Best firm for female .. ML or SSB?

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May 23, 2005 8:29 pm

I have succeeded as a financial advisor in banks and regional firms in the past. After giving up my book to stay at home with young children, I have relocated with my family to an influential suburb of a major city. I am trying to decide between and offer from ML and SSB.


Any opinion on the best firm for a female?

May 23, 2005 8:37 pm

That is an exceptionally local situation more than a corporate policy or philosophy.



Did you come back in time to avoid having to requalify?

May 23, 2005 8:45 pm

Yes, all my licenses are still in tact: 6,7,63, and 65. I am also a CFP


I like both branches, however the ML training program seems to be more of a sink or swim.

May 23, 2005 8:54 pm
moneymom:

Yes, all my licenses are still in tact: 6,7,63, and 65. I am also a CFP


I like both branches, however the ML training program seems to be more of a sink or swim.





Why do you need a training program if it's been less than two years you
should be ready to hit the track running full speed ahead.

May 23, 2005 9:00 pm

Because I was a mutual fund wholesaler for the last five, and entering through the training program route gives me some "ramp up" time and a salary.


I have been successful in the past because I work hard and care about people, I prefer the "soft sale" approach. Do you think I can survive in the wire house environment?


Thanks for your responses, I have read many of them on the forum and they are very insightful.

May 23, 2005 9:12 pm

I have felt, forever, that women have an easier time getting selling
opportunities because it's part of our collective persona to be nice to
women.



However, I also feel that once you're in front of the prospect you'll
have to be better than men because we also have the collective stereo
types regarding women and business, women and numbers, women and
money--there's a whole string of them.



I would think that seminars would be an ideal forum for a veteran wholesaler (I wonder if you're a leech too?).



If you play your hand well you should be able to intimidate the manager
into leaving you alone and letting you do it however you want.



I'd say take to make your decision on completely "stupid" reasons such
as which place is most liklely to give you a private office, a larger
share of an assistant, more automony.  Perhaps even the cutest
manager---whatever rings your chimes.  You're going to be there a
lot of hours, you might as well enjoy it.

May 23, 2005 9:26 pm

Thanks Put Trader, do you really live in Austria?

May 23, 2005 9:35 pm
moneymom:

Thanks Put Trader, do you really live in Austria?





Not often enough.  My wife and I do go to Salzburg on the Saturday
following Thanksgiving and return to the states on New Year's Eve.



Salzburg is a wonderful place to be when the weather is crisp, the snow
moving in, and the churches ringing their Christmas bells.



The Christmas market is good too.

May 24, 2005 8:51 pm

moneymom, I start at ML next week. I have not been in production. However, I have 8 yrs investment experience with a large mutual fund company. A different kind a sales.



My point - I also have a CFP and ML pays CFPs with industry experience a really, really good salary (65k to 80k). The salary is good for 22 months during the POA training program.



I've been told ML's training program is the best. Not only did ML tell me this (ofcourse) but so did UBS and MS who I also had offers from. I wasn't able to get an interview with SSB.



One good thing about ML is that the Global Private Client Group generates a majority of the revenue. SSB produces only a small slice of Citi's revenue. So, ML supports it's producers as they're vital to the co. as a whole.



I also like the fact that large wirehouses favor annuitized or asset based business rather than products (i.e. insurance companies).



May 24, 2005 9:35 pm

Moneymoon-



I am a self proclaimed ML sales banner (Ask Inquisetive!). 
However, I think the two firms are pretty comparable (other than the
market cap on their stock).  I would look at the firm that has the
best sales training support at the branch level.  At ML, ask to
spend some time with the POA coach (I am one) and the SSB equivelant,
as well as any sales managers and the like.  Also, I like the
offices that have other people in your shoes to provide some level
support.  If you join ML and need help- PM me.



Good luck!

May 25, 2005 7:47 am

Does Smith Barney still have the "boom boom room"? 



Rightway, I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch
is not your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother. 
Merrill Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about
you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 



One thing, folks:  companies that have the "best" training
programs still have people who fail and wash out of the industry. 
The biggest determinant of your success is you.  I'd focus more on
a company that fits your personality than "best" training programs or
"biggest" brand names.  There are successful people at little
regionals, too.



I don't know if there is a "best" firm for a female.  Money does
not have a gender.  Your scorecard is your level of
production--the amount of money you make.  Do well, and you will
be treated well.  If anything, the lack of successful females in
the industry will mean that you are held to lower standards.  That
is, if you don't make the production hurdle, you may not be fired as
quickly.



I don't know how many people have anti-female stereotypes.  I
don't.  Some of my best math and accounting professors in college
were female.



