Institutional Shareholder Services

www.issgovernance.com
Engaged Employer

Institutional Shareholder Services Reviews

Updated July 16, 2015
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2.9
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Institutional Shareholder Services President & CEO Gary Retelny
Gary Retelny
8 Ratings

28 Employee Reviews

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  1. Associate

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

    I have been working at Institutional Shareholder Services full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Salary is not bad if you live in Maryland instead of D.C. Good benefits. Depending on the team, there can be lots of opportunities for you to take initiative. On a day-to-day basis, people are generally easy to work with and appear to care about corporate governance. The company is on the brink of either expanding greatly or falling; there are several people in senior management that appear to be the right people for pushing the company forward, which is really encouraging. I think the CEO knows what he's doing and he has surrounded himself with a good team. Great flexibility to work from home June - January.

    Cons

    No professional development; if you want to go to a conference or take a course or go to a networking event, you have to beg and plead, only to be told no, and then find out later someone else was sent. Company only seems interested in promoting people who have tenure or are "favorites" of the middle managers and not necessarily because they are effective or good at what they do, which is discouraging for new and eager talent, and results in managers who really should not be managers. March-June, just forget about having any sort of life. This is partially due to volume of work, but also because there are so many tech and data issues that suck up time that people downstream have to chase. Not much flexibility to work from home during this time either, so you will be spending 80 hours a week or more at the office. There is a lot of misinformation and a lack of a clear and comprehensive training program, and a lot of reliance on past precedent. This can create a lot of confusion for the associates and the clients. Often feels like middle management is too busy to deal with the concerns of their team unless it is their personal pet project.

    Advice to Management

    Seriously consider expanding the professional development budget AND do not just make it available to people who already get all the opportunities. Also, listen to your employees when they bring these types of concerns to you. It is tough to talk to multiple people about your concerns only to leave the conversations feeling like this is not the right place to work, even though you want to work in this field.


  2. Associate

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

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The people are great. Open-minded, very fun, a little socially awkward, but all in all a very smart place to work.

    Cons

    3 months of the year, your life is hell. Very, very niche industry. Hard to really find a way to grow up in this or any other organization.

    Advice to Management

    Pay better for the fact that your employees are sacrificing a huge chunk of their life every year to make you money. From March to June you will miss every family event or possible trip imaginable during what is the nicest time of the year in the D.C. area. The CEO refuses to actually be in Rockville where most of the company's operations are located.


  3. 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 Management

    Increase pay for contingents to ensure talent retention


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Working at this company was the most terrible 2 years of my life. Perpetually understaffed and exploits staff.

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

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people at associate level are lovely. You will learn they are all miserable, every last one. The work is interesting for the first few months and quickly becomes mechanical/repetitive.

    Cons

    The managers have their own agenda, and nothing you do will affect how you are treated. Work hard or don't work hard, and it will make no difference. They will promote if it suits their broader plan, and they have no regard for reason. The thrust of the organization is executive compensation and pay for performance. This company rewards whomever fits their structure and takes advantage of everyone else. Additionally, don't work here unless you want absolutely no quality of life. Hours for 3 months per year (spring) are 12 hour days x 6 days per week, and there is no overtime. You will miss weddings, birthday, and other occasions you will later regret missing. Worst teams: Custom, US research. Okay teams: M&A, Account Management, office management/hr. But the worst part is, the lack of job prospects thereafter. The company is such a niche industry, it's very difficult to translate the skills. Almost any other job you have is better than taking one at this company.

    Advice to Management

    Have some understanding for the lives of your associates, and reward those that work hard. Most importantly, do not lie to your employees during interviews, and throughout their employment.


  6. Helpful (3)

    Great place to learn

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    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 Management

    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.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Only if you're desperate

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

    I have been working at Institutional Shareholder Services

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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.


  8. Helpful (2)

    ISS=Isn't Smart or Sophisticated

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

    I worked at Institutional Shareholder Services

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    Start over!


  9. Helpful (2)

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Monotony Defined

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Weak management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

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



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