Citi Personal Wealth Mismanagement

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Dec 5, 2009 3:48 pm

We need more people from CPWM on this forum.  One of the problems with the bank channel in general is that we all sit apart and information doesn't flow anywhere near as freely as it does in a wirehouse office with 50 brokers in the building.  And management takes full advantage of this.  These weekly Tuesday update calls are just disgusting.  Nothing could be more telling of the attempt to mislead us about what is going on than the fact that they won't open the mike.  Send your questions in to "Ask Debby" and they'll select a few softball questions to address on the call.  It is a disgrace.  The last one had us on hold for 15 minutes and then had some muni guy ramble on for another 20 minutes with a mind numbing history of municipal bonds that was just an absolute insult to us in the field.  Here we are, in the midst of the most stunning change in the history of the brokerage business (pardon the hyperbole), and they're not saying anything and wasting our time to boot.  The brokerage business at Citi is being absolutely destroyed.  If you think otherwise, you are in denial.  This is a sinking ship from all angles, bank and investment. We all need to get out, and quickly.  We need to share intelligence with our colleagues now, in this forum.  So let me start by asking a question about the independent channel... if you were to go that way, would you go LPL? How about the independent channel of WFA?  Would the bank "backdrop" help get bank clients to come?  Any opinion? Please register like I did so you can participate in the forum.  You do not need to give your name.  Tell your friends at Citi to get on here too... lets get some information flowing!  Otherwise, all we'll get is Tim Williams reading softball questions and wasting our time.

Dec 5, 2009 6:16 pm

What are you doing thinking?  Sell your municipal bond fund.

Dec 5, 2009 10:19 pm

Hey, I agree with you... After sittingin the teammeetings for 2 days, I can telll that overwhelming majority feels same way.. It's a raw deal... I've looked at both lpl and wells, for

my mArket, wells looks like better choice. Most of my clients can identify the name, I think the fact if inopen up shop plus with a name they've never heard of like lpl, it could scare them. Do t wNt to give them a reason to say no. Now wfa may not be better than lpl, but my clients would feel comfortable with it... If you have any suggestions on how to gather momentum with other fa's to band together, post it... What options do we have, other than staying or leaving???

Dec 5, 2009 10:28 pm

Guys, I have been saying it for a while, get out now! Not kidding, Citi has always tried to find the best way to screw FE's. It is the only company I have ever known who HATES their customers and HATES their employees even more...

Dec 6, 2009 12:04 pm

Moral in southern cali is at an all time low.  A few reps have left and I know of a few more who are planning on leaving.  Management is having problems forming teams, and the teams that they have formed are in complete ciaos.  I have spoken to many rep's in my area and not one believes this plan is going to work.  New info I recently learned is that the IC's (which were suppose to refer business to us, are now actually selling up to 250k)  I think management has no clue and is making it up as they go.  It seems that almost very year we have a new head of Citi's investment arm.  I give Debbie one year and she will be out like the rest of them!


 
 
