Financial Engines Reviews | Glassdoor

Financial Engines Reviews

Updated July 25, 2017
67 reviews

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3.3
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Financial Engines President & CEO Larry M. Raffone
Larry M. Raffone
22 Ratings

67 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Company has a good understanding of work/life balance (in 14 reviews)

  • It feels good to build useful applications that help people plan their retirement (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • I have not seen any good plan for career growth/training as of now, but I believe work is under progress (in 5 reviews)

  • Executives and Senior Management are always trying to find a way to make new money (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (28)

    "20-year-old company with a great mission, a great business...and some legacy issues"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I joined Financial Engines in 1999. At that time, it was still a startup trying to find its footing. Its product, revolutionary in those days, was an online retirement investing self-help tool powered by algorithms that were pretty sophisticated for the time. That product never really did catch on; however, the company made a very successful pivot in the early 2000s toward 401(k) management and today is the largest independent registered investment adviser in the country.

    Now the 401(k) side of the business manages over $100 billion of assets, with over 900,000 individual customers. Revenue in 2015 was over $300 million.

    We still have the sense of mission that founded the company: use technology to deliver premium-grade financial services to people who otherwise would be unable to afford them. We still have a number of people with 10+ years with the company who were instrumental in building it. We have very solid financials. We value each other's dignity and respect. I've had my own frustrations working here over the years, but the mission and culture of the company are why I still come to work each day energized to do better.

    The acquisition of The Mutual Fund Store adds a network of branch offices and human advisers specialized in face-to-face financial planning. Now we're traditional retail plus 401(k) workplace. It's no sure thing that we'll be able to harmonize the two organizations, but it seems like a bet worth taking. It's not too hard to imagine Financial Engines becoming a household name in a few years.

    Cons

    The downsides of working here are what you should expect at a 20-year-old profitable company: technical debt, disagreements over priorities, and an ongoing tension between trying new things versus investing in what has worked before. And I'll add one more downside, which is why I'm writing this review in the first place: we do not seem to do a good job managing the expectations of new coworkers.

    "Technical debt" sounds like a bad thing and, sure, usually it is a bad thing. However, realize that it's the price you pay afterward for decisions made in the past. We didn't aggressively modernize our tech stack over the years because it wasn't necessary to grow. How we grew was to become the dominant 401(k) managed account provider--that meant making our code base complicated enough to service 600+ different retirement plans. But that code base generated over $300 million in revenue in 2015, so cut our execs some slack when you read complaints about seasoned technologies. As for the criticisms that we have no strategy, I don't quite believe that we got to be the managed account provider for 600 retirement plans by accident.

    Working at a startup can be very exciting and engaging (and stressful). A startup is always trying out new things. There's no existing business to protect, so big risks are justified and there are no legacy systems to trip over. When you move fast and break stuff, there's very little to break so fixing the breakage is easy.

    FE is not a startup. We're regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Breaking stuff can cause real damage that doesn't always fix easily. So, like other 20-year-old companies, there’s a tension here between trying out new things and being careful not to endanger the existing business. There are a lot of people here whose jobs are to make sure the existing business runs smoothly. New ideas that don't accommodate their concerns will fail. And newcomers who can't navigate the organization will fail.

    One of my biggest frustrations is seeing newcomers (from individuals to executives) arrive with big plans to change everything without understanding the business or the organization. They typically flail for a year or two and then flame out. And write critical reviews of us, some of it justified, without ever seeing the big picture.

    Sorry, this is not a “greenfield” place in certain ways—greenfields generally don’t make $300 million in revenue. If you read the most negative reviews, they seem to be written by people who experienced a switcheroo between what they expected their jobs would be and what ended up happening. It seems to me we could do better at setting expectations up front. Especially in Product Management and Engineering, on the front lines of that tension between trying new things and managing the existing business, we need to do better.

    We welcome new energy and ideas. We need people to show us how it’s done in other places. Just be understanding, okay? The mission here is to help regular people manage their investments and plan for retirement, not to prototype some sick new disruptive technology and sell out to Facebook. If the mission doesn’t speak to you, this may not be the best place for you.


  2. "Great company"

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

    Pros

    The company is mission driven and very innovative.

    Cons

    Nothing comes to mind right now.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Meh"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time

    Pros

    Free food and games ok

    Cons

    Management doesn't care about workers


  4. "Awesome company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time

    Pros

    Great benefit package and offers 401K advisory services for its employees via Vanguard.

