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Ameritrade

Dear TDAmeritrade: when I'm explaining to you that while I'm not currently closing my existing accounts, I am sufficiently dissatisfied with the interaction I have received so far that I'm not going to open an individual 401K with you, the following responses did not convince me I was wrong.
  • What do you want? A good back office and customer service or quality investment advice? (Apparently I don't get both.)
  • I am an expert. I just don't know how to mail things out or how our system works. I do understand how to design portfolios!
  • I'm good at designing portfolios; I agree you are basically not going to out perform an index.
  • Don't you think you're being unreasonable.
  • Your account is not big enough to get good service

Comments

Brian works there; I'll send him your complaint. They are a discount brokerage, though, so I wouldn't be expecting a lot of advice, just good tools.
I'd be totally happy with no advice. For about the last year and a half, they have been calling me up asking how they could help me. I made the mistake of asking them some questions about their products. They weren't able to answer my questions but told me they would get back to me. Someone who specializes in Amerivest got back to me. It turns out very little of what I wanted to know really had to do with Amerivest; most of it had to do with questions like "how do you transfer between two accounts online," (you don't; they don't support that) and the procedures of opening a 401(k).

Whenever I commented that transfering money online was important to me, the person tried to argue that I was wrong and I could just use a fax or call him up.

Rather than sending me to the website to download their 401(k) packet, he said he'd send it out to me. I warned him that I had two addresses on file and that it was really important he send to the MA address.

He failed. He didn't strike me as knowledgable about their system, and he didn't really try to offer me investment advice. Whenever I was concerned that a product didn't meet my needs, he focused on telling me that I was wrong rather than either on saying "Well, perhaps what you have and are already happy with is what you should continue using," or pointing out the alternatives and tradeoffs in a way that did not challenge me.

Again, complete silence is fine. Someone who calls up every couple of weeks and who is not an improvement over the website is not fine. This is very much an example where I would have been a much happier customer if they had never contacted me.

The motivation behind that process can be summarized as "check our account balances, identify people we might be able to make more money off of, call them up and try to persuade/scare/bully them into activities that will help us meet our quotas". Been there, got those calls from
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The motivation behind that process can be summarized as "check our account balances, identify people we might be able to make more money off of, call them up and try to persuade/scare/bully them into activities that will help us meet our quotas". Been there, got those calls from <big discount broker I'm not naming here>, but they gave up after a year or so; I never told them to fuck off, but I didn't pay much attention to the Great Things they wanted to do for me (yes, I've been churned, but that was before I took over running everything myself).
ahh... the real problem was that you were interacting with sales people, when you wanted financial advising. The sales people get fired if they don't sell enough amerivests.
I didn't know that, I should meet Brian some day (although I am sure you are aware by now I work for a competitor).
I wasn't, but I see that now via LinkedIn. He basically does the exact same thing as you; he was in sales before but moved to being the office CSS. It makes him happy because he doesn't have to try to sell stuff, and the people who sell stuff don't have to keep messing up their paperwork.
Ah, a kindred spirit then! We should definitely be introduced the next time we are at the same social event. I promise not to commiserate too much.
Are you in the downtown office? If so, he's right next door, you guys can meet for lunch.
Manchester, NH Branch. Though I know the guys in Boston quite well.
Many who are in the "investment adviser" trade could be objectively categorized somewhere in the spectrum between "con man" and "car salesman" (or "priest" and "pimp", if you prefer). No personal criticism implied of people's favorites, relatives etc., I'm related to somebody who got banned by the SEC for trying to succeed at the Wrong Brokerage...