Dec 6, 2009 6:02 pm

I'm not sure that they have no clue.  I absolutely agree that the IC's will be salaried investment salespeople sooner rather than later.  It was probably part of the plan from the get go.  The leadership of CPWM does not believe in having bank brokers making $200K plus per year (who knows, they could also be getting pressure from our largest investor, the government, to eliminate high paying jobs in the branch).  There isn't an advocate for financial advisors anywhere left in this firm.  Debby McWhinney?  Not only does she come from a culture which bashed commission based brokers as part of their advertising strategy, I am told by people who know her well that she has never spoken to a client in her life.  How about Terry Dial?  Remember when we were all stunned when we heard that Smith Barney was going to sail off into the sunset without us?  Remember her saying on the call, "get over it"? Those are the kind of leaders we want (yeah, right).  I've heard that the Smith Barney brass feels pretty bad that they had to leave us behind (Dave Hinman probably does too, given all the good, hard work he did converting us from CIS).  These teams are a facade.  There is no intention of having teams with six or seven advisors.  I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the intent is to have attrition take these teams down to one or two people that serve as an overlay to a bunch of branches with these salaried investment consultants referring the rare piece of business that is outside of their "footprint."  In the meantime, think of the pain and suffering that will go on as these teams are whittled down.  Lowest fee-based producer for the first year? You are out. Maybe the 2 lowest fee-based producers... out!  The year after? The same thing. (Pity the little old lady with a few hundred thou in an income fund who will be hammered to put that in TRAK so a desperate broker can print some fee-based business).  It will be a grind like it was when you were a baby broker getting started.  Only thing is, it won't end.  Gather assets or else (and that'll be easy, right?.... surely there's got to be thousands of clients just dying to open a fee based account of $250K plus with Citi).  Don't think for a minute that you will be able to sit back, someday, and enjoy the fees and trails of the business that you gathered.  We will not own that; the firm will.  I'm sure they envision us to eventually be like the business banker who basically gets paid for acquisition and nothing else.  These large teams are designed to do nothing more than preclude any one or two brokers from leaving and taking clients with them.  Perhaps there will be a handful of brokers who end up with a windfall when the dust settles, but to make a career decision based on that remote possibility is akin to buying a lottery ticket.  On top of everything else, this place is just a shadow of its former self.  The big "C" trades at 4 bucks a share and it ain't coming back.  This company will be sold, probably in parts, within a year or two.  Then what? More upheaval.   So you know what would be nice, since we all have to scurry out of here? It would be very nice if we were all gentlemen (and ladies) and made an agreement to not go after our departed colleagues' books as they try to get established elsewhere. 

Dec 6, 2009 9:26 pm

Not going after each others books is something you need to discuss with your team... A gentlemans agreement, I know of teams who've spoken about this already....your right, what can ya do.. It sucks , but we will get to it... Maybe we can go to jv in a couple months...

Dec 8, 2009 4:15 pm

Get out while you can!!!

If you're not smart enough to see what they're doing, how did you pass your Series 7??
If you're planning on staying, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??????? This place has screwed us all. Do you really think it's going to get better??????????? This is an exercise in business liquidation.
The moment we were told that we were no longer worthy of being  Smith Barney Financial Advisors, was the moment you should have started  exploring your options. If you think that Citi is looking out for your best interests, "that's very naive of you" to quote your fearless leader back in January 2009. 
 
Dec 8, 2009 6:23 pm

Give it up, The brainwashing has taken full effect for anyone who is not leaving. Citi's model is to pound your ego and self worth into the ground making you believe there is no life outside of the company (similar to how some women stay with abusive husbands). No matter how hard you try, after a while they start to crave the pounding abusive culture there. For them it is their life blood, little do they know how much more punishment is in store for them nor how greener the grass is everywhere else (ok I made the grass part up, logically there has to be a place that sucks as bad as Citi, right?)

Dec 9, 2009 3:23 pm

It's all very sad!!

This was the premier bank program for a long time. When Joe Plumeri came in the late 90's he took us from the back burner to the front of the line......... then Smith Barney in 2007 put us all in the big leagues.
Now, this company is a former shell of itself and withering daily as the smart advisors find a new home for their clients where they're BOTH appreciated. How can anyone in their right mind sit still and accept what is being done to them and their clients, because someone newly hired in the ivory tower decided everyone needs a fee-based account. Besides the most important fact of losing control of your book and business through teams.
I don't get it, I've spoken with some of my former colleagues, most of whom are thankfully leaving, but there are some who are taking a wait and see approach. Wait and see?????
Do they honsestly think their situation will somehow improve?? Do they think that this will all go away or maybe management will have a change of heart, or is it the guarantee of 2 years of SALARY ( Severance Pay to transition their books to customer service over those 2 years)??? Now to add insult to injury, the remaining FA's will be competing for the clients (with over $250,000) that are left with outside RIA Advisors. HELLO?????? Do you need anymore of a slap in the face than that to tell you how worthless you are to this current regime????
WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The transition will be easier than you think. Don't be intimidated by managements scare tactics telling you how sticky bank clients are. Some will be stickier than you envisioned but most will come with you. It's alot of work for the first 2 months but after the initial insanity, it's so worth it. You'll be so happy you did and if anyone on here has questions, feel free to ask. I'm sure my other former Citi FA's and I would be happy to help our distressed brethren.
Dec 9, 2009 9:19 pm

I agree that we need to share information.  


