Best career path?

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Feb 17, 2007 11:43 am

I have just taken a job with TD Ameritrade doing their standard brokerage/customer service position. This will enable me to obtain series 7 and 63, and make me much more marketable to a reputable company. Thus far, only AXA is interested in me, and I've done enough reading to know that would be a bad experience. Was taking this a wise choice? Is it possible to be hired on to the ML, RJ, EJ, AGE, etc. without prior experience in financial services? I have lots of customer service experience, but it is in the form of your typical high school and college jobs (restaurants, retail). I have a college degree in college degree in economics FWIW. Thanks in advance.

Feb 17, 2007 12:29 pm

Not only is experience important, but so is loving your work, whatever you do. Let TD pay you while you learn a few things. At home, at night, instead of watching television, study for your CFP. Maybe they will help pay for your studies.


Having this intellectual framework will help you understand the financial planning process. Working at TD will help you understand service. The remaining legs, sales and products, will come easier in your next job's training program.


Economics is a great discipline to bring into this business. Enjoy the ride.

Feb 17, 2007 2:42 pm

i just left TD in november.  i was there two years before I had enough.  I was at 2nd interviews with both Merrill and UBS before I came across a rare opportunity to partner with a veteran at a different firm so I did that.


You will be fine if you can get past the penny-pinching know-it-all clients at TD and try to learn as much as you can.  I had a problem with the whole discount brokerage mentality and propaganda and the lack of an opportunity to grow a business and call my own shots.  I felt like I was getting on a hamster wheel every day.


Sorry for rambling, but you will be fine.  get some experience and learn a few things.  Then get the hell out of there.

Feb 17, 2007 3:43 pm

I had a problem with the whole discount brokerage mentality and propaganda and the lack of an opportunity to grow a business and call my own shots.  I felt like I was getting on a hamster wheel every day.


Good stuff.

Feb 17, 2007 5:56 pm

Thanks for all the responses... I am trying to figure out how I wrote "I have a college degree in college degree in economics"..... Glad I'm not an author or something. 

Feb 18, 2007 4:04 am
planrcoach:

I had a problem with the whole discount
brokerage mentality and propaganda and the lack of an opportunity to
grow a business and call my own shots.  I felt like I was getting
on a hamster wheel every day.


Good stuff.





Come on, "growing a (personal) business" is not what customer service
reps at a discount brokerages do. It's about being a flak catcher and
helping people who can't be helped. Being a CSR is being on a hamster wheel by definition.



It is an artifact of the regulation scheme that RR's work at discount
brokerages, since by policy they do not "sell" securities to customers.

Feb 18, 2007 12:11 pm
AllREIT:
planrcoach:

I had a problem with the whole discount brokerage mentality and propaganda and the lack of an opportunity to grow a business and call my own shots.  I felt like I was getting on a hamster wheel every day.


Good stuff.




Come on, "growing a (personal) business" is not what customer service reps at a discount brokerages do. It's about being a flak catcher and helping people who can't be helped. Being a CSR is being on a hamster wheel by definition.

It is an artifact of the regulation scheme that RR's work at discount brokerages, since by policy they do not "sell" securities to customers.


The thing is we all knew we were pretty much customer service reps but the company keeps trying to convince you that you are every bit as much of a Rep as any guy from any full service firm.  The constant b.s. is ridiculous. 


Feb 19, 2007 9:20 am
cds01:

I have just taken a job with TD Ameritrade doing their standard brokerage/customer service position. This will enable me to obtain series 7 and 63, and make me much more marketable to a reputable company. Thus far, only AXA is interested in me, and I've done enough reading to know that would be a bad experience. Was taking this a wise choice? Is it possible to be hired on to the ML, RJ, EJ, AGE, etc. without prior experience in financial services? I have lots of customer service experience, but it is in the form of your typical high school and college jobs (restaurants, retail). I have a college degree in college degree in economics FWIW. Thanks in advance.


You've just stamped a big, red "L" on your forehead.

Feb 21, 2007 7:19 pm
My Inner Child:

You've just stamped a big, red "L" on your forehead.



I wouldn't take it that far, but I knew going in that this would be largely a CSR type role. I plan on getting my licenses, learning what I can learn, and getting out in a reasonable amount of time.

Thanks for those that gave worthwhile advice/info.


Feb 21, 2007 8:39 pm

IMO you should run far, far away ASAP if you are looking for a long-term career in the business.  Get with a major firm and explain that TD was not at all what you were looking for.  You made a big mistake, one that you've realized early on. That you were/are looking to enter the biz, get licensed, and develop a qualified clientele' of your own.  The sooner you do this, the better.


"Major" firms generally do not hire from the discount ranks. Just the opposite is true.  You will bring practically no clients over (TD customers are DOY's to the core).  Explain that you made a major mistake in selecting your current employer, and what you are really trying to accomplish can only be  done at a full-service firm.  It can be done, but it better be done very, very quickly.  Oh- and you had better be ready to "wow" a prospective employer (i.e. manager) with a well-thought out business plan, and hopefully some semblance of a successful track record at a previous sales position. Customer service is worthless with regard to experience when it comes to being granted a full-service broker job.  Sales is key. It is what it is.


Best of luck with whatever you decide.

Feb 21, 2007 8:59 pm

If you are just getting started you may want to look at bank programs where they will take you on as either a junior broker learning the ropes and getting paid a salary or maybe even a "dual" employee working both for the bank and brokerage.


In either setting you will be learning and more importantly making contacts/establishing relationships every day which will benefit you in the future assuming you want to stay in the biz.


Scrim

Feb 22, 2007 12:14 am

I disagree with the idea that you will be looked down upon by the big firms.  its not like you will be screwed because you worked for a discounter.  if you don't hate it stick around for a bit and learn as much as you can.  just know that its a completely different world.  as I said before, I had a opportunities with a couple of the big wirehouses coming out of TD.  it sounds like you want to be a full-service advisor so I would look into getting as much as you can from them then getting out and getting started with what you want to do as soon as you get a chance. 


the good thing about TD is you do learn how to ask the difficult, direct probing questions like what other investments the clients have outside your firm.  believe it or not a lot of reps have trouble asking those questions.  you are not exactly wasting your time but you're not going to get real far either.  take it for what its worth and move forward with your goal.


Im sort of bitter towards the discount side of the business but that's just me.  I hated it.


You are welcome to PM me if you want.  I'll share some more details of my experience with TD.