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SWS Group Reviews

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2.3
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SWS Group Interim CEO and Director James H. (Jim) Ross
James H. (Jim) Ross
3 Ratings

13 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "SWS Financial Services"

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

    I have been working at SWS Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good support for brokers and good payouts

    Cons

    outdated technology and not able to charge for financial planning


  2. Helpful (1)

    "SWS Financial Services - Advisor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Independent Financial Advisor in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Independent Financial Advisor in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at SWS Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Friendly client support staff, allowed own DBA name, high payout. Good product mix. Overall advisor maintenance fees are low.

    Cons

    Technology is out of the 1990's - Windows only, no mobile apps. No social media of any kind is allowed - no FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs... nothing. Only one website company is allowed.
    They still require physical files in the advisor offices, which is far riskier than archiving them electronically.

    Although the people are nice and friendly, the service times for a client need have slowed down dramatically in the past year.

    Almost neurotic compliance people - they are afraid of their own shadows and almost nothing gets approved. Then there's the next problem: they have no pre-approved marketing pieces other than image pieces on how great a firm they are - I have to create my own pieces to explain their product line, and then have to beg my way through compliance each time I want to use something. If I want to re-use it, I get to go through the whole approval process all over again. Traditional marketing practices like cold-calling is strongly discouraged, but they don't permit any new methods to market either. When I asked how an advisor is supposed to grow a business with them, I was told to network.

    They did have decent client fee schedules until last year,and then went crazy hiking them. they even had to pull back on a few that were overzealous.

    Advice to Management

    Might be a moot point now, as the company is currently being taken over by Hilltop Holdings, but here you go:

    1) JOIN THE 21st CENTURY. Update your software. Ditch the paper files and the scan/email/fax routine. I should be able to access client info and place a trade from a mobile device by now. Social media is how the world interacts now. You tie both an advisor's hands behind their back by not allowing us to engage the world where it goes, almost exclusively, for information.

    2) Your independent advisors are ADULTS. They chose to take on the risk of being in business for themselves. Stop treating them like children. Loosen the compliance stranglehold a bit. Let us market already.

    3) Either commit to the independent advisor model or get out. We are not employees. We want to build our own business and differentiate ourselves as best we can to serve our particular client bases. SWS Financial makes it extraordinarily hard to do so if you are tech-savvy or have clients more than a half hour from your office.

  3. "A great opportunity with a lot of hands on experience and an honest caring company."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Server Administrator in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Server Administrator in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SWS Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Successful company who knows how to treat their employees. Even in times of economic downtime, they did their best to give merit increases and bonuses. Managers do their job well and they do not micro manage. Pleasant working environement with great employees.

    Cons

    There is some room for growth and promotion, but not as much as you will get with larger companys. No workout facilities or the like for employees to de-stress during the work week.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  4. Helpful (1)

    "It's not what you know, but who you know."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Clearing in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Clearing in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SWS Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Decent benefits.
    Good tuition reimbursement.
    They even paid for DART transit (while I was there).
    Small enough company that you learn each department, assuming you go and meet them.
    Constantly changing

    Cons

    -Advancement is based on who you know. Not your performance.
    -Are you a friend of Bill? It was easy street if you were.
    -Managers and directors in place for years. No change seen. No change necessary (in their eyes) This is the biggest problem.
    -A blind eye turned when some employees used corporate resources for personal business. But not all employees got this "benefit".
    -Poor leadership skills, including belittling behavior and foul language by many. No kidding.
    -Small departments mean little chance of advancement

    Advice to Management

    Clean house. No you don't have to get rid of everyone, but certainly get some leaders out of their comfort zone and into a new location. Then track results. If they can't handle related tasks, then boot them. Eliminate "friends". Remember its a business.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Third Rate? That's putting it nicely"

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

    Pros

    -Was health and dental till they charged extra if you had high blood pressure. Or anything else that was negative and medically possible. What? You want a blood sample? What exactly am I being tested for here?? And that was the last straw for me.
    - Paid Time Off
    - Convenient location downtown
    - There really are some great people here who are really hard workers. But they're overshadowed...because...(See below)

    Cons

    Where to begin? This company has a huge culture problem that the company absolutely refuses to fix. The other reviews are dead on, the biggest problem with this company is the management. Most of them have been around for decades, have never worked anywhere else, floated into the position just by the fact they had been there forever and the former manager/director retired, and thus have no idea how to do anything except for how they've been doing it the last twenty years. Any ideas to change, create, update, or improve are quickly shot down, with the prompt response "Well this is how we've always done it...". Even worse, directors or managers who entirely screw up and cost the company quite a bit of money aren't removed; and a blind eye is turned towards poor controls. It's mind-blowing the inefficiency here. But some other things include:

    1) Technology - Who's running the show here?? The main system is some horrible thing from the '90's that freezes on a daily and hourly basis. The complaint was so large that it became an issue at the last employee meeting; whereupon it was met with the response "Grass always looks greener on the other side". That's a quote, by the way. Good luck trying to get your work done if you have an impatient client on the phone.

