AGE Brokers must wonder what

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fritz's picture
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Joined: 2006-01-11

in the world happened to them.  Very sad, company with nice little rep gone right down the toilet. 

eggward's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-06

And the choir says, "Amen."

Bud  Fox's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-20

Hopefully we get picked up here real quick by someone with a little better track record....
 
At this point, C or WFC looks better than WB....  Or maybe JPM has a trump card in their back pocket...

shredder's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-04

Bud Fox wrote:Hopefully we get picked up here real quick by someone with a little better track record....
 
At this point, C or WFC looks better than WB....  Or maybe JPM has a trump card in their back pocket...
C??? Oh please help us...anyone but them! That's just out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

The way we're going, there soon won't be any wirehouses or super-regionals.  Looks like we'll end up being bank, independent or Edward Jones...egads...

Broker Fee's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

Friday...WB stock was beat down $3 to $10 a share & in the afterhours market the company lost another $1.5 now trading under $8.50.
The writing is on the wall & only a matter of time (won't be long) wheather WS brokers will become SB brokers or Wells Fargo brokers. Bloomberg is reporting that the potential acquirers are simply waiting to pounce after WB teeters.
 
It is a shame what became of the old AGE and it's interesting with all of these national bank M&A deals the regionals like Ray Jay, Stiefel & yes even Jones remain independent & are doing well in this environment. Makes one wonder what would have become of AGE if Bagby didn't sell out the company for a buck. Would they have been able to survive and perhaps even thrive through this mania.

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-08

AGE shares always seemed to lag the market, analysts said it was always overvalued and that they paid the fc's too much. That being said, AGE didn't have 122 billion of crud in California. My guess is WFC would be the pick just from a stability standpoint. C and the Spanish bank - who knows? SF and RJ are definitely bucking the trend, good for them.

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

Bud Fox wrote:Hopefully we get picked up here real quick by someone with a little better track record....
 
At this point, C or WFC looks better than WB....  Or maybe JPM has a trump card in their back pocket...Hey Bud,My condolences to you and my other former AGE colleagues, who deserve better.  Having said that, and recalling an earlier conversation we had here about staying put or going independent, what do you think all this turmoil and (likely) yet another corporate change is likely to do to your clients' comfort level?  I know my clients have been uniformly saying they are more relieved than ever now to be out of AGE/Wachovia with all the recent  turmoil. And I'm relieved to not have to be worried about my firm, and hoping about who might pick us up and what that might mean for me and my clients.  We've all got enough to worry about with the markets.  Who needs the additional uncertainty?

Bud  Fox's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-20

I wish I would have gotten out when the gittin was good...With all of this uncertainty, where does one go?  I feel like a boat in the middle of the ocean without any navigational equipment and my clients are behind me in a dinghy connected with a couple of shoestrings that could give anytime.  The absolute last company  that I want to have to explain is taking us over is Banco Santander.  It will be just like when Wachovia bought AGE.  Every clients response was,  "WHO is that?"  I do not wanna have to do that again.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

You have the power to make it stop, or to continue as a passenger where ever the train happens to take you.  But nothing is without risk.  You simply have to realize that the risk of going is less than the risk of staying.As the VW commercial says, "There are passengers and there are drivers.  Drivers wanted."

GoingIndy????'s picture
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Joined: 2007-07-01

funny how many of my former AGE reps are all kicking themselves for not going indy a year ago.  Now they're all looking at it.  Best move ever.  Curious if the other wirehouse reps will learn anything from this experience.  Probably not, most of the lemmings will now go from bank to bank.  Love it, easy to pick up clients that now see their advisors are only in it for the check. (oops, those may not be that rewarding anymore)

Broker Fee's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

News is breaking now that C will acquire WB.
Wachovia Securities IS NOT part of the transaction.
 
Maybe C didn't want to pay the legacy AGE brokers more retention money on top of what WB had already paid? 

GoingIndy????'s picture
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Joined: 2007-07-01

AGE reps and WS reps left to fend for themselves.  Gut tells me not included in the deal since Citi may still need to spin off SB, so why deal with the process of bringing Wachovia Securities over. 

IsOldSpiceRightForMe's picture
Joined: 2008-04-14

If SB was spun off, how would that work, would it be it's own company again?

