Morgan Stanley Dean Witter brokers remain charged up by the perceived power of their firm on the Street. Three years after the merger, many still point to its benefits.
"Everyone who was at Dean Witter before the merger feels much better," says one respondent. "There's a lot more to this company than there used to be. The research is better. The products and services are better. The public image is higher. The internal morale is higher."
In particular, reps repeatedly mention research as their favorite feature of MSDW. "It's unbiased and they don't pull any punches with it," says a broker.
Some producers are less enamored with the firm's commitment to the discount MSDW Online channel. "I don't like the Internet push," says a respondent. "And I can do without the do-without-your-broker packets they send clients."
Many reps, however, say the firm's leadership is on the right track. Confides one broker: "I'd hate to see what our stock would do if Phil Purcell retired. He's a real visionary." Another adds, "The firm is incredibly focused and financially very strong."
MSDW's weak spot is the same one at other wirehouses. Reps blast the firm for low numbers of sales assistants. The sales assistant issue "is a black eye for us," grumbles one broker. "Low pay and high turnover is not a good combination."
That said, respondents seem pleased overall. "I'm happy as a lark," a broker says. "If I weren't married, I'd work here 24 hours a day."
"We're well positioned on the Street. We stay out of trouble."
"They're hiring kids right out of college who haven't established any business contacts. It would be better if they hired more people who have established a network for success."
"There's a great work ethic here. They don't pressure us on what to sell."
"CEO Phil Purcell is a genius. He knows where the industry is going and he's got great focus. That's why our firm gets A-plus ratings."