Financial Engines Reviews | Glassdoor

Financial Engines Reviews

Updated February 14, 2017
105 reviews

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

105 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Company has a good understanding of work/life balance (in 13 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 (19)

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

    Star Star Star Star Star
    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. "Fair one"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people. Great Ideas. Great team work.

    Cons

    Constant change sometimes feels like churn as opposed to innvovation.

    Advice to Management

    Go public soon. It has been a looong time.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Full of nice, intelligent people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    While I met some of the smartest people in the corporate world here, environment is very collegial and not cut-throat. There are many Stanford/Berkeley phds, and ex-stanford professors in investment management. The environment is very academic and encourages learning. People work hard but make time to help others. Health/vacation benefits are great. The recreation room is also great. Free beverages (sodas, sparkling water, etc.) and breakfast/snack foods.

    Cons

    Salary is a bit below industry.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Great place to work but at the time of my employment hours were long and more employees were needed."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends

    Pros

    Salary was very good, benefits great, people in the trenches were competent and fun to work with. Holiday and PTO typical of most companies. The best part of working there was knowing you were helping folks to utilize financial benefits provided by their companies but never fully explained. The product is priceless and the results of using FE as my own 401k adviser during one of the worst economic downturns resulted in my being able to move and purchase a home with my 401k.

    Cons

    Some of the Senior Management group did not always seem up to the job they were hired for and misused funds in my opinion.

    Advice to Management

    Overall CEO did excellent job of steering company and was tireless in the execution of his duty. Where I would say he went wrong was in the process for adding and terminating senior management. It is hard for an employee to watch good folks being let go.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Can you find heaven on earth in a job? Well, YES!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Portfolio Analyst in Sunnyvale, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Portfolio Analyst in Sunnyvale, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    FE has a wonderful balance of academic theory and real life application. It's wonderful to have a job in finance where you know the organization is really trying to help people (small or big account). You can sleep well at night. There are high standards here, great managers, top management is really accessible, incredible work life balance, and you don't have to wear a suit to work. The work is engaging and the culture is just plain happy. No big egos here. FE is the best place to work at.

    Cons

    The main office is in Sunnyvale.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good Stable Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Sunnyvale, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Sunnyvale, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Engines full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good Product and Services
    Management has a future vision
    Great Work life balance
    Family oriented company

    Cons

    Salary less than market rate

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work just increase some salaries please :)


  8. "Great Environment, Great Team"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Developer Intern in Sunnyvale, CA
    Current Employee - Software Developer Intern in Sunnyvale, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good work environment.
    Good balance between work and life.
    No micro-management

    Cons

    None as far as I know.


  9. "Great Product with Great Vision"

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

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

    Pros

    I feel it's a great product that can help people in their planning of money savings, that will help them in future.
    It was a great & quick interview process. Team and Recruiter very very supportive during the process of H1b transfer and shifting the joining date based on my availability.

    Cons

    Giving people tool for that future planning is a great responsibility.


  10. "Connected -> Interviewed -> Got an offer. All in < 3 weeks !!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Sunnyvale, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Sunnyvale, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Interview process is super fast!! Talked to recruiter over phone couple of times.. He quickly scheduled a phone screening with hiring manager and with the architect on the following day.. Called for an on-site in the following week!! Got the final offer in 2 days .. Negotiated on the same day and final offer letter on the next day.

    Everything happened in less than 3 weeks (No exaggerations). The Recruiter (Ronny Greer) was super fast in going through the process. No old school email exchanges. Directly call and text ! Also, Have not met a recruiter before who knows technical stuff required for the position in such details (and not just the names ;) )

    Company has a bunch of products which help people to retire with better financial position. To me it is important to work for a initiative to help people in some way through my work. Company has great past and promising roadmap ahead. I am really excited and eager to join :)

    Cons

    Cant find any at this point and hope I dont find any :)

    Advice to Management

    None at this point.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Great mission. Focus customer benefits. Lots of new strategic initiatives to focus on employee engagement"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Engineer in Sunnyvale, CA
    Current Employee - Staff Engineer in Sunnyvale, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Engines full-time

    Pros

    1. Great company mission. One of the very very few financial services company that actually want to do good for the individuals. Helping them retire with peace.
    2. Good strategic changes to focus company strategy on customers and constantly improving customer experience.
    3. Lots of initiative to modernize the technology stack.
    4. Value the employees and focus on empowering and engaging employees.

    Cons

    1. Lots of legacy code
    2. Numerous legal implications and rigorous approval process slow down the speed of development.
    3. Not very competitive compensation.
    4. No free lunch.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work. Increase the compensation if you want to retain top talent. Free lunch can be a nice perk.



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