Scottrade

  www.scottrade.com
  www.scottrade.com
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I learned what it was like to work in a corporate environment, as well as use critical thinking to accomplish a task.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Service Center in Saint Louis, MO
Current Employee - Service Center in Saint Louis, MO

I have been working at Scottrade as an intern (less than an year)

Pros

Management is friendly and knowledgeable.

Cons

I only worked there a few months as an intern, so I don't have any cons

Recommends
Neutral Outlook
Approves of CEO

499 Other Employee Reviews for Scottrade (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Busy, fun, lots of learning opportunities and nice benefits.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Back Office Analyst in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Back Office Analyst in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Scottrade full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Benefits, work environment, the company does a good job of valuing your contribution through workplace programs, good benefits, and bonuses, but...

    Cons

    Salaries seem on the low side, but it's hard to compare due to the perks and benefits.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None, keep doing what you're doing, but try to get IT out of silos and cooperating better, both with each other and the business end of the company.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 32 people found this helpful  

    Adult Supervision Required.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Branch Manager
    Current Employee - Branch Manager

    I have been working at Scottrade full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    As far as benefits, pay, and perks go, it's highly dependent on where you're located and who your co-workers are. If you're located in an area with a high cost of living and your coworkers aren't knowledgeable team players, the frustrations you'll encounter at Scottrade may be hard to surmount. If you're living somewhere with more reasonable costs and you've got good coworkers, it's possible to commiserate together and still have a good time. A branch manager who has been around for awhile makes pretty good pay; it's more challenging for the hourly employees, which includes everyone else in the branch.

    For someone just starting out, Scottrade is still a decent choice. You can learn much about the industry itself, to a large degree because branch offices assist and coordinate with various operations departments on a daily basis. After being here a little while, you'll probably have much more back-office knowledge than industry veterans at so-called full service firms. The new sales focus is frustrating at times (increasingly so), but it does give you the chance to earn extra money.

    Cons

    The cons of working for Scottrade at the branch level have been stacking up quickly, perhaps exponentially for some. Perhaps this can be attributed to a faulty foundation for the growth we've had, or just the wrong foundation for the type of business that the company is now trying to run. Although having the branch tied into many operational and administrative functions can be a plus, it's extremely difficult for a busy branch's personnel to keep up with all their tasks AND complete what many regard to be arbitrary and superfluous sales activities.

    It's not as bad as it used to be, but the problem of "one hand not knowing what the other is doing" is still prevalent at Scottrade. If you're not constantly monitoring your email, you might miss the note from Department A that Department B will have to take Action X before Department A can take Action Z. You'd think after almost 35 years of business, they'd come up with a way for Department A to work things out with Department B without having to use the branch as the middle man, but this is largely how things are still done. The branch is still the linchpin for even the simplest undertakings, which consumes a huge amount of time.

    Some efforts are being made to take tasks away from the branch so that we can focus on sales activities, but it doesn't compensate for time required for other tasks that have been added. For every daily or weekly report (that nobody cared about anyway) that is taken off of our hands, some other inane idea is passed down, such as taking away the Pitney Bowes machines and having us use Stamps.com. I'd like to know, did anyone do the opportunity cost analysis on this? Is it really saving us money when relatively highly paid and skilled employees have to stop what they are doing to print stamps? Or order stamp sheets every few days because we can only have 10 at a time? Or weigh envelopes on a scale to see how much postage should be before printing? Of course, no branch that I'm aware of has the time to do it the way they told us to. We simply put enough stamps on the letter or packet to make sure it gets out the door on time, so we end up paying more postage than we would have with the old Pitney Bowes machine. We'd have been better off with a roll of regular stamps than Stamps.com.

    Well, you might say, have your intern or office assistant do the administrative work. Not a bad idea, if Scottrade would hire office assistants. We can still hire interns, but it's getting harder and harder to find good ones. In the past, it was a nice learning experience and it might lead to a full-time job. However, Scottrade isn't growing as it used to, so a full-time job opening for an intern is uncommon unless he or she is desperate enough to go work in our call center. And an increasing number of branches simply shovel too much of their paperwork to their interns instead of making it a learning experience; interns see the writing on the wall and tend not to stick around long. Branch employees realize that the intern program isn't the asset that it used to be, but management still seems to be living in the past.

