Bring AGE Back

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Feb 2, 2009 10:41 pm

I called the home office today with a question.  Person who answered the phone told me they were new, and the person who would know the answer is in meetings all day, but would certainly get back to me within 24 hours per the service policy.  I informed this idiot that if I had 24 hours to get the answer I would find it myself, however I have a client in my office and need to know now.  He said he would try and find someone to call me back.  Five hours later, someone called me. 



What the hell happened to the "best of both firms" BS we were fed.  I cannot think of one thing that is important to my business that has improved.  I can think of many "best practices" from AGE that have been tossed to the side.  My BRC was told on a conference call that the opinion of WS is that AGE brokers are coddled.  I have seen on this board, WS brokers call us whiners.  I would be willing to bet that if a WS broker had the chance to work at AGE for one month, they would wonder WTF is WS's problem. 




 
We now have to track our own 1035 exchanges.  Service from the home office has died.  IF and that is a big IF you can get someone to pick up the phone, they typically tell you that someone else has your answer.  Our clients are going to get fee'd to death.  We are going to get fee'd to death.  Our company name has been in the news constantly this last year.  Our stock options are worthless.  We have a meeting once a week, usually to talk about when the next meeting is.  National sales calls our office and talks to every broker twice a week.  Separate calls for each  broker.  No good information.  We get a conference call once a week from Danny about how important we are, yet the actions of the firm say otherwise (and I am not referring to retention, there are 130 pages about that already).
 
I found out an interesting item last week.  When the takeover was announced, they always talked about how much higher WS revenue/broker was than AGE.  Not production, revenue.  BTW, production #'s are fairly close, much closer than revenue per broker.  Account fees, pay for your own non-resident licenses, the rip off that is Bond Desk, charging for company literature, ticket fees, annuity haircuts (about to get much bigger for the AGE guys), smoothed trails, the fact that the home office is staffed by less people today than AGE had... to service more than double the brokers, smaller 401k contribution, shitty 401k plan (world class brokerage and we get 8 choices?), terrible health insurance at more money, and on and on.  No wonder revenue per broker was higher.
 
When they said the merger would involve integrating the "best" of both firms, what from AGE got integrated?  Best practices my ass, unless what is best for the firm is what they were talking about.  Sorry for the rant.
Feb 2, 2009 10:45 pm

AGE did not ummmm, have the scale and scope to survive.  Be patient things will get better when we are .....(Insert name here)

Feb 2, 2009 10:50 pm

No, we just had a landmark building fully paid for, $2mmm in cash, and a culture that put clients first, brokers second, and the firm third, as opposed to the firm first, certain clients second...... brokers thirteenth.

Feb 2, 2009 10:55 pm
Sam Houston:

No, we just had a landmark building fully paid for, $2mmm in cash, and a culture that put clients first, brokers second, and the firm third, as opposed to the firm first, certain clients second...... brokers thirteenth.



From Ben's mouth....that's how he did it.  That man is the real deal.

BTW, I track my own 1035's but I get paid 90% with no haircut, and 'home office sales' comes in the form of a regional consultant that calls about every 3 months and doesn't get worked up if I don't care to chat.

Just a thought....

Feb 2, 2009 10:57 pm

At AGE I felt the part of my production that went to the firm was well worth it.  Now what do we get for that? Next to nothing. No service. Call centers.  No research department.   We did however get alot of more layers of management.

Feb 2, 2009 10:59 pm
HymanRoth:
Sam Houston:

No, we just had a landmark building fully paid for, $2mmm in cash, and a culture that put clients first, brokers second, and the firm third, as opposed to the firm first, certain clients second...... brokers thirteenth.



From Ben's mouth....that's how he did it.  That man is the real deal.

BTW, I track my own 1035's but I get paid 90% with no haircut, and 'home office sales' comes in the form of a regional consultant that calls about every 3 months and doesn't get worked up if I don't care to chat.

Just a thought....

 
Annuity pays 8, 6 hits the grid, I get half.  For 90% I can track it myself, for 37.5%, someone from the home office should do it so I have more time to produce.  I not sure who I dislike more, Bagby or Danny.
Feb 2, 2009 11:02 pm
Sam Houston:
HymanRoth:
Sam Houston:

No, we just had a landmark building fully paid for, $2mmm in cash, and a culture that put clients first, brokers second, and the firm third, as opposed to the firm first, certain clients second...... brokers thirteenth.



From Ben's mouth....that's how he did it.  That man is the real deal.

BTW, I track my own 1035's but I get paid 90% with no haircut, and 'home office sales' comes in the form of a regional consultant that calls about every 3 months and doesn't get worked up if I don't care to chat.

Just a thought....

 
Annuity pays 8, 6 hits the grid, I get half.  For 90% I can track it myself, for 37.5%, someone from the home office should do it so I have more time to produce.  I not sure who I dislike more, Bagby or Danny.



For 90% if you do enough you can hire someone to track it for you.

Bagby grew up in the culture and knew what people expected of him, and he pissed all over their shoes instead, and tried to tell you he was doing you a favor.  There's a reason why he had to hire guards to watch his car after the takeover, don't you think?

