When UBS Warburg bought PaineWebber last year, reps were a bit unsettled, unsure of what to expect.
The mood now: So far, so good. The “UBS” prefix was added in March, and Joe Grano took over as chairman for Don Marron in August. Nothing else has changed, and that's fine with the retail rank and file.
“The alliance with UBS has solidified [the firm's] posture for the future,” one happy producer says.
“This firm has an incredible focus and vision of where it wants to go, which is to be the No. 1 firm serving high-net-worth clients,” adds another rep.
Freedom to conduct business without interference — always important — remains. “We're free to manage assets any way we feel is best,” one rep says. However, UBS PaineWebber is pushing its sales force to focus on high-net-worth clients, respondents say.
The firm's introduction of new products, such as hedge funds and equity-linked fixed-income securities, receives favorable comments.
As well, UBS PaineWebber's technology scores positive remarks. The firm is “a lot better at getting more of our technology up to date,” one respondent says. “It was falling behind for many years.” And although brokers have the usual industrywide complaints about clients not understanding account statements, some reps actually like them.
Sales assistants are well-regarded, but, of course, the firm's brokers would like more of them and better training for the ones they have. Several complained about a hiring freeze on sales assistants. Similar human resources gripes afflict operations. “They need to hire more people,” a rep says.
But overall, as major brokerages go, UBS PaineWebber is not bad, according to its reps. “Our firm is for the down-to-earth individual with more of a personal touch,” concludes one producer. “It's not [a place] where they put a lot of pressure on you.”
|Firm Score||Average: All Firms|
|Freedom from pressure to sell certain products||9.10||9.23|
|Realistic sales quotas||8.46||8.65|
|The firm's hiring and recruiting practices||7.42||7.66|
|Quality of sales assistants||7.96||7.87|
|Quantity of sales assistants||6.82||7.20|
|Quality of sales ideas||7.16||7.82|
|The quote and information system||8.84||8.70|
|Quality of the firm's operations||7.60||7.96|
|Quality of the firm's research||7.16||7.54|
|The firm's fixed-income pricing||7.58||7.77|
|Quality of the products offered||7.84||8.64|
|Your branch manager||8.22||8.31|
|The firm's strategic focus||8.12||8.25|
|Overall ethics of the firm||9.08||9.31|
|The firm's image with the public||8.74||8.54|