Callan Reviews

Updated 5 Dec 2020

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4.2
73%
Recommend to a Friend
85%
Approve of CEO
Callan  CEO, President, and Chief Research Officer Greg Allen
Greg Allen
9 Ratings
  1. COVID-19

    "Upper Management Not Approachable"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Vice President 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Callan full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    For the most part this is a great company to work for. The chairman of the company cares about his employees and is a very personable man. Pre-Covid the company was very family friendly and offered excellent work life balance.

    Cons

    HR is not allowed to run independently. Everything must go through senior management which makes everyone distrust any grievance process for fear of repercussions. Senior management does not want to hear any complaints about lower management. You are told to deal with it on your own. Most department managers are excellent but some are really bad. They do not know how to manage and they do not always treat their employees well. Basically you have to put up with it or leave.

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  2. "Not a Financial Firm"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Callan full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Most people at Callan are legitimately family members or long time friends, so it is a very warm and friendly place to work. The hours are really great, and are noticeably more flexible than any other firm I've ever worked at. 401(k) plan is really great

    Cons

    1. Nepotism - there are entire families (parents, children, cousins etc), siblings, couples etc that work here. I was shocked when I learned how much of the firm is built on family connections 2. Promotions - there is truly no rubric for promotions. You can meet all the requirements that they say you must meet, but unless someone leaves and the position opens up for you, there is a very slim chance you will be promoted. There are also a lot of title change promotions that come with no salary, or salary and responsibility "promotions" that do not come with an elevated title. Reasons for promoting (or not promoting) tended to be quite arbitrary. Titles were also created for certain employees when promotions were due but funds weren't available, and these titles were never bestowed to others. This is confusing when you are starting out your career and have no idea which level to be aiming for next 3. Leadership - Everyone at this firm is truly very kind and easy to get along with. However, if you have been at the firm for 30 years (as many have been), your leadership style tends to be 30 years out of date. Expectations for younger members are not clear, and the leadership I received from upper management was more directed at how to grow as a person, not as an employee - much like how a parent raises a child. This is helpful in other circumstances, but truly not for career development 4. Technology - It took working at a few other places afterwards in the Bay Area to realize how behind on technology Callan truly is. It's an old school firm with limited funds, but efficient technology should always be a priority. None of the systems I used at Callan were remotely applicable to other financial/investment firms 5. Scope of Work - If you want to truly be in finance, Callan is not for you. I never really learned much about the market or how funds operate, because Callan advises clients on what investment managers should manage certain funds. Long way of saying, Callan is very far removed from the actual investment making decision - they are consultants, not portfolio managers. Research is also conducted on managers that are already pre-filtered according to red-tape established by public pension plans, so you aren't getting clean unbiased data from which to work. Callan also heavily focuses on actively managed public funds, which are just too expensive for too little return in today's market environment 6. Conclusion - I've seen a lot of reviews saying that this is a great place to start your career, but you need to know where you want your career to go. If you want great hours in a family-like consulting environment then Callan is for you. Be prepared to be here for a long time in order to see career growth. If you want to work in finance and see Callan as your jumping off point, I would look elsewhere - Callan is definitely a consulting firm first, investment firm last


  3. "Great place to work"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Callan full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Wonderful people, interesting clients, challenging work, nurturing and respectful culture

    Cons

    I can't really think of any oddly enough. I've worked at a few firms and this place is honestly top-notch in many ways.

  4. "Nice firm to work for that continues it's well known positive culture"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Callan full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fun culture, work life balance, educational sessions, exposure to lots of high profile names in the industry, great parties, tons of networking events, access to upper management, tightly knit firm

    Cons

    Promotions move slowly (typically only open up when someone leaves), it is a more formal environment than other firms (pro or con depending on your personality)

  5. "Great Work Life Balance"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Vice President 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Callan full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Hard to imagine a better work life balance, great at being accommodating for family and emergencies

    Cons

    Technology could be improved internally

  6. Helpful (2)

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Callan full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    A great place to work and (generally) great people to work with. Over the top company parties Great first job for finance geeks Approachable and involved senior management Lots of (finance) advancement opportunities Collegiality is (generally) practiced and rewarded Generous time off, 401k match and benefits

    Cons

    Petty tyrants and their fiefdoms

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  7. "Excellent Firm"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President Operations in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Callan full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great company! Supportive colleagues. As it is employee-owned, everyone is encouraging of each of their colleagues success and development. It is a firm where you can be an entrepreneur within a larger organization. Great management.

    Cons

    Environment is a bit more formal - but that is in par with the industry.

  8. "Senior Vice President"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Callan full-time

    Pros

    Firm puts the best interest of clients first. Senior management is very transparent with broad employee group, sharing details on financial condition of the firm and long-term initiatives.

    Cons

    Slightly conservative; slow to embrace new investment ideas.

  9. Helpful (2)

    "Good place to start but limited opportunity and growth"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Callan full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Good place to start a career in investment consulting, Callan has a good reputation in the industry but it's a very niche market - My team is collaborative - Good medical/dental/vision insurance

    Cons

    - Compensation for non-management and/or non-shareholder level is VERY below market, even for the investment consulting sector of the finance which is usually on the lower end (not sure where the numbers on this site come from because they seem inflated from my personal experiences) - Limited career opportunities: usually positions don't open up until someone leave - Slow career progression, compensation doesn't get to ok level (market level for finance) until you're shareholder but then we're talking 10 years down the road on an average basis - Time-off policy: not competitive (2 weeks to start), especially in the bay area job market. - Reluctance to change and to adapt from the management level. Very slow to adopt new technology as a company even compared to the other finance companies. Concerns from employees are not addressed (I've personally expressed concerns several times to my manager but was given excuses or dismissed every time) - Specific to my department, lack of transparency in career progression: expectations are not stated clearly, and they're definitely not applied consistently. Promotions were not given on a performance-based criteria. - Nepotism: while not pervasive, it's definitely seen very often. People who are connected are hired and promoted faster. They also get assigned more projects, which were then used by the managers as reasons why they got promoted.

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  10. "Great Company, great culture"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Callan full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great culture, smart and thoughtful colleagues, great leadership. Best company I've ever joined. I'm proud of the work we're doing for clients.

    Cons

    Our use of certain tech tools could be improved.

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