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What does Your Asst Do for You?

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Mar 29, 2007 10:01 pm

The meeting didn't happen today, scheduled for tomorrow.

I had a very good meeting with the bank President, though, reviewing his vision for the program.  He was exceedingly complimentary of me and what I have done so far, and told me I have his total support.  I didn't go into the SA issue, probably should have, as I hadn't met with my Mgr. yet and didn't want to step on toes.  He sees me as the Department Head, and is interested in any ideas I bring to the table (firing my SA?)

Anway, I had another episode with her (the SA) to add fuel to the fire.  I was at another branch and came back to have the meeting that never happened, walked in and said Hi to her, and she ignored me.  Then I go to my Mgr's office to attend the meeting, and the bank President is in there, along with HR, and all I could think was WHAT did she say about me while I was gone?  I loaded her with tasks last night, so I thought she was probably pissed as usual at me that I gave her work.

Well, while waiting for them to conclude their meeting, Lending calls, and my phone was still set to Out of the Office.  My SA takes the call, and next thing you know, she's walking back to HER office with the prospect!  I was FURIOUS.  She starts talking to him, and qualifying him, and going on and on about college planning.  It was all I could do to sit there.  I would have barged in, but it would not have looked good to the guy.

So when he left, I called her in and said "What was that all about?"  She told me he wanted to talk about financing for college, not investments.  I asked her why she was meeting with him, and she said "Don't worry - it wasn't anything to do with investments".  I told her that wasn't the point, that I was here, and why didn't she tell me he was coming in and I could have met with him.  She said that I was in a meeting.  I told her no, she saw me walk in, and I was right there the whole time.  She then said Lending couldn't reach me by phone.  I asked her "why didn't you just pop in, let me know the situation, ask me if I wanted to meet with him" rather than just meeting with him herself.  She had this totally EVIL smirk on her face, and said to me "I told you, it wasn't about investments". 

It's not that I don't want her meeting with potential prospects.  But the deal has been I meet them, and then she sets up an appt for them to come in at a later time for a real meeting.  There has NEVER been any discussion about her taking people on and sitting down and discussing needs, etc.  Again, I am not at all opposed to that, what I am opposed to is someone just doing whatever the heck they feel like doing, rather than checking in and asking first.

The other day I asked her to compile the statements I had requested for a cost basis issue for a client and instead, I found when I got in (again this happened while I was away at another branch), she spend the WHOLE morning, calculating cost basis which got nixed by compliance, because we can't do those calculations, the CPA has to.  She just did what she wanted when I had asked her to do something different.

I think - as others have pointed out - that she has a VERY hard time being an asst.  She doesn't realize that it can grow into more than that, but the admin work comes first, and that she has to learn to take direction - from ME.  I can't have someone just going off doing whatever they please.  We have to work in concert, and first and foremost her job is to SUPPORT me.

In retrospect, I wish I HAD brought it up with the President because he is much more of a business person rather than touchy-feely and I think would understand that the roles HAVE to be clarified to her, so that she - for lack of better words - knows her place.  That is not meant to demean her.  There just can't be two chiefs.  Someone has to be one, and they picked me.  It's clear she doesn't like that, but not her choice.

Will post again after the meeting tomorrow.

Mar 29, 2007 10:12 pm

Sorry, but you're starting to sound a little drama queenish here.

And then I said, and then she said, so I said. Oh no you di nt!, Oh yes I di id! You go girlfren!

Sorry, just keepin it real! 

Mar 29, 2007 10:20 pm

She's trying to take over your job, the b*tch.  She's not to be trusted and doesn't look like you can work with her. ...That's why Johnny didn't like Joan Rivers and he gave her her first big break.  Ask for a new assistant and tell her to hit the road jack and don't you come back no more no more no more no more.

Mar 30, 2007 2:09 am

Yah, bro… just git r done, now! This is taking too much of your space!

Mar 30, 2007 3:56 am


What you seem to have run into is a violation of Parkinson’s Law.<o:p></o:p>

The solution is exceedingly simple. Hire a second part timer to share the duties of the first.