Given the option and the right money I would like to go to the JV.  I have written offers that most people would be content with but I am basically affraid of not making the best decision.  Other firms are offering big money but I never have moved between firms before and the idea is stessfull.
 
I am still praying that Debrogh Mcwinney gets hit by a bus or something. I really want to stay.  My heart is at Citi but my brain is telling me that I should plan to go. No one in management beleives that her plan will work.  Even the RIMS and AIMS are leaving.  No one is willing to take calls on a national call because they are a bunch of cowards.
Dec 10, 2009 12:30 pm

Easy/E:

If it wasn't stressful and it was easy everyone would do it. And wishing for something bad to happen to Debbie is insanity on your part. Do you think if she leaves tomorrow, they're gonna change direction?? She'll be gone within two years along with CPWM.
You say that management is all cowards for not taking questions on the call. Why do you need that? You already know the answers!!
Get a set and get out, stop whining about hoping you can go to the JV. If the JV wanted us they would have taken us from the beginning. As far as being afraid of not making the best decision, you won't know that until you're already established with your new Broker/Dealer.  My suggestion is don't chase the check . Look for a place that is best suited for your clients.
 
 
Dec 10, 2009 4:32 pm

Someone posted the quicksand analogy here somewhere. Sorry for forgetting who it was, but it seems very appropriate. FAs often treat career decisions like investment clients treat things in my experience... they know they need to come up with a solid plan, set a strategy and then pull the trigger and execute against it but manufacture excuse after excuse to delay having to actually follow through even though they know they should. It's frustrated everyone here at one point or another in this business. Citi's plan will hurt anyone who stays long term if they enjoy the FA role as they've come to know it. It's not going to be the same and not even close.

There will be a good number of resignations tomorrow and next week as those who've been working out their options execute on them.

Dec 10, 2009 4:37 pm

Nobody will be leaving next week unless they're crazy. I think FINRA closes after tomorrow and so no more license changes for the rest of the year.

Dec 10, 2009 5:23 pm

FINRA cut off date is 12/18, not 12/11

Dec 10, 2009 8:39 pm
burtonfinancial1:

Someone posted the quicksand analogy here somewhere. Sorry for forgetting who it was, but it seems very appropriate. FAs often treat career decisions like investment clients treat things in my experience... they know they need to come up with a solid plan, set a strategy and then pull the trigger and execute against it but manufacture excuse after excuse to delay having to actually follow through even though they know they should. It's frustrated everyone here at one point or another in this business. Citi's plan will hurt anyone who stays long term if they enjoy the FA role as they've come to know it. It's not going to be the same and not even close.There will be a good number of resignations tomorrow and next week as those who've been working out their options execute on them.





I made the quicksand analogy. I find the excuse "changing is difficult" total bs. I changed firms, millions of other FA's have changed. Yes inertia is easy, but it is no excuse. We ask prospects every day to make a change, to fire their advisor and trust us with their life savings. If you are not prepared to leave a brutally oppressive firm INTENT on FORCING you to invest your clients money in a way that may not be in their best interest, then you should put your pen in the drawer and never take it back out until you have matured and are ready to face the same decisions you ask your clients to make...

Dec 11, 2009 9:48 pm

We all need to get off of this sinking ship, its dangerous to anyone who gets left behind. We are salesmen and should convince everyone to leave this terrible company, for all of our benefits. Would love the 500 of us to screw this company over, they deserve it for what they are doing to us.

Also, if you have left post some advice for others,things that helped you or that we may need if were thinking of leaving. Keep the flow of information pumping on this board.

What happens if you're thinking of going to a firm that's not part of
FA protocol, from your experience does citi come after you?

Dec 11, 2009 10:42 pm

Yes they did come after, but that was a few years ago. I will say that clients will certainly move in the current environment. You have the best ammo in the history of transitions (company went BK, they can't manage anything properly and now they only want the clients of the bank to buy one product even if it is the wrong one!)

Dec 12, 2009 12:38 pm

Who left??? Names and cities................

Dec 12, 2009 5:45 pm

??