Feb 2, 2009 11:03 pm

I totally agree...this is why I finally saw the writing on the wall and left last month...I haven't been this happy in years...sure the move is a alot of work, and some clients won't come right away, but I actually enjoy going to work every day now, have a culture like AGE was, helpful people in the home office etc. They say the grass isn't always greener....so far the shade is forest green!

Feb 2, 2009 11:04 pm
Sam Houston:
HymanRoth:
Sam Houston:

No, we just had a landmark building fully paid for, $2mmm in cash, and a culture that put clients first, brokers second, and the firm third, as opposed to the firm first, certain clients second...... brokers thirteenth.



From Ben's mouth....that's how he did it.  That man is the real deal.

BTW, I track my own 1035's but I get paid 90% with no haircut, and 'home office sales' comes in the form of a regional consultant that calls about every 3 months and doesn't get worked up if I don't care to chat.

Just a thought....

 
Annuity pays 8, 6 hits the grid, I get half.  For 90% I can track it myself, for 37.5%, someone from the home office should do it so I have more time to produce.  I not sure who I dislike more, Bagby or Danny.



Sambo, I'll track your annuities for only 60% of your money.

Feb 3, 2009 10:18 am
nestegg:

I totally agree...this is why I finally saw the writing on the wall and left last month...I haven't been this happy in years...sure the move is a alot of work, and some clients won't come right away, but I actually enjoy going to work every day now, have a culture like AGE was, helpful people in the home office etc. They say the grass isn't always greener....so far the shade is forest green!

 
I haven't been paying that much attention to your posts, so I have to ask.  Is that forest green actually EDJ green or some other shade?
 
From what I've heard from both clients and AGE guys, Jones is very similar to the company AGE guys really enjoyed working for.  Great service, good support, improving product mix, similar payout structure.  If you're not ready to go indy, or don't want to move to one of the ever changing wirehouses, at least take a look at Jones.  If you liked the culture of AGE, then you'll probably like the culture at Jones too. 
Feb 3, 2009 10:23 am

The closest thing that will ever be "back" like AGE is out there...it's called Stifel. 

Feb 3, 2009 10:24 am

Its back - they call it Stifel now

Feb 3, 2009 3:49 pm

hey AGE...welcome to DL's world...get use to it.  never let the facts stand in the way of good spin.  either buckle up or get out.  more deals like UBS to come.  next big news will be headquarter move from St. Louis to NYC.....  just wait.

Feb 3, 2009 3:55 pm

Didn't someone post an article where Tad Edwards has started a firm.

Feb 3, 2009 5:14 pm
flyin:

hey AGE...welcome to DL's world...get use to it.  never let the facts stand in the way of good spin.  either buckle up or get out.  more deals like UBS to come.  next big news will be headquarter move from St. Louis to NYC.....  just wait.

 
Nope you're dead wrong.  Its WS taking out USB not the other way around.  Moving HQ would only accomplish increasing the break even cost on production.    HQ in NYC would significantly increase the level at which a broker would be break even.  Its precisely why a broker right now doing a little over 220 is profitable at WS and a broker doing 350 at MER isnt profitable. 
 
Its also why you cant compare retention at MER and base what it will be here.   Retention is paid to PROFITABLE brokers.   Dispite the confused perception that many AGE brokers seem to have, WS is an amlgimation of regional firms.  Hayes and Ludeman are communicating the reality that the majority of attrition will be to regionals and independents and that they are very much at risk of losing guys to 300k and up if they do not pay them retention.
 
You would NEVER hear that kind of talk from the management team of UBS, MER, MS or SB.  They dont think like that nor does the majority of the brokers at those firms.  At WS the majority and management does and there in lies the biggest difference between those other firms.
 
Im not suggesting that WS has done it right or that the leadership hasnt dropped the ball becuase they have.  But, they most definately are not "Wall Street guys"  They are not NYC mentality, ivory white tower type people.  The last thing they want is to have things run out of New York.  It may very well be that this deal has been in the works and that has put a pause on retention.
 
Feb 3, 2009 10:34 pm

I heard from a wholesaler today that WF may sell AGE to AGE brokers.  If that is the case, I'm going there.  A firm that is interested in serving clients and taking care of brokers as well.  I'm sick of new fees, grid cuts, worthless options and restricted stock......sometimes I wonder if these big bank brokerages are run by a bunch of monkeys.  Bankers do not get how we operate.....

Feb 3, 2009 10:38 pm
Piker1487:

I heard from a wholesaler today that WF may sell AGE to AGE brokers.  If that is the case, I'm going there.  A firm that is interested in serving clients and taking care of brokers as well.  I'm sick of new fees, grid cuts, worthless options and restricted stock......sometimes I wonder if these big bank brokerages are run by a bunch of monkeys.  Bankers do not get how we operate.....


Do we get to fire Danny?

Feb 3, 2009 11:54 pm

No way do we fire Danny......St. Louis needs a good janitor to umm...um...ummmm....uhhh...uhhhh.....ummmm.....implement some good, fresh practices.

Feb 4, 2009 12:18 am

Wow - I heard from a wholesaler today that he has all the best funds in the world, in every asset class.  Probably the same guy.