Institutional Shareholder Services

www.issgovernance.com
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Institutional Shareholder Services Reviews

Updated March 7, 2015
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3.1
25 Reviews
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Gary Retelny
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Experience overall

    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services

    Pros

    Great company culture, efficient management style, young and ambitious crowd, excellent industry reputation, adequate diversity, solid overall customer service.

    Cons

    Very low pay for contingents

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase pay for contingents to ensure talent retention

  2. Great place to learn

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

    I have been working at Institutional Shareholder Services full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great colleagues. Corporate governance is a multidisciplinary and evolving field. There is great interest in the subject matter by the investment community. Continuity in management despite changes in ownership.

    Cons

    A rather complex operating environment can make it difficult for the company to coordinate sweeping changes in technology. However, the company is getting its grip on the situation, and seems ready to make significant improvements.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to invest in people and technology. Continue to encourage innovation and a collaborative and environment. Continue to focus on content and advanced solutions for clients.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3. 3 people found this helpful

    Only if you're desperate

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

    I have been working at Institutional Shareholder Services

    Pros

    20 vacation days per year because you have to get away from this pit of despair.

    Cons

    I hate it here. This place will suck your soul out and spit it right into HELL.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful

    Great work environment; questionable recruiting practices

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Former Contractor - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    What I liked most about working for ISS was the transparency about the company culture, clear expectations, great colleagues, and the strong work ethic evident in the office. At the interview, I was told about the occasional long hours during the peak proxy season, which was manageable and fun. It was also nice to see people working independently and collaboratively, and also being proactive. You got the sense that people valued the work that they were doing, did it without being asked, and had mutual respect for their colleagues no matter what their title was. The office environment is open, and everyone is truly accessible and open to questions. While strong research and writing skills, and occasional foreign language skills, are a must, not everyone came from a strong financial background, but interest in the field and the ability to learn quickly was valued.

    Cons

    I was told, again during the interview, that the structure was pretty flat, so there is not much room for career growth. There appears to be a new recruiting team, that has very poor follow-up, especially with former employees, and is not familiar with the financial services industry nor higher education in the DC Metro Area. The team also appears to be offering full-time positions to those who apply for contract positions and overlooking those who apply for full-time positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ensure that recruiters understand at least the basics of the industry and have a basic familiarity of the academic programs in the DC Metro Area, as that is the pool that this location generally draws from. Also, the ISS/MSCI recruiters were more proactive and communicative, whereas, newer recruiters appear to be less so, in contradiction to the ISS environment where its workers are proactive and communication is more open. It seems the brand is going in the wrong direction.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    ISS=Isn't Smart or Sophisticated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services

    Pros

    It's a job where you get to look at lots of companies. Also, if you care about corporate governance and are smart, working here will help you figure out why corporate governance is so awful and in many ways worse than it was when ISS was founded in the 1980s. If you think corporate governance isn't awful, please read "Shareholder crusaders Monks and Minow speak out" at CNBC's website.

    Cons

    The corporate culture is an excellent case study in quality control: virtually everyone at the organization is profoundly mediocre. Nepotism is rampant. Cliquishness encouraged. Skills sets are impressively weak. Long-timers are deeply entrenched and this means that their very obvious deficiencies receive almost no notice. The organization is full of people who have never worked elsewhere and so have scant concept of what quality work is. Serious, unbounded issues are treated as if they can be remedied by check-box style compliance and almost no thought. Presentations frequently feature illegible slides and even more incoherent ideas.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start over!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. Was a temporary research analyst

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    People were great and always willing to answer questions
    Compensation was good
    If you are interested in corporate governance/executive compensation, this is a good place to learn

    Cons

    -While the work-life balance is good for the most part, once season kicks in, you are expected to work weekends

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful

    Learned a lot but company is a dead-end for career advancement.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    You will learn a lot about corporate governance, in particular executive compensation and say-on-pay, both of which are key issues in today's world.

    Cons

    Company has been bought and sold way too many times in the past few years, and each time the change has been handled very poorly. It is also the antithesis of a meritocracy, in that those who perform the best are rewarded with more grunt work while those who play the "corporate political game" seem to do well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management sorely needs to place a greater emphasis on an on-going program of training and development. Also, management has historically allowed an "old boys network" to form so that those who are newest to the firm (e.g. those with perhaps the freshest perspective on operational and/or product improvements) are minimized.

    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful

    Monotony Defined

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you really care about corporate governance, it is a great place to learn about the industry. The work itself is easy, just busy during proxy season (April through June). If corporate governance is not your thing, there are very few pros overall. Management doesn't really know/care what anybody is doing so you can get away with coming in late, leaving early, and taking 2 hour lunches, so that's nice. And working from home is available, another plus.

    Cons

    This is not the kind of place to build a career. No opportunities for advancement, very monotonous work. I don't understand how anyone can be a lifer there. Maybe a year or two after undergrad but they're bringing people in from law school, I can't imagine a worse way to put my law degree to work. And there is no opportunity (as an analyst anyway) to make any significant impact on policy, it's all just handed down from above, follow the established paradigm, over and over. Very little learning beyond the initial getting up to speed phase, no real growth in the position.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find some way to give meaningful work to analysts, not busy work or useless projects, but some way to feel like they can make a real contribution.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. Excellent opportunity to learn about corporate governance and executive compensation policy.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Former Contractor - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Young, energetic colleagues from all over the world. Strong, well-organized IT capabilities.

    Cons

    Seasonal work assignment. Limited variety in work activities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful

    Weak management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's the 800 lb gorilla for corporate governance.

    Cons

    The management team hasn't recognized the world has changed and has passed them by.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out what the market needs and provide that as a way to grow the business. Price reductions don't grow businesses.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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