GoingIndy????'s picture
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Joined: 2007-07-01

If SB was spunoff I would believe it to become a public company, but who knows these days.  Probably better to go private.  Now with ML going to BAC, Citi may do its best to keep Smith Barney. 
 
I'm just trying to think of reasons why Citi wouldn't take the securities side and come up with these thoughts:
 
1) Won't take liability of previous retention bonuses,
2) They have no capital for new retention bonuses
3) Concerns of ability to keep SB anyway so not worth the hassle.
4) too many low end producers, why bother with it, especially now.
5) why take the risk right now in case things really get depression bad, why buy an asset base that won't be worth anything once clients cash out of managed accts, stocks, etc. (scariest of all for the industry), people will still make deposits and cash checks, so only buy the bank portion. 
 
 
 

Broker Fee's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

6. Together SB & Wacky would have over 30,000 brokers.  Maybe they didn't want to have to deal with the regulatory issues associated with forming the world's biggest brokerage firm.
 
just another thougt.
 

GoingIndy????'s picture
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Joined: 2007-07-01

Broker Fee:  Good point on #6.  

Sportsfreakbob's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-24

They actually stated that today - that they dont need another 20,000 brokers (i know, its actually 14000.). Thats what was stated in the Registered Rep article on the front page of this website.With all the shit they are talking at Citi about how recent events validate their model, i dont think they are planning to sell SB. But nobody knows what happens tomorrow, things change so fast.

Bud  Fox's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-20

So is WB still a wire or back to being a regional?  My head is just spinning over all of this.  I cannot think of 1 good thing that occurred to us legacy AGE guys since WB took us over.  And Bagby said we could not stand alone any longer... Did I hear correctly when CNBC said that  Danny Ludeman said we will now go buy a bank???   WTF....

nestegg's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-14

Honestly this is the best outcome...we are rid of WB which was where all the negativity was...and getting sold to Citi would have been much worse...I am very happy being a brokerage firm again...granted we could still get bought by another bank...but I am not unhapy at all over the outcome.

Broker Fee's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

If I were still in your shoes I would feel the same way.
Hopefully you will be allowed to remain a stand alone b/d & I believe you guys will be fine & a much better place to work. Ludemann & Steel should immediately rename the firm AG Edwards & bring back that stupid egg!!!
(errr forget about that last part).

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-08

I think Danny need to change his universal model mantra, rename the firm AG Edwards, and let us model ourselves after Ray Jay. And how exactly do you confirm his "we are well capitalized" claim. Wasn't Steel saying that last week about WB?

josephus's picture
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Joined: 2005-06-23

Why does WB think they can make it as a stand alone brokerage house? Are they planning on riding the returns from Evergreen? Not likely.Many shops with much stronger names, have already gone by the board. Others are barely hanging on. Some are only making the grade by becoming banks in order to get access to Fed Funds to shore up their capital positions.I just do not understand why Wachovia feels it is so different that it can be a viable entity going forward.

BenGram's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-30

So what is represented by WB stock? And who's on the hook for preferreds?
 

