Rank these firms, from best to worst.

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Rodee's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-19

For someone starting out, what's the firm pecking-order--from best to worst?
Ameriprise, Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, Waddell and Reid, H&R Block Financial, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, AG Edwards...etc.  You don't have to rank them all if you don't want; you can rank your top 3 and bottom 3.

bondo's picture
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Joined: 2007-04-15

Based on what?  Training? Goals? Support? Dress code? Quality of coffee?

HymanRoth's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-25

Waddell and Reed and Ameriprise are definitely top 3 material.......if you like being tortured....

Rodee's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-19

based on overall perception and desirability to work there. 
Is waddell and reed really that sub-par?

HymanRoth's picture
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Rodee wrote:based on overall perception and desirability to work there. 
Is waddell and reed really that sub-par?Unless you get really lucky and get a top-notch mentor to show you the ropes and how to do this business the right way, yes, they are that bad.  A good mentoring experience can make even a lousy firm a good place to start.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

Rodee wrote:For someone starting out, what's the firm pecking-order--from best to worst?
Ameriprise, Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, Waddell and Reid, H&R Block Financial, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, AG Edwards...etc.  You don't have to rank them all if you don't want; you can rank your top 3 and bottom 3.That's quite a question.  Let me ask you this: what is the best car, from best to worst?

Rodee's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-19

Mass-produced cars (discounting the ultra-expensive/rare),
1. Mercedez 550, 2. BWM 7-series, 3. Lexus LS.....worse?  1. Scion, 2. Mazda, 3. Hyundai
 
I'm sure if I thought it through, the list might vary slightly; however, with regard to immediate perception, I choose the above.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

Really?  A Mercedes is always best - even for a plumber that needs to transport all his tools to job sites, or a family of 7 running to school & soccer games?  How about for someone of very limited means?Rodee, if you really think that cars and financial firms can be so glibly and universally ranked from "best to worst" without any further information about a particular Individual's priorities or abilities or budget, you have some learning to do before presuming to advise individuals about managing their financial affairs.  The quality of the questions you ask will determine the quality of the answers you reach. 

Rodee's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-19

It's not a one-size-fits-all question, it's base on your perception and yours alone. 

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Rodee, it's just a really bad question.  Use Edward Jones as an example.  I think that with your list, they are both in the top 3 and the bottom 3.
 
What is it that you want in a firm?  If you answer that, we can probably be of help to you.
 
Personally, I think that for someone starting out an insurance company (NYL, MM, Guardian, NML) is often the best depending on local management.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

The best company is the one that extends to you an offer of employment. Beyond that, with maybe one or two low side exceptions, they are all very much the same.
 
It's all a matter of fit.

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

"-EDJ is widely regarded as a great place to start - but really in a league of it's own in regards to their approach to the business.  Great training, but less technology than the wires"
 
ICE, you need to qualify this.  What exactly are you referring to?  If you can give a few specific examples (not last year, or 5 years ago, or what you saw Spears write, but what you KNOW to be FACT today.
 
I have been told by former ML advisors that our technology is superior to their's.  Not that I care about that, but it really disputes this claim.

bspears's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-08

Watch it Ice..don't underestimate the power of 20$ gas card and LP carrot to some skater kids in metro St Louis.....

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

ICE,
 
Not for nothing, but it's tough to criticize if you are not even aware of what we have. 
When you say "less software/apps, less hardware", I'm not sure what that could possibly be referring to.  Less bandwidth?  I have a T-1, not sure what else I need.  Yes, some offices "only " have DSL, but still, not sure how much faster you need?  Less IT staff - than what?
 
-We no longer use satellites (except for our in-office broadcasts)
-We are having check scanners installed in all offices
-Vastly upgraded color laser printers
-Statement E-delivery
-Financial Assesment Software (which pulls all personal & financial data directly from our porfolio & contact management system)
-All reports for all applications, in addition to hard copies of anything can be electronically archived.
-Have access to calendar through PDA's.
-Rollout of "Relationship Manager" tool.  It is basically a cetnral database and tracking system for all investments, services, conversations, financial plans, account history
-Interactive tool for building ads, flyers, invitations, etc.
-Morningstar on desktop
-Quote monitor
-Detailed, daily performance/commission/expense reporting that is sortable, trackable, etc. on our desktop
-We can create any lists we want from clients/prospects at the touch of a button.
-Portfolio of thousands of customizable letters
-Customizable Press Releases
-ACH On Demand
-Web-dial
-Fund Multi-Buy system
-Most people agree that our Contact Management System is better than most (and fully integrated with all the software on our desktop).
 
I'm not going to get into all the little "nuances" of everything else that has been upgraded and improved, but suffice it to say that we have more than enough technology compared to other firms.
I am also not trying to "spread the Kool-aide".  But it's irritating when people that either don't work for Jones, or have not worked here for years try to diminish what we have.
 

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

bspears wrote:Watch it Ice..don't underestimate the power of 20$ gas card and LP carrot to some skater kids in metro St Louis.....
 
That might be funny...but I don't get it???

bspears's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-08

B24, did you take that info off the brochure you got in the Merril meet and greet? Come on...fess up....

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

bspears wrote:
B24, did you take that info off the brochure you got in the Merril meet and greet? Come on...fess up....
 
Were you there too?
 
(by the way, what the he11 is a Merrill meet and greet?)

Spaceman Spiff's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-08

iceco1d wrote:
 EDJ can't afford to spend what would be required to catch up to ML/SB/MS in a paultry 3 years. 

 
Can, and have.  
 