    Cons

    None that I can think of

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  5. Helpful (4)

    "If you accept an offer from this company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    A handful of good decent people
    Class A Buildings
    Free EV Charging in Sunnyvale

    Cons

    When considering employment at Financial Engines a few Latin phrases come to mind 'Caveat Emptor' and Et tu, Brute. If you accept an offer from this company it will be a bumpy ride. If you hang on through the countless reorg’s, buyouts, failed technology upgrades don’t expect to be rewarded for your loyalty, Some get Goodbye cakes and memory books, others get ushered into rooms under false pretense and eliminated, it’s anybody’s guess what makes you fall into one category and not the other.

    The in-Human Resources in this company roll out things like the High 5’s program so you can give your fellow colleague a ‘Shake Weight’ kudos (g$$le it) Instead of actually repairing a management force that is grossly inept. Newsflash if people feel underappreciated its not because they want a high 5 from Someone in accounting…they want better management. Endless employee engagement surveys that lead to flaccid attempts to empower employees. Expect to be lied to by nearly everyone in Human Resources, they hide poison in their smiles they have to be ex-politicians the lying is done so well.

    Advice to Management

    The VP’s in this place are just atrocious (Personality anyone, anyone at all? middle-managers have no idea how to guide and grow a team. Forget about the endless training to strengthen management. It never gets any better NEVER!!

    Weekly meetings with underqualified demoted managers will be “tell me what you’re doing”…and nothing else. The custodial staff have more management and leadership ability in their left thumbs. The values of this company mean nothing, remember ENRON, they also had values.


  6. "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Financial Advisor
    Current Employee - Financial Advisor
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time

    Pros

    Free food and drinks all day, wellness incentive program, managers are easy to get along with, good culture.

    Cons

    There has been a company merge recently and things are changing so fast its hard to keep up. The advisors main focus is to sale and get as many leads as possible which only pays a very small commission. You can have the best customer service and really make a difference in a client's life and your manager's main concern will be if you got a lead out of the call. The good news is that its hard to get fired and even though they are sales focused it not a "high pressure" sales job...yet.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Investment Advisor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investment Advisor in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Investment Advisor in Phoenix, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Growing company but still has a small company feel

    Cons

    Because it is growing it has become a bit more sellsy in nature.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Ambitious goals with genuine concern for their customer (and employees), but lacking long-term follow through"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Phoenix, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The benefits and culture at FE are great - plus, the perks of the headquarters being located in Silicon Valley flows to other offices (e.g. - free snacks!). Fellow employees are kind and hard working, and the customer is truly the #1 focus. I can go to work knowing that I am helping to make a genuine difference in the lives of our clients.

    Cons

    Each department seems to operate in its own "silo" with a lack of information sharing across other parts of the organization, and instances where appropriate team(s) may not be included. (There are even times where teams within the same department don't know what each other are doing.) The lack of follow through on ideas and initiatives is also frustrating.

    Advice to Management

    There are great ideas and initiatives, but there seems to be a lot of talk and not a lot of action at the end of the day. New ideas and goals are quickly forgotten, and those that come to fruition lack any kind of long-term follow through - it's always about the next "big thing" within the company.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Learning to Fly"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time

    Pros

    Great company with great products and an awesome mission - "Help employees achieve retirement goals"!

    Cons

    Company is learning how to move ahead after acquisition of another company last year! Lots of changes in progress that is causing a distraction of focus and priorities.

    Advice to Management

    Before making impactful decisions understand the current capacity issues.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Politics"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Management in Overland Park, KS
    Current Employee - Management in Overland Park, KS
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Second to none PTO plan, decent benefits, and some great people are still left.

    Cons

    Major game playing. You will only be promoted if you know the right person, play the right game, and kiss the right butt. They talk the talk, but don't walk it Since Mutual Fund Store was acquired by Financial Engines - it has really been a mess. No structured integration, former Mutual Fund Store employees getting blatantly screwed on salary and bonus, and leadership is not leading. You cannot pay folks 30% more and triple the bonus for the same position in another location!
    It is back biting, competitive, and the only way to be promoted or grow is to be "in" with a very small, select group. I cannot advise enough against this company.

    Advice to Management

    Walk the talk. You talk about values and vision and what we should all be doing but, you don't yourselves do any of those things. Rarely in my career have I seen such nastiness at mid-level management and above. It's like the engagement surveys didn't happen - you didn't do anything with that data! My advice is to listen and at least pretend you care about your people - and not just the Advisors. Without us, you will fail. And so will the Advisors. John and Larry - I hope you realize what you're doing and make some changes.


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