    This means, effectively, that the job description for a Scottrade Branch Manager includes everything that any other branch employee is supposed to do, starting with the intern's responsibilities, on top of the supervisory role which should be a top priority that upper management does more than give lip service to. There's not a whole lot of incentive to be a branch manager, especially in a busy branch. You don't get paid anymore than you would for managing a slow branch. Theoretically, with our new sales incentives, you might expect to have more opportunities, but it doesn't really work out that way.

    With our new focus on sales, moving from a primarily service-focused company, we are spending more and more time using our CRM tool, called Compass. Different regions and divisions have certain priorities, but they all revolve around hitting your numbers. It's sales, and for the sales guys we've hired from TD Ameritrade, it's all about setting those (strongly suggested) goals and hitting those numbers, as if it were a science. Never mind the fact that none of them have ever had to work in a Scottrade office, or never interacted with our client base before.

    In the past, my main concern was helping my customers. I slept well at night. Now, I wonder every day how I'm supposed to make my contacts, attempts, and opportunities, on top of all the other daily tasks and fires that need constant attention, as well as helping my coworkers meet their "goals" as well. Customers have become a distant priority, especially after having people higher on the totem pole start to breathe down your neck about your branch's failure to hit the numbers.

    We literally spend half of our day documenting our contacts with customers who will never benefit us. Opened an account with $300 online and you want to buy marijuana penny stocks with it? Great, you're a contact! Got a few hundred more you might consider depositing? Great, you're an opportunity! In the past, I might spend five minutes on a guy like this and then I'd move on. Now I have to stop everything I'm doing and document it. Gotta hit those numbers. My customer of 10 years that's been on hold for 30 minutes, who has $1m in his account? Well, if he leaves a message, maybe I'll get back to him. I've already got his money anyway.

    Being busy actually hurts you now. Some branches might not have a walk-in all day, or even all week if what I've heard is true (a consequence of opening too many branches). But if you're slow, you've got time to look busy. You've got time to document every rinky-dink activity and customer interaction you have. However, if you're in a busy branch, even a slow day will bring you a dozen walk-ins, and a busy day will easily bring you 20 to 30, with a high phone call volume to match. You can't put a walk-in on hold. You can't tell a guy to wait up front for another 15 minutes while you type up some info on the last guy that was at your desk. On days like that, you just hope to hit the highlights in Compass. Ah .... (and this is going to sound like something from The Office) ... but if it didn't happen in Compass, it didn't happen at all! This is actually something that our bosses are telling us now. In effect, if you were too busy to document your activities in Compass, it doesn't look like you were busy at all, no matter how fast your head was spinning when you left the office.

    For a firm which prides itself on having a branch network, there is a surprising lack of understanding at HQ about what actually goes on at the branches. Hardly any metrics are used to judge how busy a branch actually is, although several methods could be used. Trade volumes are roughly half of what they were at the 2007 and 2008 peak, and some people in St Louis assume that we must not be too busy because of this. If anything, we are busier than ever, and HQ has failed to keep up with the changing circumstances. Slow branches are likely to be staffed with the same number of people as busy branches. Full-time employees in a busy branch can expect to work 45 to 50 hours a week or more, depending on the time of year. Not too bad for the wage-earner being paid overtime, but soon they'll have everyone on salary.

    We do have the opportunity to earn more bonus incentive money now, but it's also given employees the incentive to stretch the truth, if not outright lie about their sales activities. Many brokers (ahem, Investment Consultants) started doing this from the beginning. If you're in a metro area with several branches, you can see what their up to in order to hit their numbers. But the real trouble starts when your honest employees look around and don't see anyone stopping the fraudulent activity. It doesn't take long for them to realize that they'll have to stretch the truth as well if they want to look as good as the other guy. Just one more case of Adult Supervision Required.

    There are still plenty of good people at Scottrade, but I've seen more than a few great people leave because they couldn't stand the general dysfunction at times. Or more accurately stated, they left because they thought they couldn't be a part of fixing it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think your plans through very carefully. Have you considered the consequences? Do you really have the proper people in place to carry your plans to fruition? What are your assumptions, and have they been challenged sufficiently? Make sure you get out of your office and find out the status of things yourself, instead of trying to glean it from a report or from someone who agrees with everything you say.

    The incentive program you have in place now isn't exactly an example of rocket science. You could have found a similar way to start rewarding loyal employees for the customer relationships that they've built and maintained over the years, while still encouraging asset growth. You'll be making a huge mistake if you only think of or use your branch employees as glorified service reps and asset collectors, which is what you're headed for.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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