Tina Manion of Retirement Planning Specialists in Cincinnati says there’s no comparison between FSC Securities, Broker/Dealer of the Year in Division IV, and the other B/Ds she’s been with. Manion’s had the experience to know the difference. She’s been in business for 24 years, and spent some 21 of those years with other B/Ds. The first difference she remarks on at FSC is service. “I get immediate service, which I did not receive from my previous B/Ds,” she says emphatically. The second big difference is the accessibility to home office staff. They are extremely friendly, she says, and are always willing to go the extra mile for the reps. They also provide a wide range of services, and are always looking for ways to help reps do business better.
Carol Joseph of Mooney Financial Services in Worthington, Ohio, agrees with Manion’s assessment. Her position at an MFA (Managing Field Associate) office ensures that she has plenty of dealings not only with the home office, but with some 60 reps throughout the country who come to the MFA to resolve problems. Joseph says that what she hears them say about FSC versus other B/Ds has definitely influenced her positive opinion of FSC. “They (people at the home office) really go out of their way to work with the independent reps,” says Joseph. “They know we are the backbone of the industry.” She also feels that the home office staff go out of their way to take care of business matters. Their friendliness, she says, makes a big difference when you call with a problem.
James Goedtke, of Investors Choice Financial Services Inc. in Rochester, Minnesota, may not be as happy as the others with FSC in its present incarnation, but believes the company is working to help reps. FSC always has an open door, he says, and feels that FSC reps themselves may be the B/D’s biggest critics. And while President Joby Gruber points to FSC’s ownership by AIG as a positive factor, Goedtke doesn’t agree. “We went from being fiercely independent a few years ago when we were private, to being bought out by SunAmerica and then by AIG,” he says. “I think change used to come quicker when we were independent, but they still do listen,” Goedtke admits. “It’s just that they have to bring our ideas on how things are done to the next level.” It doesn’t mean that there can’t be very positive things in the long term, he says, which is why Goedtke plans to stick with FSC.
“Quite frankly, it’s about this time every year that I take a little peek at what else is out there,” says Goedtke. If he’s ever going to move B/Ds, Goedtke says it will have to be because the new B/D has something of real extra value; otherwise it wouldn’t pay to put his clients through the hassle. When he contacts other B/Ds about a service or product that FSC already has, he’s told, “We’re working on that.” So while things may not be perfect for Goedtke, obviously there is “extra value” at FSC.