to drown it out and not let them influence you in any way you would be fine.

Jul 20, 2009 3:19 pm
3rdyrp2:

You can do business there.  Its like Edward Jones (to give you an appropriate analogy since you've probalby heard alot more about them on this board) in a way because they used to hire 1,000,000 people per year hoping a few gems would stick.  Now they hire only career changers and advisors moving over from different firms.  I wouldn't recommend it as a place to start your career because their/our proprietary products suck and unless you at a certain level you can't go outside for insurance products.  Management is a joke, but as long as you are able to drown it out and not let them influence you in any way you would be fine.

 
Ick...
 
3rd, you strike me as a pretty standup guy/gal. Why do you put up with this?
Jul 20, 2009 3:27 pm
SometimesNowhere:
3rdyrp2:

You can do business there.  Its like Edward Jones (to give you an appropriate analogy since you've probalby heard alot more about them on this board) in a way because they used to hire 1,000,000 people per year hoping a few gems would stick.  Now they hire only career changers and advisors moving over from different firms.  I wouldn't recommend it as a place to start your career because their/our proprietary products suck and unless you at a certain level you can't go outside for insurance products.  Management is a joke, but as long as you are able to drown it out and not let them influence you in any way you would be fine.

 
Ick...
 
3rd, you strike me as a pretty standup guy/gal. Why do you put up with this?
 
I'm in the P2 world now...no management.  Those just starting out now will have to start on the employee side in P1.  I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy with the way its structured now.
Jul 20, 2009 4:39 pm

how about bonds, annuities, managed money, 401ks. my fear is some kind of requirement to do fin plans or your out

Jul 20, 2009 4:55 pm

They want you to do financial plans.  In P1 your payout will be determined by 3 things (Assuming its still the same structure as when I was in P1):  % of target financial plans, % of target clients acquired, % of total GDC.  They all play an equal 1/3 in determining it.  In P2 the payout isn't determined by plans, but the bonus payout will be determined by plans only, up to an additional 7%.  And you need to sell about 110 plans to qualify for that. 




 
The bond desk is getting better, you get one choice of annuity company but that number goes to either 2 or 3 in Q1 of next year.  They haven't told us what companies though.  Managed money is good, the SPS platform gives you ALOT of flexibilty with all securities, although no options.  There is a good choice of 401(k) providers to use also. 
Jul 20, 2009 11:03 pm

I left in 2006, came in under the IDS days, and was an original p2.  The forever changing direction of the corporate office and how our comp/expenses were calculated was just too much.  I drank the kool aide since 1993 but decided to leave in 2003.  It took until 2006 before I could get out from under it, in the client's best interest. 

 
I was successful there, but just did not want to pay for services I did not require, nor did I want.  Mgmt was never in my hair, I made them too much lol.  But when the name on the paycheck manufactures products, that is a conflict not only in compensation and earnings for the firm, but ethically.  Koolaide only goes so far and quasi-independent was not for me.  I prefer to "hire" a b/d rather than be hired by one.  To each his own!
Jul 21, 2009 9:24 am

my intention is to take 2 checks then go independant.  i think if this looks viable, and the money they offer is good, i will take the deal and then in 7  years look for another one.  any idea what they pay a 250-300k producer upfront?

Jul 21, 2009 9:55 am

I am not certain why you would go there unless you are nearing retirement and need the pension and health benefits due to issues of chronic illness.  The production level you suggest may not be what you earn obviously.  you have "production" at 300k but earn 40% of that?  I do not think they will pay you anything but promise you something better....a lambs hook comes to mind.  If you are in discussions now, request the P2 UFOC (Uniform Franchise Offering Circular).  Find the section on "Forebearance".  This is your get out of jail step by step criteria to avoid litigation should you ever leave the brand.  You are not permitted to leave the "brand" so to speak under any platform, and go to Securities America.

 
Be very careful.  I received many accounts over the years while there from folks who came in from other firms and did well for 2 years, and were out of the biz after 5.  I suggest you watch the movie; "The Firm".  While there is not a mob, the realization that Cruise had when he learned his fate will be the same feeling you will have.  Remember that the best face is put forward by the those you deal with.  The reality is after your book has transfered and the honeymoon is over, you are just going to have to put in the extream work that is compliance and paperwork, with slow and unreliable technology, telephone back office from Guam who have broken english and long wait times.  Once you leave P1 and begin to pay franchise fees, tech fees, OSJ fees, EO fees, et al....40% of your time will be spent chasing paper....even with staff.  I left that ever-changing corporate direction and reduced expenses by over 40%, increased revenues by 85% and cut my work in the office time to 25 hours a week.  Did I mention I did this by reducing clients by one third?  I run the same fee based business, do very little commission product and I did not replace the insurance I had placed?  The difference is the GDC is not industry standard there, no matter what they tell you.  You will get a % of GDC as payout on a reduced GDC standard, then get that applied to a scorecard, and that scorecard can and does change every year.  The changes imposed by the metrix can totally change and force you to unwind your practice to another strategy to maintain.  As a planning company mantra, how do you plan your practice when the methods change every 2-3 years.  Be very careful.
Jul 21, 2009 10:09 am

I have to be honest...most of what you just said flew right past me. 