Oh, by the way, it helps if you wear tight-fitting clothing. 



Nah, just kidding. 








May 25, 2005 9:14 am

If it matters to you (and for many women it may not) you might check into what sort of "Women's program" each might have.  These are the types of things that at a minimum usually include access to senior women reps (perhaps some sort of "women's advisory council")who can act as mentors, but also can include special "women's symposiums" for the reps, special marketing materials to reach women investors, etc.   As you know, this is a very male dominated industry, and many women can find it helpful to have a structure where they can network with and learn from other women reps in their firm.  Because women are in such a minority, successful women reps typically are very willing to reach out to do all they can to help other women succeed.  Programs like this just help to facilitate that process.

May 25, 2005 9:50 am
inquisitive:





Rightway, I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch
is not your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother. 
Merrill Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about
you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 







I recognoze that.  They also gave me stock that is now vested and
in the 7 figures, so I do have a certain level of appreciation...as I
work from the office in my home as I take a break and type this. 
ML is not the MAGI, just a good place to work for someone with open
eyes.

May 25, 2005 9:59 am
inquisitive:

Does Smith Barney still have the "boom boom room"? 

Rightway, I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch
is not your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother. 
Merrill Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about
you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 

One thing, folks:  companies that have the "best" training
programs still have people who fail and wash out of the industry. 
The biggest determinant of your success is you.  I'd focus more on
a company that fits your personality than "best" training programs or
"biggest" brand names.  There are successful people at little
regionals, too.

I don't know if there is a "best" firm for a female.  Money does
not have a gender.  Your scorecard is your level of
production--the amount of money you make.  Do well, and you will
be treated well.  If anything, the lack of successful females in
the industry will mean that you are held to lower standards.  That
is, if you don't make the production hurdle, you may not be fired as
quickly.

The thing that caught my eye here is the argument that Merrill doesn't care about you, but no company does.

There is a lot of truth there--so why not dance with the best looking girl at the dance if none of them care about you anyway?

+++++

The Boom Boom room also caught my eye since I was involved in a lot of
discussion about it, how to avoid it, what could be done if it did
happen and so forth.

The media really blew it out of all reality--not to excuse it.  The
reality is that it was not much more than a working world version of a
typical Saturday night at a frat house.

NOW, and any organization like them, is going to make a far bigger deal about any opening that they can find.

Something women should inquire about at Smith Barney is their policy
regarding keeping a license valid if the woman should decide to step
onto the "Mommy track" for awhile.  It is my understanding that as part
of the settlement with NOW Smith Barney asked the NASD if it would be
OK with the NASD if Smith Barney "parked" women's licenses as long as
the woman who was on leave came into the office occasionally and
attended all mandatory compliance meetings.

If that is true it's an advantage that women of child bearing age should consider.

++++

The comment that money is gender neutral is well taken and very true.

From where I sit it's best to be looking for opportunity rather than
some support network.  There should be no such thing as "Firms that are
good for women" any more than there should be "Firms that are good for
men."

Ditto for whining from minorities.

May 25, 2005 10:00 am
rightway:
inquisitive:





Rightway, I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch
is not your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother. 
Merrill Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about
you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 







I recognoze that.  They also gave me stock that is now vested and
in the 7 figures, so I do have a certain level of appreciation...as I
work from the office in my home as I take a break and type this. 
ML is not the MAGI, just a good place to work for someone with open
eyes.





Seven figures worth of free shares.  Just how did that happen to a broker in a branch?

May 25, 2005 10:27 am
Put Trader:
rightway:
inquisitive:





Rightway, I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch
is not your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother. 
Merrill Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about
you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 







I recognoze that.  They also gave me stock that is now vested and
in the 7 figures, so I do have a certain level of appreciation...as I
work from the office in my home as I take a break and type this. 
ML is not the MAGI, just a good place to work for someone with open
eyes.





Seven figures worth of free shares.  Just how did that happen to a broker in a branch?





The fact you do not know tells many things...but I will answer:
Transition package negotiated where you for-go an up front loan check
in leu of a back end stock package vested for usually 5 or 7
years. 

May 25, 2005 12:11 pm
rightway:



The fact you do not know tells many things...but I will answer:
Transition package negotiated where you for-go an up front loan check
in leu of a back end stock package vested for usually 5 or 7
years. 





ML stock has appreciated just over 100% in the past 8 years.  Just
using the "rule of 72", that's not a very impressive return.



And you are bragging about your deal?



Hell, ML stock was higher during the 2001 bear market than it is now.



What percentage of your trailing 12 did you get as stock?