"Moody's lowered Wachovia's preferred stock rating to Ba3 from A3 and placed it under review with direction uncertain. Moody's also placed the B financial strength rating of Wachovia's bank and thrifts on review for possible downgrade. The Prime-1 rating on the bank, and the Prime-1 commercial paper rating on Wachovia Corporation were affirmed.
and :
"The severe downgrade of Wachovia Corporation's preferred stock to Ba3 from A3 reflects the expected substantial increase in leverage at the holding company, whose major assets will be the operations of the retail brokerage Wachovia Securities and Evergreen Asset Management. The review with direction uncertain reflects the uncertainty regarding the future financial profile of Wachovia Corporation. Key considerations that will determine the future rating direction for the preferred stock include the strategic and financial plans for the newly constituted holding company, its capital structure, and the operating earnings of this entity given its new business mix
and :
Separately, Fitch has placed Wachovia Bank on Rating Watch Evolving and downgraded Wachovia Corporation's long-term IDR to 'BB-' from 'A +'. A complete list of affected ratings follows the end of the release. In exchange for all its bank operations, Wachovia Corporation will receive approximately $2.2 billion in Citigroup stock. In addition, Wachovia Corporation is expected to be left with two operating businesses, Wachovia Securities (retail brokerage, including AG Edwards) and Evergreen Asset Management. The balance sheet is expected to be funded with the remaining $9.8 billion in outstanding preferred stock and several billion in equity. There is a meaningful possibility that the earnings of the remaining businesses will be strong enough to service the preferred dividends. Alternatively, it is possible that a merger partner may emerge for the residual Wachovia Corporation. However, the downgrade of Wachovia Corporation reflects Fitch's view of the considerable uncertainty surrounding these assumptions, particularly as Wachovia Securities would be carved away from the bank and no longer benefit from existing synergies. Fitch expects Citigroup to post bottom line losses yet again in third- quarter 2008 (3Q'08) as U.S. consumer problems and other charges weigh on results. If Citi's losses continue in future quarters and asset quality problems continue to escalate, notwithstanding the acquisition of Wachovia, then Fitch will likely downgrade Citi's ratings, though likely not below the 'A+' level. On the other hand, if profitability is restored and asset quality issues begin to stabilize, then there is the possibility that the Rating Watch Negative could be removed. For Wachovia bank creditors, the Citigroup transaction strengthens their credit position although Wachovia Corporation preferred holders' position will hinge on the retail brokerage business, which will comprise most of Wachovia's remaining operations if this transaction is completed. The FDIC-assisted transaction is expected to close on Dec. 31, 2008 and is subject to approval by Wachovia shareholders and the Federal Reserve. FDIC approval has already been received. This acquisition is considered a net strategic positive by substantially increasing Citi's retail and middle market banking franchises in the United States. Citi's deposit share in the U.S. is estimated to increase from 3.4% to 9.8% once this deal closes. Worldwide, total deposits are expected to exceed $1.2 trillion and total assets are expected to reach $2.9 trillion. Integration of operations will be challenging given the scope of this transaction, but potential expense synergies are considerable. As part of the deal, Citi will receive loss protection from the FDIC on a pool of Wachovia's assets totaling $312 billion, consisting of $156 billion of residential mortgages (including the option ARM portfolio), $100 billion of commercial real estate, and $56 billion of other assets. At closing, a purchase accounting adjustment of $30 billion will be taken on this pool. Thereafter, Citi's losses on that portfolio will be capped at a total of $12 billion, up to a maximum of $4 billion per year for the next three years. The FDIC is responsible for any losses exceeding this amount. To compensate the FDIC for its loss protection arrangement, Citi is issuing preferred stock and warrants to the FDIC with a fair value of $12 billion. In addition, Citi plans to issue $10 billion of common stock to the public markets and cut the common dividend by 50%. On a proforma basis, the Tier I ratio would stand at 8.8% and the Leverage ratio at 5.2%. These ratios factor in regulatory capital relief on the $312 billion asset pool noted above. The pending sale of Citi's German retail operations would add approximately 50 basis points to the Tier I ratio. Most Wachovia bank level ratings have been placed on Rating Watch Evolving, reflecting potential credit improvement if this transaction closes as proposed, as well as potential downside if the transaction does not close and absent a similar or better transaction. Under the proposed transaction, depositors and other creditors, including all senior unsecured, subordinated debt and trust preferred holders, of Wachovia's bank subsidiaries will become depositors and creditors of Citigroup or one of its subsidiaries. If shareholders fail to approve the transaction, absent a competing offer, ratings for most bank obligations would likely deteriorate significantly. Similarly, because in the proposed transaction, Citigroup would assume all senior and subordinated debt of Wachovia Corporation, those obligations are also placed on Rating Watch "

Bud  Fox's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-20

I think Bob Steel will give Danny Boy the boot, merge up with MS, become CEO of MS, and cut the bottom feeding 25-30% producing WB(AGE) brokers.  Maybe substitute the MS with WFC.  Forget about the AGE name ever coming back since the son had opened his B/D in STL.

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-08

The return of the AGE name is wishful thinking. It will never happen, I agree. I'd be curious to see the defection list now!

burtonfinancial1's picture
Joined: 2008-09-30

What do you mean by 'when the gettin' was good'? Solid producers have options all over the place and nobody is tightening up the purse strings to make things happen.. at least not yet. 