    2) Career Opportunities - You can throw that to the side. HR has zero interest in creating internal training programs, unless you're a complete idiot and don't know how to work email (in 2013).But they have a course for that. Wahoo!! Basically, come work here if you want to kill your career.

    3) Instead of firing idiots, they keep them around but just put some more rules into effect to make that idiot more firewalled, much to the chagrin and inconvenience of everyone else. Believe me, if you have an incredibly low work ethic and half-way everything, this is the place for you.

    Advice to Management

    An annual free lunch and bragging about how lucky I am to give “Pablano Soup” a whirl in order to celebrate my birth really wasn't cutting it in regards to “What a Company to Work For!” How about you do what’s best for shareholders? The potential of being bought by Sterne Agee would’ve been amazing, and you refused to do it (in case you need a painful reminder, that share price you’re trading at *still* has not gone as high as what they were offering to your company, at that was what, two years ago? The rest of the market and financial services is up; why isn’t yours? So much for benefiting shareholders. I have never seen such gross mismanagement, inefficiency, and refusal to adopt change as you guys. You’re a sinking ship. You are beyond repair and will eventually be bought, and the fact that you are so blind to that reality is laughable. The company is full to the brim with incompetency, and it blows my mind how you like to keep it that way. Best of luck, because believe me, ya’ll need it.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "If you are desperate..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mid Level
    Former Employee - Mid Level
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SWS Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Downtown location
    Casual environment
    Great help desk -they do the most with what they have to work with

    Cons

    Where to start...firm software is so bad only 1 other firm in the country uses it. Inadequate to say the least. Never worked for a company so poor at communicating. The company is always teetering on going under. Rarely profitable but when they are the money goes to FINRA. The firm racks up SEC/Finra violations like you wouldnt believe. The real problem with SWS is management. Most of the managers started their careers with SWS so they have no clue how other firms work. Give a suggestion to improve a process is met with a blank star followed by 'thats not my job'. No one will take responsibility-pass the buck and lay low. Rock the boat and they get rid of you.

    Advice to Management

    Spent some time training managers how to manage. Upper management should be embarrassed by the way the company is run.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "It's not what you know, it's who you know to promote within the company"

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

    I have been working at SWS Group full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    decent benefits, work/life balance, paid holidays, tuition reimbursement

    Cons

    pay is minimal, not a lot of opportunity for growing within in the company

    Advice to Management

    While benefits are decent, the opportunity to grow within the company is limited. It seems that anyone who is a relative of an employee who is in a higher up position gets chosen for the job.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Broker Dealer Great, Bank-Terrible"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Commercial Lender in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Commercial Lender in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at SWS Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Benefits
    some of the people are nice
    the restaurants near downtown are great

    Cons

    Upper Management isn't qualified
    No process or procedures in place
    Male Driven environment

    Advice to Management

    Get your act together


  9. Helpful (2)

    "3rd rate company, with 3rd rate people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Recruiter in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Recruiter in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    They have good benefits. The expecations depend on your department. If you are a poor performer and lucky you might be able to get in a group with low standards and have a job for a long time.

    Cons

    poor infastructure and technology, zero training, poor management, and poor tools. I have worked for 5 companies in my 20 year career and this was by far the worst experience I have ever had. I am amazed that they are still in business. Don't go to work here unless you have very low expectations.

    Advice to Management

    You might want to look into why the turnover rate is so high in some of the areas of your company and think twice about promoting managers that have no objective success over the the last three years


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Good Ol' Boy Atmosphere"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Back Office Staff Member in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Back Office Staff Member in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Stable Company. Friendly Peers. Central location.

    Cons

    My manager was a socially dysfunctional nightmare.
    Working there was like doing time.
    If you like securities and trading you will do fine.
    If you don't you will be BORED to tears because there is nothing creative or exciting about securities.
    The organization's success is dependent upon the market. Good luck getting a raise or advancement in this economy!

    Advice to Management

    Not really. They'll never change because they don't see what they are doing wrong. they pretend to care but deep down they only care about themselves.


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