May 25, 2005 2:28 pm

inquisitive:

Does Smith Barney still have the "boom boom room"?  <?:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shape id=x0000t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600">@0 1 0">@1">@2 1 2">@3 21600 pixelWidth">@3 21600 pixelHeight">@0 0 1">@6 1 2">@7 21600 pixelWidth">@8 21600 0">@7 21600 pixelHeight">@10 21600 0"><?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><v:shape id=x0000i1025 style="WIDTH: 12.75pt; HEIGHT: 12.75pt" alt="" ="#x0000t75">


As I recall it was actually a Shearson office on <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Long Island, but SB paid the fine after the buy-out.


inquisitive:


Rightway, I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch is not your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother.  Merrill Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 



You've beat that drum before, and I'm at a loss to really understand why. Do you think there's anyone here naive enough to believe that any employer in any field doesn't have interests that diverge from that of their employees?


 


inquisitive:


One thing, folks:  companies that have the "best" training programs still have people who fail and wash out of the industry.  The biggest determinant of your success is you.



Again, a rock solid grasp of the obvious there....


 


 

inquisitive:


 I'd focus more on a company that fits your personality than "best" training programs or "biggest" brand names.  There are successful people at little regionals, too.


I think offices actually determine "personality" you’ll encounter more than the firm as a whole. To your second point, I'm sure there are managers working AA or AAA baseball teams that are happy campers too. Me, I'd prefer to work with the bigs, and because of that, I'll always recommend that to those that ask.


May 25, 2005 3:29 pm
stanwbrown:

[quote=inquisitive]Does Smith Barney still have the "boom boom room"?  @0 1 0">@1">@2 1 2">@3 21600 pixelWidth">@3 21600 pixelHeight">@0 0 1">@6 1 2">@7 21600 pixelWidth">@8 21600 0">@7 21600 pixelHeight">@10 21600 0">
[/quote]


As I recall it was actually a Shearson office on Long Island, but SB paid the fine after the buy-out.


A joke, Stan...


stanwbrown:



[quote=inquisitive]
Rightway,
I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch is not
your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother.  Merrill
Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about
you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 


[/quote]


You've beat that drum before, and I'm at a loss to really understand why.



One clue for you, Stan:  "mother Merrill".  Enough said.


stanwbrown:



Do
you think there's anyone here naive enough to believe that any employer
in any field doesn't have interests that diverge from that of their
employees?


See above.

 
[quote=stanwbrown]


[quote=inquisitive]
One
thing, folks:  companies that have the "best" training programs
still have people who fail and wash out of the industry.  The
biggest determinant of your success is you.


[/quote]


Again, a rock solid grasp of the obvious there....


[/quote]


Glad
you noticed, Stan.  Too bad more people don't, because if they
did, there would be no talk of "best training program".  Because
the best program in the world isn't going to help you succeed if you
can't make it, just as the worst one isn't going to prevent you from
making it.  Repetition--it helps people learn.


[quote=stanwbrown]

 [quote=inquisitive]
 I'd
focus more on a company that fits your personality than "best" training
programs or "biggest" brand names.  There are successful people at
little regionals, too.
[/quote]


I think offices actually determine "personality" you’ll encounter more than the firm as a whole.


[/quote]


Yeah,
sure, Stan (:rollseyes:).  And when you call the back office for
help because something is wrong, I'm sure that branch personality will
shine through...huh?  When your payout gets tinkered with, your
fees are raised, or support is cut, I'm sure all you'll have to worry
about is branch personality.  When you aren't making the cut
production-wise and are on the verge of being terminated, I'm sure that
branch personality will supersede corporate.


Some
companies are more "fend for yourself" than others.  Perhaps you
weren't aware of that.  That is what I am talking about.


You
aren't one of those "branch managers are gods" folks, are you? 
They aren't.  They're actually quite powerless.  If you want
anything done, go to regional.


[quote=stanwbrown]

To
your second point, I'm sure there are managers working AA or AAA
baseball teams that are happy campers too. Me, I'd prefer to work with
the bigs, and because of that, I'll always recommend that to those that
ask.

[/quote]



There are no parallels between professional baseball and brokerage
firms, Stan.  Quite a pathetic attempt to make one, I might add.



I know of a $4 million producer at a little regional that most people
have never heard of.  How does your "big league" production
compare to that???



Perhaps you should just stick to the obvious. 

