Info on AG Edwards

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ashton's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-20

Can anyone give me some inside info on AG Edwards? How's the atmosphere, training, support, pay out, benefits, reputation, etc. I would like to hear from some people that are currently working for the firm. Thanks.

VABroker's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-26

ashton,
I am quite biased but I cant imagine working for another firm.  The atmosphere is very supportive.  You truly get a sense that headquarters works for you.  We have no proprietary products, have excellent research and can offer many different solutions to our clients needs.  AG edwards offers the best of both worlds of being an indy and working for a wirehouse.  No AG Edwards broker is tied down to the firm and if some big bank were to ever try to buy us I am sure you would see a mass defection.  Because of our freedom to " hang our shingle on another door" management and headquarters work every day to meet our needs and expectations.  Training is excellent, full reimbursement for CFP and other certifications.  Payout averages atleast 40% (44 on mf, 40 on trails, 40 on feebased, 50 on insurance). Benefits are best in the industry.  Firm makes nonmatching contrib to 401k of atleast 5% a year.  This year it was 7.25%.  Best health benefits in industry.  As far as reputation, I would say that we are well respected and have the resources to handle multimillion dollar accounts.  I think most wirehouse reps shy away from us because our name doesnt hold as much cache as some of the really large firms.  Even though AG Edwards doesnt pay upfront money we are able to still recruit brokers from other firms because they take the time to understand our enviroment and the long term benefits of working with us.  AG edwards has earned my loyalty.  Pru had a research report dated sep 24,2003 intiating coverage on ag.  They say "In any event, we believe longer-term shareholders must be willing to stomach volatile profitability performance, and recognize the customer-first emphasis."  You wont find too many people bashin AG on this site also.  Hope this helps.

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

I couldn't have put it better myself.

 

maybeeeeeeee's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-24

Hmmm good info.  I will also say it is hard to get an interview which is an indication of a good company.  This is opposed to Amer. EX FA which will hire you if you post your resume on Monster.

HCreek Hokie's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-26

Well said VA - been there 3 years, been a great experience, and with new technology coming, and a re-newed focus on branding/marketing, I think the future is bright - especially if we can keep the banks at bay...

The Truth's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

The Banks are coming.....(3) big ones to be exact.  I am not saying it is impossible, but it will be difficult to maintain independence.  I mean AG is a great firm and all, but $2 billion in revenues?  You guys are the same size as Jones and that is not going to cut it.

ashton's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-20

What's so bad if AG is bought out? Won't that enable the firm to offer more products such as loans. Is it such a bad thing if there bought out?

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

The Truth wrote:The Banks are coming.....(3) big ones to be exact.  I am not saying it is impossible, but it will be difficult to maintain independence.  I mean AG is a great firm and all, but $2 billion in revenues?  You guys are the same size as Jones and that is not going to cut it.
There is a poison pill that says in the event of a hostile takeover, all profit sharing & 401(k) money is IMMEDIATELY fully vested. Since none of the veteran brokers have a contract....what do you think would happen to the guts of the firm??? Kind of reminds me of what is happening over at Morgan Stanley's investment banking division. Who's going to pay top dollar for an empty shell?
Over the past 20yrs the stock has appreciated more than Merrill so shareholders are not biting at the bit for a merger.
If anything you will see AG acquire a regional bank over the next year. The current leadership has publicly vowed to the sales force  never to be acquired but has expressed some interest in future acquisition.

VABroker's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-26

Ashton,
In short, most AG Edwards brokers dont want to be bought out by a bank because we will have to do things a different way.  Most of us choose AG Edwards because we like the way they do things, especially with their customer first emphasis.  We like not being like everyone else.  As has been metioned before it would be unlikely that we would be bought out although we would make a great aquisition for a bank.  Our firms revenue is solely through our FC's, not Mutual funds, not investment banking or any other potential conflict of interest with the client.  If the brokers dont want to work for the bank we can all leave leaving the bank with an empty shell and no assets.  While I dont speak for every AG FC, I do think most of us gave up the wire house cache for this type of freedom and the resulting work by management to keep and build our loyalty.  As I said before AG is the best choice between the wirehouse world and the indy world, offering the best of both worlds.

HCreek Hokie's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-26

I'm not sure we'd buy a bank, but partnering with one to offer more product/service could be cool if it's set up right...

The Truth's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

Hard to buy a bank when your revenues are what they are.  I hope you are right because AG is a good firm with a good name and a good product.  But if I was a betting man, I would be betting on the for sale sign in your front yard in the near future.  That is just the name of the game and the time we are living in.

ezmoney's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

Oh well if the leaders publically said they'd never sell out, it must be true. Give me a break! If the buyout is high enough, welcome to the bank!

stanwbrown's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

"Oh well if the leaders publically said they'd never sell out, it must be true. Give me a break! "
 
True enough. Seems to me I heard the big-wigs at JC Bradford say that, just before they sold out to Paine-Webber. And if member serves, Paine-Webber said that just before they sold out to UBS...

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

stanwbrown wrote:
"Oh well if the leaders publically said they'd never sell out, it must be true. Give me a break! "
 
True enough. Seems to me I heard the big-wigs at JC Bradford say that, just before they sold out to Paine-Webber. And if member serves, Paine-Webber said that just before they sold out to UBS...