Broker Fee's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

Gordon Gekko wrote:The return of the AGE name is wishful thinking. It will never happen, I agree. I'd be curious to see the defection list now!
 
I would bet a weeks commission that the defetions go WAY above 3% now...lol
Just wait until the 3 day weekend holidays start rolling in over the next couple of months!
I'm hearing from my old peers still at WS that there will be a mass exodus many of their clients (legacy AGE clients) are tired of the circus & are demanding change or else... 

burtonfinancial1's picture
Joined: 2008-09-30

I have to agree. The mass defection is underway as guys are 'talking'  Takes 1-3 months to make the move happen. I predict 2 surges out the door.. Thanksgiving and Xmas. 10%+ leave in Q4 I say. They're all getting blitzed and deals are still strong.

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-08

Holidays are pretty popular, aren't they? Especially end of the year. I hae not rec'd a ton of calls, sort of shocked. Maybe Mer, SB, MS are too busy dealing with their own crud.

fritz's picture
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Joined: 2006-01-11

From what I hear sale has to be done soon, as clients are fed up with the b.s.  They wait too long and its worth nothing.

rocky's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-17

As a guy who is at ML, I am happy right now.  BOA gives us an anchor in a terrible time, plus Mr. Thain was able to get .8586% per BOA share for every ML share.  Thus taking care of the shareholder and the FA.  He made a good move and I am glad I moved last year.
 
I wish everyone luck, but it was a hard journey.  I always thought I was a lifer.

rocky's picture
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Gordon Gekko wrote:I think Danny need to change his universal model mantra, rename the firm AG Edwards, and let us model ourselves after Ray Jay. And how exactly do you confirm his "we are well capitalized" claim. Wasn't Steel saying that last week about WB?
 
Ahh, Danny...
 
Last year at the big Roadshows he said AGE could not stay independent and they had to merge with a leader like Wachovia.
 
Now my friends tell me he gets on the conference calls with the same brokers he told last year about not being able to stay independent in a competitive enviroment that Wachovia can now survive "independently".  I wonder why AGE could not have survived independently but this new firm can.
Which Danny do you believe?

bancofamigo's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-05

To the Preferred question: I read that C IS taking the "equity" preferreds but leaving the trust preferreds to WB. That puts a serious burden on WB. Plus, PRU has a right of first refusal stake in WB and they can declare their stake due at any time (although I doubt they would do it right now). WB is not an easy take out candidate. C feels the same way. I feel sorry for my brethren of AGE. But - if you are good, you are indeed marketable. There are deals still out there for the right folks. Line up the support though and understand how it will work. Get the deal in cash, versus stock or only take stock on the back end.

Next, who is in the cluster F of integration. BAC/MER will be a mess (my opinion). C has been a problem for a while (balance sheet excluded). MS is running around trying to find a date at any price (and all the analogy suggests). UBS is quietly sitting fighting obscure battles. Everyone has their issues. Who has the balance sheet and the organization which is proven to make it through this storm?

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-08

So as someone who left, what can WS nail you for? I can only think of not paying the loan and taking client information. Any way to avoid either?

greyhairedbrker's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-28

I think the "troubles" at the major wirehouse are being grossly exaggerated here, but consider this; why would ANY of them want to buy WB when it's cheaper to simply lure away the biggest producers there and let the balance die on the vine? None of the wirehouses, imho, needs WB's infrastructure, so why invest in it and the management that comes with it and still end up risking that much of the talent slips away anyway?
 
I say they'll pick the best meat off and leave the carcas on the side of the road.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

Gordon Gekko wrote:So as someone who left, what can WS nail you for? I can only think of not paying the loan and taking client information. Any way to avoid either?Gordon,Leaving has actually gotten easier in the past year or so do to the Recruiting Protocol, assuming the firm you are going to is a signatory to the Protocol, which many are.  WB is a signatory, so they are supposed to honor its terms, and usually do.  However, you have to be very clear on how to do it properly, and it slows you down a touch compared to the old days when everyone just took all the info and copied statements and then fought TROs and other lawsuits.  So done properly, your chances of encountering legal problems from WB are greatly reduced (not eliminated) and in exchange you have to start with less information brought over from your old firm.  In a nutshell, you are allowed to take non-public info only such as client names, address, phone numbers, etc.  No SSNs, no account numbers, no copies of statements - all of those need to be provided by clients again.  You will of course need to pay back any retention loan/unvested payments, but if you follow the Protocol your odds of avoiding legal problems -
including non-solicitation restrictions - are dramatically reduced.You need to ask if your new firm is a member of the Protocol (or you can access it online yourself and see which firms have signed it) and get advice (an attorney might be needed or adviseable) on how to adhere to its terms. 