I hear people, mostly on this forum, say things like this and it makes me wonder what technology I'm missing.  What do the wires have the ability to do that I don't.  The only thing I've heard of that would be interesting, but not useful to me, would to have the ability to do a global trade.  Meaning, if I have discretionary trading authority in all accounts, want to sell all of my AMCPX and trade it for ITHAX, I can do it with just a few clicks.  Like I said, that would be cool, but not useful in our environment. 
 
I'd also like to have the phone ring and have a small window pop up on my computer screen telling me who is on the phone and giving me a link to their primary account.  Oh wait, they're working on that with the new phone systems they're putting in our offices.
 
Finally, I'd like a scanner that I can put my client's financial documents through and then have it recognize stock symbols, fund symbols, dollar amounts, names, birthdates, etc, then take that info, create a current portfolio and a proposed portfolio complete with perfect asset allocation, create financial statements, retirement projections, and wealth transfer exmples, and spit out all reports bound and tabbed for easy presentation to the client.  All in about 5 minutes BTW.   Am I asking too much?       

Greenbacks's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-21

Finally, I'd like a scanner that I can put my client's financial documents through and then have it recognize stock symbols, fund symbols, dollar amounts, names, birthdates, etc, then take that info, create a current portfolio and a proposed portfolio complete with perfect asset allocation, create financial statements, retirement projections, and wealth transfer exmples, and spit out all reports bound and tabbed for easy presentation to the client.  All in about 5 minutes BTW.   Am I asking too much?    

When a firm can do this they will not need you!

Spaceman Spiff's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-08

No, I still need to be there to be able to find new suckers...I mean clients.  And to collect the fees I'm gonna charge every year for the ongoing services of my scanner.   
My blood sugar must be getting low.  I think I'll go get something to eat. 

william's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-12

Very good analysis.  Thanks

donatello's picture
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Joined: 2007-12-22

I love reading B24 and Spears on the tech issues. EDJ spent $500m on technology two years ago for the first time in 10??? years??? Merrill spends a billion every couple of years? I left a little over two years ago and DID NOT HAVE e-mail. That's not long ago.
 
Guys-you don't have a clue about this. Ice is right-definately not worth your time trying to defend them on their tech savvy. You look silly. No way a Merrill person would ever say EDJ has better technology. Not happening.

Spaceman Spiff's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-08

You guys are doing a great job making a point about how the technology was when you were at Jones a few years ago, but you're doing a piss poor job proving that what you are saying is true now.  Just because you believe it is true, doesn't make it true.  When you can come back with an arguement better than nuh uh, this can turn into a decent discussion.  It may even help the original poster make a decision.  Why don't you tell us what we're missing.  I can't remember how many times this discussion has happend, but I know it's a lot.  I have yet had anyone who actually knows anything give me a clear answer. 
The only thing I know of is a Monte Carlo simulator.  No spears, that's not an online gambling reference.  The software we use for our FAST tools does have a Monte Carlo module to it.  However, Jones isn't comfortable with all of the math they're using to come up with the projections.  So, until they write one themselves or find one that is acceptable, we're missing that tool.   What else am I missing?

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

D -
You are right, Jones was WAAAAAY late to the party on technology (and damn near everything they do).  But they came, and I honestly would like to know what technology advantages exist at Merrill today (not two years ago).

MISS JONES's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-28

Rodee wrote: Mass-produced cars (discounting the ultra-expensive/rare),
1. Mercedez 550, 2. BWM 7-series, 3. Lexus LS.....worse?  1. Scion, 2. Mazda, 3. Hyundai
 
I'm sure if I thought it through, the list might vary slightly; however, with regard to immediate perception, I choose the above.

Wow, now we know you are an idot! Thanks for showing us this side of you early on into the relationship.. Note to all.. This guy should work at H&R, WR or better yet Ameriprise.

Good luck dude!

Rodee's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-19

I didn't say they are the best/worst cars.  I said "my immediate perception."  It's what comes to mind immediately, without thinking it through.  Kinda like word association, branding...etc.  If I WERE to think it through and not go with instinct/instant perception, etc.. it would be a different list completely. 

snaggletooth's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-13

B24 wrote:D -
You are right, Jones was WAAAAAY late to the party on technology (and damn near everything they do).  But they came, and I honestly would like to know what technology advantages exist at Merrill today (not two years ago).
 
I don't think all the latest up-to-the-minute technological advances mean too much.  I don't think I've lost much if any business because I wasn't able to generate the nicest looking report. 
 
I've got a very basic technological system.  People work with me, not because my PDA can access my calendar.  Some of you will say that "the technology makes me more efficient".  I don't think I've met one advisor that spends every minute of each day so efficiently that it really matters.
 
I also think too many rookies get too caught up in the technology and building reports and this and that.  If they had hardly a shell of technology they would probably be better off because they would have nothing to do but talk to people.
 
Good for you guys with awesome technological platforms!  I'm sure there's some cool things you can do.

anabuhabkuss's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-02

MISS JONES wrote: Rodee wrote: Mass-produced cars (discounting the ultra-expensive/rare),
1. Mercedez 550, 2. BWM 7-series, 3. Lexus LS.....worse?  1. Scion, 2. Mazda, 3. Hyundai
 
I'm sure if I thought it through, the list might vary slightly; however, with regard to immediate perception, I choose the above. Wow, now we know you are an idot! Thanks for showing us this side of you early on into the relationship.. Note to all.. This guy should work at H&R, WR or better yet Ameriprise. Good luck dude!
 
There she goes again. While what you say may be right, you have absolutely no evidence/reason/personal experience to believe half the crap you spew on this site. Why do you continue to do it? Think for yourself for once.

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