From Merrill To Morgan?

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Jul 7, 2006 12:47 am

I just joined Morgan from SB and have found the broker workstation to be very outdated.  I joined because of the future potential of this company which I see everyday and it keeps getting better and better.  But in the meantime, how do you Morgan people work your books with this system?  I keep reading about big $$$ new hires from Merrill and can't understand how these Merrill brokers will work using today's MS's system. Am I missing something?  How quickly can MS ramp up the new work station for all these new recruits? Is there a

secret to making a living at MS without excellent technology and client reporting capabilities? 

Jul 7, 2006 7:06 am

Tivo- Frankly, top producers don't care all that much about their computer system.  If you are relying on technology/reports to succeed, you're in big trouble.

Jul 7, 2006 8:04 am
The Judge:

Tivo- Frankly, top producers don't care all that much about their computer system.  If you are relying on technology/reports to succeed, you're in big trouble.



What he said!


Additionally, very often the bitching is actually more about how the new system is different from what you're used to.


There are lots of older producers around your office who succeeded as a retail broker and all they had was a Quotron quote machine.  I am one of them, but there were tens of thousands of us--many are still around.


There was no such thing as a "client report."  We posted our client records by hand, and had a cross reference book to keep track of which clients owned what.


Jul 7, 2006 8:31 am
tivo:

I just joined Morgan from SB and have found the broker workstation to be very outdated.  I joined because of the future potential of this company which I see everyday and it keeps getting better and better.  But in the meantime, how do you Morgan people work your books with this system?  I keep reading about big $$$ new hires from Merrill and can't understand how these Merrill brokers will work using today's MS's system. Am I missing something?  How quickly can MS ramp up the new work station for all these new recruits? Is there a

secret to making a living at MS without excellent technology and client reporting capabilities? 



Somebody's pulling our leg here.....

Jul 7, 2006 8:56 am
NASD Newbie:
The Judge:

Tivo- Frankly, top producers don't care all that much about their computer system.  If you are relying on technology/reports to succeed, you're in big trouble.



What he said!


Additionally, very often the bitching is actually more about how the new system is different from what you're used to.


There are lots of older producers around your office who succeeded as a retail broker and all they had was a Quotron quote machine.  I am one of them, but there were tens of thousands of us--many are still around.


There was no such thing as a "client report."  We posted our client records by hand, and had a cross reference book to keep track of which clients owned what.



hey NASD, did you have to go outside and feed your horses during lunch?


and if you were late for the stage coach, did you have to walk (uphill both ways) to the yonder town to make your client meeting?


sorry- couldn't resist.


Jul 7, 2006 5:47 pm
tivo:

I just joined Morgan from SB and have found the broker workstation to be very outdated.  I joined because of the future potential of this company which I see everyday and it keeps getting better and better.  But in the meantime, how do you Morgan people work your books with this system?  I keep reading about big $$$ new hires from Merrill and can't understand how these Merrill brokers will work using today's MS's system. Am I missing something?  How quickly can MS ramp up the new work station for all these new recruits? Is there a

secret to making a living at MS without excellent technology and client reporting capabilities? 



I'm a little skeptic of this post because I thought everyone in the MS system knew about the new workstation that began being rolled out 6 weeks ago (20 or so branches each week).  Completely state of the art.  You basically have 1 screen with all of the client info and you can place trades, generate docs, view old docs, look at gain/loss, account history, projected income stream, move money, etc....(via dropdown menus).


As for contact management..... I just use MS Outlook.

Jul 7, 2006 5:50 pm
iconsult100:
tivo:

I just joined Morgan from SB and have found the broker workstation to be very outdated.  I joined because of the future potential of this company which I see everyday and it keeps getting better and better.  But in the meantime, how do you Morgan people work your books with this system?  I keep reading about big $$$ new hires from Merrill and can't understand how these Merrill brokers will work using today's MS's system. Am I missing something?  How quickly can MS ramp up the new work station for all these new recruits? Is there a

secret to making a living at MS without excellent technology and client reporting capabilities? 



I'm a little skeptic of this post because I thought everyone in the MS system knew about the new workstation that began being rolled out 6 weeks ago (20 or so branches each week).  Completely state of the art.  You basically have 1 screen with all of the client info and you can place trades, generate docs, view old docs, look at gain/loss, account history, projected income stream, move money, etc....(via dropdown menus).


As for contact management..... I just use MS Outlook.



I forgot to mention that the new system is Real Time.