now_indy's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-28

Just a heads up, don't plan on leaving your BD between Christmas and New Years day, as the people that handle your license transfer are eating turkey.

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-08

the news this morning with WFC coupled with a possible additional retention package might help a small percentage of this week's agony for WS fc's. Still will have brokers doing their homework. What a friggin week!

burtonfinancial1's picture
Joined: 2008-09-30

The action here, back and forth, etc is insane,  but overall a huge win for Wells, shareholders and the folks at WS imho. 

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

Holy smoke mines every other step.

bancofamigo's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-05

For long time AGE folks and WS folks, they are still hammered if they maintained a concentrated position in their stock. It still makes sense (imho) to look around. The deals are not going to be this big forever with less and less competition. Think about the "Protocol". The firms agreed in principle to play nice. What's not to say that this does not happen with recruiting deals in the near future. If I ran the firms, I would invite my competition to dinner and make the suggestion. It stops (or really) slows our moving and keeps them from writing the checks.

Jeroxide's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-04

What are you seeing in regards to the size of upfront checks from the other firms?
 
I can't see myself going to ML, UBS, MS or Smith Barney.  Any recommendations?

Gordon Gekko's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-08

Look at places without financial asbestos -Ray Jay, SF, RBC. From a stability standpoint, Wells would be a big step up. Waiting for the AGE retention information took forever, they'll have to act quicker for fear of losing their only big asset (us, or better put or clients' money/relationship/trust).

Sailor25's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-09

There are too many people in this business. You may not agree, but I think we will soon witness a drastic cut in the number of people in our business. As the industry consolidates, the bigger national firms will cut back the size of their brokerages. To be more productive, they will eventually cut out the lower half, who will scatter to the independents. The brokers at larger firms will benefit, if they can produce. Independents will be squeezed, unless they operate in areas without significant competition from the wirehouses.I'm ready, are you?

fritz's picture
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Joined: 2006-01-11

I kind of agree with you.  I do think there are too many people in this business, in fact i think the way it is now goes the way of the do do bird.  Think people will look back and say "people actually trusted people who did not know sh*t and made money for directing you into investment products/programs back then??"  Good chance the way these firms and markets hosed people here will be the beginning of the end.  Now if it plays out this way we will see if the people in this business actually have any skills in life to make a living in another field??

walking9's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-30

It is a simple business, present or future. You need about seventy five clients, must manage at least 20m. You charge them an average of 1%. They own indexes, ETFs. You take home a minimum of $140k, after expenses. If your situation does not fit these numbers, look at (broker dealer) costs. There will always be a need for simple advice, service and products provided by honest people. You can coach yourself, but you can do better with exerienced, expert help. All broker dealers are at risk right now, and they need to cut costs if they want to survive.

Bud  Fox's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-20

I would agree that the industry has a cleansing coming soon.  The banks are being cleansed as we speak.  All underproducing RR's will be forced out.  If not indy, I think you had better be doing 300k gross if in biz for 5 or more years. 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

I would think they would want to get a retention package out.

fritz's picture
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Joined: 2006-01-11

Bud Fox wrote:I would agree that the industry has a cleansing coming soon.  The banks are being cleansed as we speak.  All underproducing RR's will be forced out.  If not indy, I think you had better be doing 300k gross if in biz for 5 or more years. 
 
300K or more for 5 years in the Biz...That is not coming anytime soon from what i can see.  My MS office has hired 7 ML brokers in the past 3 months and 5 of the 7 were doing under 300 T-12 and they got 150-200% of trailing 12.  And several of those guys doing nearly No gross so far.  My guess is they will most will do far less than 200K next year.

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