May 25, 2005 4:00 pm

inquisitive:
stanwbrown:

inquisitive:

Does Smith Barney still have the "boom boom room"?  <?:NAMESPACE PREFIX = V /><V:SHAPE id=x0000t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@5xe" coordsize="21600,21600" u1:spt="75" u1:preferrelative="t">@0 1 0">@1">@2 1 2">@3 21600 pixelWidth">@3 21600 pixelHeight">@0 0 1">@6 1 2">@7 21600 pixelWidth">@8 21600 0">@7 21600 pixelHeight">@10 21600 0"><?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><V:SHAPE id=x0000i1025 style="WIDTH: 12.75pt; HEIGHT: 12.75pt" alt='"="#x0000t75'>


As I recall it was actually a Shearson office on <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Long Island, but SB paid the fine after the buy-out.



A joke, Stan...



Just thought you might want to be accurate, the SB connection to the boom-boom room is often made. Shearson had the “fun”, SB had to handle the damage.


inquisitive:
stanwbrown:
inquisitive:


Rightway, I think the appropriate term is "shill".  Merrill Lynch is not your friend.  Merrill Lynch is not your mother.  Merrill Lynch is evil.  Merrill Lynch does not care one bit about you.  Neither does any company, for that matter. 



You've beat that drum before, and I'm at a loss to really understand why.



One clue for you, Stan:  "mother Merrill".  Enough said.



A clue for you “Ma Bell”. The nickname has to do with size, not because any rational person doesn’t see the conflicts of interest between employer and employee (which btw, even exist in sainted regionals). BTW, the “evil” stuff is just so over the top.


inquisitive:
stanwbrown:


Do you think there's anyone here naive enough to believe that any employer in any field doesn't have interests that diverge from that of their employees?


See above.


Ditto


 

inquisitive:
stanwbrown:
inquisitive:


One thing, folks:  companies that have the "best" training programs still have people who fail and wash out of the industry.  The biggest determinant of your success is you.



Again, a rock solid grasp of the obvious there....



Glad you noticed, Stan.  Too bad more people don't, because if they did, there would be no talk of "best training program".  Because the best program in the world isn't going to help you succeed if you can't make it, just as the worst one isn't going to prevent you from making it.  Repetition--it helps people learn.



Say I want to be a pro golfer, do I want the best coach or the worst? Granted, I have to make it on my own on the course, but call me crazy, I’m going to use the best coach in the biz, if I can.



inquisitive:
stanwbrown:
inquisitive:


 I'd focus more on a company that fits your personality than "best" training programs or "biggest" brand names.  There are successful people at little regionals, too.


I think offices actually determine "personality" you’ll encounter more than the firm as a whole.



Yeah, sure, Stan (:rollseyes:).  And when you call the back office for help because something is wrong, I'm sure that branch personality will shine through...huh?  When your payout gets tinkered with, your fees are raised, or support is cut, I'm sure all you'll have to worry about is branch personality.  When you aren't making the cut production-wise and are on the verge of being terminated, I'm sure that branch personality will supersede corporate.



Where to begin on this silliness…… my point was to do with work environment. The environment you work in is far more dependent on your specific office than anything generated out of national HQ. It can be back-stabbing or fair, drudgery or fun competition. It’s all about the people you work with and to some extent, the attitude of the manger. As to the problems you mentioned above, I’ve never encountered any of them, anywhere.


inquisitive:

You aren't one of those "branch managers are gods" folks, are you?  They aren't.  They're actually quite powerless.  If you want anything done, go to regional.



sigh, sounds like you often need “things done” and have to contend with “cut support” and payouts being reduced. I’ve never faced that. Perhaps you should tell us where you work so we could all be sure of avoiding it.


Within your manager’s limited powers is that of setting an office environment. He/She determines, for example, what if any pressure there might be on proprietary sales or if there wil be marketing funds available. He/she also divies up plums that come along. They ain’t gods, they’re often failed producers, but there are things within their control.


 


inquisitive:
stanwbrown:


To your second point, I'm sure there are managers working AA or AAA baseball teams that are happy campers too. Me, I'd prefer to work with the bigs, and because of that, I'll always recommend that to those that ask.




There are no parallels between professional baseball and brokerage firms, Stan.  Quite a pathetic attempt to make one, I might add.



 


No doubt the manager of the AAA team things he’s doing the same thing, with the same tools and the same types of players as the managers in the bigs.


 


inquisitive:



I know of a $4 million producer at a little regional that most people have never heard of.  How does your "big league" production compare to that???



 


Golly, he’s a massive fish, in a small pond. Some people love that sort of thing. I personally could make do as a 4 million producer anywhere.


 


At a wirehouse he might make the regional “Chairman’s Council”. OTOH, while his life is pretty good, the vast majority of his peers at his firm are doing far less than the average guy at the bigs and with less in the way of tools.