Jul 7, 2006 7:22 pm

Don't get me wrong I doing incredible production in my first few months, (over 40M monthly).  I was just comparing the systems and tech to other firms.  Go to the MS website and you will see what I'm talking about.  You can't compare it to ML or SB or even UBS.  I know about the rollout, that's why I said it was getting better every day.  I just can't see a ML client that is used to state of the art stuff using MS's current system.


I'm very happy with my move, its just the tech area that is lacking. Then add multi million dollar producers from Merrill going to what appears to be a weaker platform and that is the part I don't understand.  We all know that Merrill's platform is the best, for get about all the other bs about Mother Merrill.

Jul 7, 2006 8:43 pm

I am of the position that technology makes all of the difference if what you are running is a true wealth management practice (as opposed to securites or managed account sales practice). One's ability to aggregate client data, use it in cash flow analysis and integrated scenario analysis makes a tremendous difference in being a financial advisor, particularly for those who draw significant amounts of income from their portfolios or who have complicated situations.


Contact management software that allows one to maintain client information about dependants, set up conferences between several different individuals and communicate client information to outside advisors is huge and a considerable cost savings to both the broker and the firm. Huge. Everything that can be done automatically or easily saves time and time is money.


Of course, if all one does is brokerage or manage money - then who cares? But, for at least what the firm's claim they want - true Wealth Managers, then technology is essential.


Merrill brokers, as I understand it, have been using a version of Outlook and Thompson One, and are currently converting over to a platform designed by Salesforce.com. From what I can tell, everything is about 5 years ahead of UBS and Smith Barney who appear to be distant numbers 2 and 3.


But, from what I gather, the technology is still relatively new to ML brokers. So, it's hard to imagine that too many people have become dependent upon the technology by this time.


The major irony is that for about $3,000 a year, an indy can pretty much have a system that blows away everyone wirehouse. Just giving Smith Barney brokers Outlook would be a huge improvement over their current ancient contact management system which is proprietary and incredibly slow.


MS is SO far behind even UBS and SB that almost anything would be an improvement, but there isn't any reason to believe that they can't give them a tremendous new platform in very short order.

Jul 7, 2006 9:52 pm

Technology is helpful..to a point.


It's all about the referral stream to the true wealth clients.

Jul 9, 2006 5:19 pm
tivo:

Don't get me wrong I doing incredible production in my first few months, (over 40M monthly).  I was just comparing the systems and tech to other firms.  Go to the MS website and you will see what I'm talking about. 


You can't see the broker system on the MS website. I still have doubts about this guy's posts...


You can't compare it to ML or SB or even UBS.  I know about the rollout, that's why I said it was getting better every day.  I just can't see a ML client that is used to state of the art stuff using MS's current system.


The rollout is of a new broker system, but now you've changed gears to what clients use. How about telling us what THAT system lacks, in your opinion. I suspect either you're not for real, or spoke without really knowing the broker system and you're trying to pull a CYA by changing the subject.


I'm very happy with my move, its just the tech area that is lacking. Then add multi million dollar producers from Merrill going to what appears to be a weaker platform and that is the part I don't understand. 


I'm betting you just don't know how to use it yet, or you're using Host and thinking THAT's the system...


We all know that Merrill's platform is the best, for get about all the other bs about Mother Merrill.


We do all know that? Really? Do tell us what's lacking in the new workstation (broker system) or the client system, if you can.

Jul 9, 2006 5:23 pm
iconsult100:
tivo:

I just joined Morgan from SB and have found the broker workstation to be very outdated.  I joined because of the future potential of this company which I see everyday and it keeps getting better and better.  But in the meantime, how do you Morgan people work your books with this system?  I keep reading about big $$$ new hires from Merrill and can't understand how these Merrill brokers will work using today's MS's system. Am I missing something?  How quickly can MS ramp up the new work station for all these new recruits? Is there a

secret to making a living at MS without excellent technology and client reporting capabilities? 



I'm a little skeptic of this post because I thought everyone in the MS system knew about the new workstation that began being rolled out 6 weeks ago (20 or so branches each week).  Completely state of the art.  You basically have 1 screen with all of the client info and you can place trades, generate docs, view old docs, look at gain/loss, account history, projected income stream, move money, etc....(via dropdown menus).


As for contact management..... I just use MS Outlook.



Agreed, Consults. BTW, I've been using Outlook as a contact sytem for at least three years and loading it into my PDA/phone.

