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Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 09:31 AM   #1
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Advice on Smith Barney

I have a friend who suggests that I roll my TSP over to him at Smith Barney. Anybody had any experience with the firm? This guy handles some fairly influential accounts, so he must have something going for him, but I read all the advice here about elf investing. Thoughts? thanks.

setab
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 10:29 AM   #2
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

My stock option plan and employee stock purchase plan are administered for my former MegaCorp employer by Smith Barney.* Very, very high fees and commissions.* ** *Fees and commissions are so high, in fact, it makes it expensive for me to dollar cost average out of my positions by exercising some shares monthly.

Perhaps this fee and commission structure is only due to the contract between my former employer and Smith Barney, but I'd check into it carefully.

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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 10:45 AM   #3
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

I retired under CSRS 3 years ago so I have a variety of accounts including the highly-desirable TSP.

Just my two cents worth - I had a taxable account and an IRA with Smith Barney for many years - more than 20 - Never heard from the advisor unless there was something risky that had a big commission attached to it - *I was busy... Had little time to think about what else to do with the accounts so I left them drift. *Typically, SB offered high ER funds that had front and back end loads - I just didn't like the territory!

Finally closed them out and moved all the SB accounts to Vanguard - should have done this years ago.

I'd recommend that you not move your TSP to SB - If you did, you'd find yourself paying 5.75% loads and 1.75% ER in addition to 0.25% 12b expenses yearly - or about 10 times the 0.20% yearly expenses of the TSP acct. *

JohnP
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 12:50 PM   #4
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Smith Barney/Citigroup double reported some money we received from exercising stock options which caused us to get audited by the IRS. That is just the latest mishap with them. DH is very much looking forward to not having to deal with them once he quits.

Edit to add: dealing with the audit myself was one benefit of having an ERed lawyer around the house!
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 01:47 PM   #5
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

I highly recommend elf investing! Returns from Fairyland Funds have been as high as gshay%...
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 01:50 PM   #6
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I highly recommend elf investing!* Returns from Fairyland Funds have been as high as gshay%...
Being a contrarian, I was thinking about shorting them.
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 02:20 PM   #7
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

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Originally Posted by Cal
Being a contrarian, I was thinking about shorting them.*
Don't overlook small-caps.
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 02:20 PM   #8
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny
Smith Barney/Citigroup double reported some money we received from exercising stock options which caused us to get audited by the IRS.* That is just the latest mishap with them.* DH is very much looking forward to not having to deal with them once he quits.
Must of been a sale on by SB for megacorp plans. *My megacorp had their stock option plan and profit sharing plans with SB as well. * Did not use SB for anything other than stock option exercises since I was not normally an American resident to begin with. *However, they didn't strike me as being terribly efficient (mostly a lot of bloat).
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 02:46 PM   #9
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by AltaRed
*However, they didn't strike me as being terribly efficient (mostly a lot of bloat).
That has been my take on my buddy too. When I mention Vanguard, he says things like "Would you bet on a horse with no track record?" and "There is a reason why their fees are so low." When I ask what can you provide, he says things like "There is always risk; there are no guarantees." Shallow CYA stuff, mostly. Thanks for the response.

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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 05:07 PM   #10
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by setab
That has been my take on my buddy too.* When I mention Vanguard, he says things like "Would you bet on a horse with no track record?" and "There is a reason why their fees are so low."* When I ask what can you provide, he says things like "There is always risk; there are no guarantees."* Shallow CYA stuff, mostly.* Thanks for the response.

setab
Your buddy has been asleep at the wheel if he hasn't heard or read about the efficiency of Vanguard, but more likely being very dishonest with you. Your buddy is clearly not serving your best interest but s/he is definitely serving his/her best interests.
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 07:01 PM   #11
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

setab,
I think you have your answer but let me pile on--your TSP funds are a a great, low-cost way to invest. Your buddy has nothing that can touch them. Expect that he'll continue to approach you with outstanding investments that "you missed out on" in retrospect because you didn't invest with him. You've been here awhile, so you recognize this as just BS.

