Prudential Securities has set up a call center in Scottsdale, Ariz., to manage small accounts.
Details have yet to be announced, and it was not clear at press time whether the center was up and running. A firm spokesperson would not confirm details. And Colleen Milfelt, call center manager, would only say, “I'm sure [firm officials will] talk when they're ready.”
An East Coast Prudential broker says the word is that the call center will handle accounts worth $25,000 or less and that giving up accounts will be voluntary. “The broker will still get 20% of the earnings from the account if it is placed in the call center,” the rep says.
Some Prudential reps were unhappy about the prospect of getting a lower payout on business handled by the call center, the broker says. But in reality, there's probably not much money at stake. “Most of those are dead accounts anyway,” he adds. The rep also heard that once a call center account reaches $50,000, it goes back to the broker.
Morgan Stanley has confirmed plans to move 4,000 households of unknown size into call centers this year. Merrill Lynch also encourages brokers to transfer accounts under $100,000 to its call center program, named the Financial Advisory Center. Merrill intends to move 500,000 accounts this year.