I have heard the same noise coming from the rumor mill for years and years. It's nice to be so popular. You really smart guys posting on this site let me know when it acutually happens so I can get my new free bank checking account. In the meantime trust me I'm not loosing any sleep over the same old tired forum rumor.
 

stanwbrown's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

Broker Fee wrote:stanwbrown wrote:
"Oh well if the leaders publically said they'd never sell out, it must be true. Give me a break! "
 
True enough. Seems to me I heard the big-wigs at JC Bradford say that, just before they sold out to Paine-Webber. And if member serves, Paine-Webber said that just before they sold out to UBS...

I have heard the same noise coming from the rumor mill for years and years. It's nice to be so popular. You really smart guys posting on this site let me know when it acutually happens so I can get my new free bank checking account. In the meantime trust me I'm not loosing any sleep over the same old tired forum rumor.
 

 
The example I gave you is real. It happened...

ezmoney's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

Get ready. You better start practising "welcome to bank America"

zacko's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

I bet ML merges with a bank before AG does. 

The Truth's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

ML is certainly a possibility.  I am saying Morgan Stanley, Legg Mason and AG Edwards are the three biggest targets at this time.  Not saying it will happen, but certainly getting a good amount of discussion in a variety of boardrooms.  But Stan and Easy are right.  Every firm is going to deny ever getting bought and for some reason the price is always right.

stanwbrown's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

zacko wrote:
I bet ML merges with a bank before AG does. 

 
No way. ML is the 800 lbs gorilla. Too big for a bank to swallow. The Chase/ML rumor was around for decades.

stanwbrown's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

AG and Legg, no doubt about it, will be in another form in 5 years. Swallowed by a major brokerage or a bank.

mrad's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-07

Stan,
That is exactly what I was told by someone with Merrill when I joined AGE almost 5 years ago.  Thanks for the update. 

stanwbrown's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

My five years isn't up
Ask the guys at Wheat First, Pru, Scott & Stringfellow, Robinson Humphrey, Shearson, Salomon, JC Bradford, yadda, yadda, yadda....
Hey, working for Jamie Diamond wouldn't be all that bad, and BoA is a fine bank (but a sucky brokerage firm)...
 

tradermm's picture
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Joined: 2005-03-10

What's the policy at AG regarding repayment of training costs?

mrad's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-07

Depends on the branch/district manager.  I know that 1 guy from my class was taken to the cleaners, while others were not. 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Broker Fee wrote:
The Truth wrote:The Banks are coming.....(3) big ones to be exact.  I am not saying it is impossible, but it will be difficult to maintain independence.  I mean AG is a great firm and all, but $2 billion in revenues?  You guys are the same size as Jones and that is not going to cut it.
There is a poison pill that says in the event of a hostile takeover, all profit sharing & 401(k) money is IMMEDIATELY fully vested. Since none of the veteran brokers have a contract....what do you think would happen to the guts of the firm??? Kind of reminds me of what is happening over at Morgan Stanley's investment banking division. Who's going to pay top dollar for an empty shell?
Over the past 20yrs the stock has appreciated more than Merrill so shareholders are not biting at the bit for a merger.
If anything you will see AG acquire a regional bank over the next year. The current leadership has publicly vowed to the sales force  never to be acquired but has expressed some interest in future acquisition.

Stanley and others-
This would be the puzzle piece that you are missing.  There are very few 'golden handcuffs'.  The right buy would have to pay the right price and then treat the FC's with kid gloves to make it work.  I'm not sure if there is a buyer of sufficient scale with the right mindset.

newrookie's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-04

I was recruited by AG Edwards and wish I had been far-sighted enough to join there instead of SB. 
I loved SB until we merged with Citi.  Oh well....
How's the pressure at AG Edwards and what are the sales quotas???  Thinking of making the switch....

HCreek Hokie's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-26

There are no quotas and no pressure - none - you'll be very happy...

Guest1's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-16

Hcreek, Hat Creek ?

HCreek Hokie's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-26

Nope!

eaglefly's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-03

 
Hello,
I am looking at a career change and do have an opportunity to join Edwards.  Do you know what is the standard package for a brand new FC who has a Master degree in Personal Financial Planning and 20 years of management & business experience but NO SALE job?  I am negotiating with a branch manager and want to know what is the going rate if you could help.
Many Thanks for your help.

Starka's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

I didn't know that there was such a thing as a Master Degree in Personal Financial Planning.

eaglefly's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-03

This is an MBA degree where you need to complete the CORE MBA courses plus 5 CFP courses, a Financial Planning Introduction course, a Personal Financial Planning/Capstone course (Business Plan, a complete financial plan, 2 problems).  The program takes 2 years to complete (full-time).  Graduate can sit for the CFP exam to obtain the designation.

Billy33's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

all those degrees are nice, but unless you can get in front of people and then have those people trust and like you those designations mean nothing.  I've seen many a people think they are so smart by spending so much time getting letters behind theire names fail.
regarding salary you should ask for whatever you are making now.  But you will probably get 40k while you study for the 7 (3 mos.) You then have 9 months declining salary coupled with an enhanced payout.  After you pass your 7 you have 9 months to sink or swim,  After 9 mos.  100% commission. 
Merrill has a 2 year salaried training program but you have to meet certain minimums so stay employed.

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