Jul 9, 2006 5:44 pm

If you sync Outlook with Act, you can document all your meetings/contacts with a given client, and even attach spreadsheets, PDF files, etc. to the client file.  I believe that Act can also be synced to a PDA, but I haven't bothered since I keep Outlook synced.  Act is a nice contact management system for no more than it costs...I think I paid $40 for my copy.  Starka clued me in on this one (thanks, buddy).

Jul 9, 2006 6:11 pm
Indyone:

If you sync Outlook with Act, you can document all your meetings/contacts with a given client, and even attach spreadsheets, PDF files, etc. to the client file.  I believe that Act can also be synced to a PDA, but I haven't bothered since I keep Outlook synced.  Act is a nice contact management system for no more than it costs...I think I paid $40 for my copy.  Starka clued me in on this one (thanks, buddy).


I haven't tried attaching PDF files, etc, but I can document meetings and conversations in Outlook. I often refer in my notes there to documents held the the dead tree files. What else can ACT do that Outlook can't? Sounds interesting.

Jul 9, 2006 8:56 pm


mikebutler222, since I just started and have been doing the numbers I can't complain much except to say that at SB I had better tools than what I am seeing. But the firm (SB) and its management were in my opinion weak and it was just a bad place to work. Maybe you are right about not being familiar with all that can be done at MS and with its tech.  You would have to see like I have seen the systems at the other firms to understand what I am saying.  From portfolio reviews, mutual fund reports from Morningstar to immediate fixed income reports from your desk top.  The current Wiesenberger (sp) reports for Mutual Funds just don't cut it.  <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


How do you do it?  Have you transferred accounts from Merrill, SB and heard any comments about the website or portfolio review report for example?


 
Jul 9, 2006 10:36 pm

[quote=tivo]

mikebutler222, since I just started and have been doing the numbers I can't complain much except to say that at SB I had better tools than what I am seeing. 


Have used the integrated workstation? I don't know what you had at SB, for all I know it could be better. OTOH, you made it sound like it was impossible to do business with MS's system, the new roll-out being, as I've heard from new hires, as good as it gets.


 


  From portfolio reviews, mutual fund reports from Morningstar to immediate fixed income reports from your desk top.  The current Wiesenberger (sp) reports for Mutual Funds just don't cut it. 


You have, on your desktop, access to MorningStar and there's an excellent Excel based portfolio review program. That last one I can attest to, having seen the competition's product. For an immediate fixed income report for current holdings look to the integrated workstation. If there's a real hole in the system it's the inability to produce a detailed FI proposal on your desktop. For that call the FI desk and they'll knock one out in about an hour. That's one of my biggest complaints, btw.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


How do you do it?  Have you transferred accounts from Merrill, SB and heard any comments about the website or portfolio review report for example?


I've transferred many SB and ML  accounts and have never heard a negative comment about the client website (it's about to get an overhaul, btw). As I said, the portfolio review software is as good as I've ever seen. I'm not sold 100% on all parts of the system, but it isn't as bad as you've said.


Pehaps MS didn't do a good job of showing you how to use the system or you've asked some people in your office what's available and they're using older tools. I know plenty of people that fit that last mold. PM me and I'll see if I can get you some help.

Jul 9, 2006 11:06 pm

I think your right about the initial orientation.  But then again, I am experienced and have been able to get move around the new system better than the older brokers who are still using the HOST system.  So when i go to them, the don't know about the new system.  They can't help me use it, so I have to learn it myself.  That is the problem.


Thanks for the insight. 

Jul 10, 2006 11:08 pm
mikebutler222:

If there's a real hole in the system it's the inability to produce a detailed FI proposal on your desktop. For that call the FI desk and they'll knock one out in about an hour. That's one of my biggest complaints, btw.


Mike, do you do alot of FI business?  If so, you may qualify as FID Gold or FID Select.  There is dedicated website for this that allows you to slice and dice your FI book really well.

Jul 10, 2006 11:45 pm
iconsult100:
mikebutler222:

If
there's a real hole in the system it's the inability to produce a
detailed FI proposal on your desktop. For that call the FI desk and
they'll knock one out in about an hour. That's one of my biggest
complaints, btw.


Mike, do you do alot of FI business?  If so, you may
qualify as FID Gold or FID Select.  There is dedicated
website for this that allows you to slice and dice your FI book really
well.





FID Gold...brings back memories of my internship there. Fun times, but I'd rather be an advisor.