What this does is establish in the mind of the first part timer that you and she are NOT at the same level (which seems to be her major malfunction). You are her superior and this is evidenced to her by the fact that there are two of her and only one of you.

Parkinson used this observation to explain the geometric growth of any bureaucracy. By taking advantage of this law you enhance your reputation as a problem solver and you have, indeed expanded you own "empire' within the system. All of your superiors will start to see you as an equal in that you are now a "supervisor".

It'll be worth it to you over the long term even if you have to pay out of your pocket (not to mention, it'll scare the poop outta' the existing steno) but, try to get the branch manager to assign a teller part time or something!


I like your solution!
Mar 30, 2007 4:10 am

[quote=Ashland]I've given my assistant 5 roles --

1 -- Set 5 appt's per day. For appt's she sets she has the acct statements printed out prior to the meeting & the Morningstar Principia done for positions. I have her focus on DWF acct's as my computer is really slow & it's totally frustrating to deal w/ statements & DST Vision. 2 hrs per day.

2 -- Help create training. I sit down w/ each of my PB's weekly for 10 minutes to give them a focus for the week. I ask my assistant to get materials together & sell me on the idea of the training as well as how it should be delivered. This helps me keep myself up to date on good marketing materials & helps her understand how to sell the concept vs the product. This takes her 2-3 hrs per week.

3 -- Marketing Coordinator. Mailings, birthday cards, and making the most of what we have as a firm. This also includes helping create seminars, etc. We're not doing seminars right now because we're seeing 4 - 5 people per day after the market declines. 4 hrs per week. She provides me w/ the mailing list for the previous week which is my calling list above & beyond my follow-ups. We don't do letters, but brochures & planning or investment information. This gives me the opportunity to reinforce the right relationship w/ 10 - 15 of our best clients or potential clients per week. 3 - 4 hrs per week.

4 -- Handling the tough stuff & maintenance. I do my own paperwork at acct opening. This way I know it's done right the first time. Not that she won't do it right(Sometimes I wonder! Last week she ordered business cards w/ the wrong # on them!), but the acct opening process often allows for further selling to occur. I set 4 - 5 appt's for her a week on things that clients need to get done that aren't selling related. She often works as a nurse in this way. She'll meet with the client to get the service work done & then I'll check in to make sure nothing has changed in their lives. A lot of time!

5 -- Handling sub-C clients. Yeah, those $5000 - $10,000 acct's. Gotta serve 'em cause they'll one day be $50 - $100,000 acct's! Thankfully, a lot of these folks don't demand attention. As much time as needed.

We meet weekly for 1 hr to discuss the above, and email throughout the week. She wasn't always like this. I inherited her from a couple of reps who used her just for admin stuff. I think the reason she has improved is that she has VERY clear daily goals & we weekly talk about the direction we want the business to go. She plays a very active role in this process & feels that her role is important and contributes to the bottom line.

I try to make her feel that she's the most important person in the business because, to me, she is! She sets 12 - 15 appt's per week. I've asked her to focus on having me sit w/ 2 B clients(250K - $500K investable assets) per day & 1 A client(>$500K investable assets) per day. She's getting better at talking w/ HNW people. I think she'll help me increase revenue by $100 - $150K this year. With her help I may earn her full time next year![/quote]

Well, actually that would be 'doubling' the expenses:  2 part-timers: = one fulltimer.  I like Ashand's way of handling an assistant best out of the other ideas presented here...: clearly stating goals, expectations, working on motivating the assistant so she/he sees how the fit into the overall picture.   Make her feel like she's part of a team.  Besides a pool of (2 part-timers) can both go against the boss and then where's the "empire". 

If she's working against you, then, she's not for you.  Have a little chat and make sure she knows your expectations for her; otherwise, get another assistant.  Communication is key.  A bad job is a job where you can't communicate with the boss and vice versa.

oh well...back to downloading songs for my ipod. fer sure, fer sure.

Mar 30, 2007 3:32 pm

He doesn't have the opportunity to hire/fire another assistant because of the structure of the bank environment.  The BANK must fire her, and in this litigious day and age, they must have solid grounds for firing anybody.  Bank are conservative by nature (in some ways, in others not), so they aren't just going to kick her to the curb as quickly as, for example, an indy might.