 
I do get that Firm feeling.  My buddy got let go from MS and went there.  He is leaving.  He used to have to go to bowling events and team building things all the time when he started. 
Jul 21, 2009 11:18 am

I can't disagree with Amp at all.

 
However, going forward, the platform, technology, and research (especially for the P1) are adopted from HRBFA. From what they keep telling us, they bought us to adopt our culture. They have admitted candidly that what they did in the past was a mistake and will not sustain future growth. From my understanding, P1 was just a factory to get a newbie to P2 as past as they could. From what we've been told, that will not be the case at all in the future. HRBFA had about 1000 brokers. About 500 new brokers have been recruited since the start of 2009. Combine that with the maybe 1000 brokers that were in P1 and the new brokers and their existing attitudes are the majority. Once again, this is what we are told (we're still in a wait and see until Oct.), we aren't required to sell any financial plans("just another arrow in your quiver"), we'll have 3-4 vendors for VA's (of course, Riversource being one of them), life insurance is mainly Riversource with limited John Hanc*** and Genworth. It sure isn't perfect as I already feel more of a "sales" atmosphere. That part somewhat reminds me of when I was Ed Jones. I can live with the VA's and the Life Insurance...and I could care less about American Funds.
 
I think this quote made from one of our higher ups about the intergration sums up what direction the P1 is going, "It will take our brokers (referring to HRBFA) maybe a month to learn how to do financial plans; It will take 5-7 years for yours to learn options."
 
I'm not advocating the firm at all. I'm only relaying what I know.
Jul 21, 2009 11:49 am

I was told the HR Block side was more open arch and a better platform with more resources. 

Jul 21, 2009 12:03 pm

You are correct. Fee based or transactional doesn't matter to them. We aren't being pushed one way or another. Of course, ask me again in Novermber.

 
One other limitation and this is one that chaps me, only because I've done so well with them in first half of '09, is we are no longer able to solicit leveraged ETF's (i.e., UCO). However, many firms are doing that because too often the broker and the client don't understand them.
Jul 21, 2009 12:56 pm

as for compliance, you will find that the compliance decisions being made are ULTRA conservative, and papers filed and copied for several departments.  When it all boils down, under the "current" suitability standards, the firm (AMPF) will always be error free, it is the rep who did wrong.  So while the knee-jerk reaction to FINRA's save thyself from myself mentality, AMPF will most likely review the bottom line rather then enable you to do what is right.  Once the dust settles, ETF leverage will be available, just alot of justifications before hand.

Jul 21, 2009 1:21 pm
Piker34:
 
However, going forward, the platform, technology, and research (especially for the P1) are adopted from HRBFA. From what they keep telling us, they bought us to adopt our culture. They have admitted candidly that what they did in the past was a mistake and will not sustain future growth.
 
HRBFA was wholely unprofitable (thats why HRB dumped it).  AMPF is and always has been highly profitable.  Why would a company adopt an unprofitable business model in lieu of one that was highly profitable???
 
Anyone know by chance what AMPF is offering recruits to P1?
Jul 21, 2009 5:58 pm

News article today said that Ameraprise is going to buy the equity and fixed income funds of Columbia. Blackrock is going to buy the money market funds.

Jul 21, 2009 8:29 pm

I read that too.  I told the Columbia wholesaler a few weeks back that with the merger, his group or the ML sales force would get sold, since BOA only really needed infrastructure since they clear(ed) through NFS.  We had a good laugh, but wow.

Jul 22, 2009 9:21 am
etj4588:
Piker34:
 
However, going forward, the platform, technology, and research (especially for the P1) are adopted from HRBFA. From what they keep telling us, they bought us to adopt our culture. They have admitted candidly that what they did in the past was a mistake and will not sustain future growth.
 
HRBFA was wholely unprofitable (thats why HRB dumped it).  AMPF is and always has been highly profitable.  Why would a company adopt an unprofitable business model in lieu of one that was highly profitable???
 
Anyone know by chance what AMPF is offering recruits to P1?
 
It was unprofitable because HRB bought Olde Discount for $800 million in 2000 and changed the name to HRBFA. Then HRB never put any money (no exaggeration) into the brokerage arm. It's kind of hard for 1000 brokers to foot an $800 million bill. Once that $800 million was finally paid (2007 or 08), we started being profitable. Of course, once that payment was gone, we were for sale. RBC, Stifel, and others were in line but Ameriprise was willing to pony up for the tax leads/access to the offices.
 
Once again, this is second hand... From what we were told, P1 was unprofitable for Ameriprise. The idea they have going forward is to attract experienced advisors to the P1 side. They couldn't do that before.
 
Edit to note: I don't know off the top of my head what they are offerring P1 recruits, but I do know they will buy an indy book for 1-2x T-12 depending on the source of the revenue. Size doesn't matter...so if you're in a certain midwest state known for corn and want to sell, PM me.