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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 07:16 PM   #12
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by setab
This guy handles some fairly influential accounts, so he must have something going for him,
Er, that's not an assumption that I would make lightly*

Quote:
but I read all the advice here about elf investing.
I'd say that some folks here (like Unclemick) give gnomic advice* :P
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 07:19 PM   #13
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrooge

I'd say that some folks here (like Unclemick) give gnomic advice* :P
Okay, I get the long and short of it. Thanks! This is a great place to validate and learn.

setab
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-22-2006, 09:06 PM   #14
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Read Larry Swedroe's book "The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need". You'll then understand why for any of these firms, you're a lot more valuable to them than they are to you.
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-23-2006, 06:18 AM   #15
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP

I'd recommend that you not move your TSP to SB - If you did, you'd find yourself paying 5.75% loads and 1.75% ER in addition to 0.25% 12b expenses yearly - or about 10 times the 0.20% yearly expenses of the TSP acct.

I agree with JohnP, but I'd note that the expense ratios of the TSP funds are actually substantially less than .2 %. Currently, the expense ratios for TSP funds are .05% or .06% depending on the fund. It's tough to get a better deal than that.

I don't know anything about SB in particular, but using JohnP's figure of 2% expenses in SB funds, you'd be paying expenses at SB more than 30 times those of the TSP (and that doesn't include commissions, taxes, etc. paid by funds and not included in expense ratios but which would likely be greater in actively managed SB funds)
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-23-2006, 11:34 AM   #16
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
I have a friend who suggests that I roll my TSP over to him at Smith Barney.
Noooooooooo!!
Quote:
Anybody had any experience with the firm?
Don't have to. (If I say what I want to say here, I could get sued.)
Quote:
This guy handles some fairly influential accounts, so he must have something going for him,
Yeah. He is a good salesman. And there is a sucker born every minute.

What ever you want to do, you can do it yourself. Why let him lose your money when you could do it on your own?

Many folks (myself included) here gave up on trying to pick their own stocks. I don't know enough and I don't have the time to do it (although, I still have a gene that tells me, I can do this!--it is right next to the plumbing gene). What do you buy? When do you buy it? When do you sell it? Some folks can do this successfully; I can't.

We use mutual funds. Favored are no-load mutual funds (your friend wouldn't know about those). Most favored are no-load index funds, which, without a manager, outperform 85% of managed funds it has been said. By far, most of the returns from portfolios can be attributed to asset allocation than stock-picking. Asset allocation means what kind of stuff you have: growth stocks, value stocks, bonds, international stocks, etc., which can all be bought as no-load funds and often no-load index funds.

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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-23-2006, 01:42 PM   #17
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
Many folks (myself included) here gave up on trying to pick their own stocks.* I don't know enough and I don't have the time to do it (although, I still have a gene that tells me, I can do this!--it is right next to the plumbing gene).
Oh! Now I know why never felt the need to pick my own stocks or do my own plumbing. Clearly, that whole chromosome segment got hosed in a little radiation accident in 1965*
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-23-2006, 02:42 PM   #18
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

I know that keeping it in TSP is cost effective from an expense stand point, but if you want to withdraw part of it, it is difficult. On the other hand, maybe that's another good reason to leave it there.

setab
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-23-2006, 04:32 PM   #19
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

Hmmm

1. I pick individual stocks (15% ).

2. I do my own plumbing.

? page 2 - as that old news guy used to say:

75% Target Retirement 2015 benchmark (have yet to beat my lead sled in aggregate over a 5-10 yr stretch).

Have the phone no. (and his nightime cell phone no.) of a licensed, bonded plumber - and his partners, and a sump pump in the basement and I know where the watermain shut off valve is.

It's a hormone thing - probably incurable.

heh heh heh
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney
Old 07-24-2006, 11:13 AM   #20
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Re: Advice on Smith Barney

I have about $600,00 (nearly 25% of my net worth) in a Smith Barney account, almost all holdings of individual stocks and bonds. Funds that I inherited about 10 years ago that I left with the original broker and that are now worth between 2 and 3 times their initial value.

I restructured the holdings shortly after inheriting them (and the broker gave me about a 50% discount on SB's rack rates), but since then have had very little activity...a couple of trades a year. Other than Smith Barney's rates being a bit high, I haven't had any problem with them. But then again, my broker learned quickly that I wasn't a very could customer for high-fee products.

A related question. My broker just left the firm, and my account is with one of their Flordia offices, so it seems a good time to move the holdings someplace more convenient (and with smaller fees). Can I just transfer all of the holdings to another brokerage (e.g., a discount brokerage near my home in DC) or to I have to buy and sell (and pay commissions) on all my positions. If I can move the account, what typically is the cost/fee for doing that? I currently have another (similarly sized) account with T. Rowe Price (primarily mutual funds), but am not sure that much money with one company (is that an issue)? Recommended alternatives?

Thanks
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