Hiring two assistants isn't the answer either.  Why should he pick up the bill for another assistants salary and let the first girl coast???  That is a slippery slope he doesn't want to go down (picking up expenses) on a bank grid.  He already has no access to bank clients, he might as well go indy if he's going to start paying for an assistant.

Best thing to do is keep leaning on her like he has started.  It will get worse before it gets better, and it may take a blow up from a bank customer, but eventually the situation will come to a boiling point, and it will be dealt with then.

Mar 30, 2007 4:37 pm

"but eventually the situation will come to a boiling point, and it will be dealt with then."

Which will be him looking for another job!

He's MUCH more the path of least resistance. Which of these two would you let go? The go getter that steals clients or the (sorry) whiney one who chronicles every non said hello?

Maybe his path should be to get her moved on up and out to a branch of her own.

Another idea is to pass her name on to headhunters and tell them she's a real up and commer, she ought to be working at a real bank someplace!

Mar 30, 2007 5:21 pm

Questions and Suggestions

1. Is your SA licensed and registered with the B/D? or does she just hold a license.  My BOA at Jones was licensed but she was not allowed to do anything remotely resembling IR work.  If you SA is meeting with clients and giving them information about college plans, that is investment advice.  Even just doing hypothetical planning is a sticky wicket because we can call ourselves planners without a 66 or 65.   Non compliance should be a big worry for the Bank and the B/D if this is the case.

2. Is she employed by the Bank or the Broker Dealer?  It makes a big difference on who pays her as to who you need to contact about her activities.   The B/D should be concerned about her non compliant, if they are that, meeting with customers.

3. Why are you not going to Chamber meetings yourself?  This is your opportunity to network and shine.  Don't delegate that.

I would:

Write demand to see her job desciption.  If there isn't one then write one yourself and/or demand the bank or b/d do so.   It should include detailed description of the SA duties, expectations, goals including time lines and especially detail the activities that your SA is not allowed to do.    I expect you have a job description as well. If not you should write one for yourself (for your position) with the same details. 

Write a letter (in a professional and not whiney way) that lays out these expectations and the deviations your SA has from them.  Leave out all the stuff that seems personal.  It isn't about personalities. It is about the job, the efficency of the program and being able to present a professional face to your supervisors and to the general public. Attach the job description for her and the one for yourself.  You should stress that the point is to make the program more efficient and profitable.  If the SA and Rep can work together as a team the BANK WILL MAKE MORE MONEY . The bank is always about the bottom line. 

In addition you should stress that you are also outlining the non  issues because it is causing confusion in the clients as to who is their account representative and to cover yourself when the clients complain or if it is discovered that the SA is breaking the rules, being non compliant and putting the Bank, the B/D and yourself in jeopardy.  That should get their attention.

Mar 30, 2007 5:24 pm

non  issues  =  non compliance issues    

Mar 30, 2007 8:49 pm

Which one would I let go?  LOL, I am not quite sure...

Door #1)  A broker who gets run over and disrespected by his assistant to the point it becomes an issue to be addressed by management...

Door #2)  A very aggressive (prehaps a loose cannon?) sales assistant that has shown a lack of respect for her superiors...

Mar 30, 2007 8:52 pm


These days a lot of folks have "dual employee" status, especially at smaller banks that must contract out their B/D, such as with UVEST/LPL, INVEST, SSN, etc.

Commissions are generated at B/D, they take their cut and send the bank the rest, and then they pay the broker along with their other bene's, and the rest is profit.

Mar 30, 2007 9:17 pm



These days a lot of folks have "dual employee" status, especially at smaller banks that must contract out their B/D, such as with UVEST/LPL, INVEST, SSN, etc.

Commissions are generated at B/D, they take their cut and send the bank the rest, and then they pay the broker along with their other bene's, and the rest is profit.


It was that way at my bank brokerage long ago. Dual employee.  I know some do now contract from outside and some are internal. Was just wondering for the OP which way it was for him.  It would make a difference on how he would approach this issue.

The other solution is antifreeze in the cream filled pastries. 

Joking!!! don't waste good pastries.