Building Product Knowledge

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Aug 17, 2005 1:33 pm

What is the best way to build product knowledge.  I am sure nothing beats time and experience.  But, can you advise anything to give me a boost.  For example books, mags, anything.  Thank youl.

Aug 17, 2005 1:53 pm

Have you taken any of the exams?  (i.e. -Series 7, 66, 65)  Those will give you a good base of knowledge on the different product types.


If you are not in the business the book "Investing for dummies" is a good start.



Aug 17, 2005 2:04 pm

Yes, I am in my second month of production.  I have an MBA in Finance.  Looking for the more specific knowledge.  It is overwhelming to try to pick the right investments for my clients.  Mostly, I do what the other smart brokers are doing.  Lucky for me they are very open.  Maybe it just takes time.  I do read constantly.

Aug 17, 2005 2:16 pm

There's nothing like time in the business.


You say the other brokers are helpful, ask them to explain what they are doing and why.  If you are open to their ideas you will surely grow your knowledge quickly, especially in regards to taxes and estate planning.


Aug 17, 2005 2:59 pm

AH! youre in product.  Find a good mutual fund company you like, (ie-American Funds) Contact the wholesaler and have them send you a new broker package.  Learn the ends and outs of every type of fund they have.  Do the same for an annuity company (ie- AXA )


Then forget about trying to learn everything else right now. Just focus on bring in the assets and throwing them in a good fund within the family of funds of your liken.


After you reach about 30-50 mil in assets and by this time youve learn somethings from experience, youll have a good understanding of the different products out there.


But right now... your goals is bring in the assets.  Keep it simple.


Aug 17, 2005 3:01 pm

Its AH!  Youre in Production not Product

Aug 17, 2005 3:36 pm

I just received a book in the mail from Amazon called "How Money Works".  I haven't started to read it yet, however another FA had recommended the book to me.

Aug 17, 2005 9:47 pm

Just make sure you don't have that book sitting out on your desk when your clients come in for a review!!  

Aug 18, 2005 10:04 am

The best ways I have found to learn product knowledge is to first: network with as many seasoned advisors as you can. Ask them what they are using and what works for them.  What pitfalls are there in the different types of investments and investment syles?  Forget asking the wholesalers or your own management what you should be offering clients.  All they are interested in is pushing the latest product d'jour. 


Second. Educate yourself. Take some economic courses. Study for the CFP and other designations, even if you don't take the tests to get the designations the courses are very valuable. Learn about asset allocation modules. Read as many trade publications as you can. 

Aug 18, 2005 10:13 am

Are you seeking product knowledge because you believe that it will help increase your production?  If this is the case you are incorrect.  You need more concept knowledge and not product knowledge.  You have plenty of time to explore the mundane details of a specific product AFTER you have sold your prospects on your investment concept.

Aug 19, 2005 1:15 am
ABCD:

AH! youre in product.  Find a good mutual fund company you like, (ie-American Funds) Contact the wholesaler and have them send you a new broker package.  Learn the ends and outs of every type of fund they have.  Do the same for an annuity company (ie- AXA )


Then forget about trying to learn everything else right now. Just focus on bring in the assets and throwing them in a good fund within the family of funds of your liken.


After you reach about 30-50 mil in assets and by this time youve learn somethings from experience, youll have a good understanding of the different products out there.


But right now... your goals is bring in the assets.  Keep it simple.




Good post by ABCD.  Try to keep things as simple as you can yet stell be effective for your clients.  While counterintuitive to some folks, simple is good.  Easy for you to explain, easy for clients to understand, easy to manage the account.



PM me if you want some more specific questions.  Maybe we should talk.

Aug 19, 2005 7:32 am
maybeeeeeeee:

What is the best way to build product
knowledge.  I am sure nothing beats time and experience. 
But, can you advise anything to give me a boost.  For example
books, mags, anything.  Thank youl.





Create 3 hypothetical clients, one real wealthy (5 mil plus), one in
the middle (1 million) and one small (250K), and go to 5 or 6 reps in
your office and ask them, given veriables (age, risk tollerance, time
frame, etc...) how they would invest the liquid
assets...specifically.  Mutual Fund Wrap, Individual stock
strategies, managed money, private equity, hedge, bond ladder, taxable,
tax free, annuities, etc... 



Take their responses and research them within your firm by contacting
the representatives on each of those product lines.  One tip- ask
the reps after or before trading hours and do your own work before or
after hours if possible.  During the day you should be prospecting.

Aug 19, 2005 9:05 am

Thank you.  All very good information.  You know when you start out you have your own investments, your hubby, your mom, your sister, etc. and of course I want to do these the right way.


We have great help here at RJ, but I am always interested in what others have to say.

Aug 19, 2005 7:27 pm

Personally, I'd pass on opening any accounts for relatives. You can fire your client or be fired by them and never see them again. However, if your relative becomes "dissatisfied" with the investments you've selected for them, you're going to have to face them at family gatherings and holidays. The most exotic investment I'll handle for a relative is a bank CD.

Aug 19, 2005 10:35 pm

you probably have bad results, so yes, thats probably your best move

Aug 20, 2005 10:44 am
doberman:

Personally, I'd pass on opening any accounts for relatives. You can fire your client or be fired by them and never see them again. However, if your relative becomes "dissatisfied" with the investments you've selected for them, you're going to have to face them at family gatherings and holidays. The most exotic investment I'll handle for a relative is a bank CD.



My rule is no more than 1/2 their money for relatives.  My dad is the exception at 2/3.  I want them to have a benchmark experience somewhere else to compare with what I've done.  I also insist that their "other" advisor know what is going on.  I talk to most of the other brokers on a fairly regular basis to make compare notes and make sure we're all on the same page with the client.

Aug 20, 2005 11:09 am

usctrojan: you probably have bad results, so yes, thats probably your best move


------------------------------------------------


Bad results are in the eye of the beholder. If that "beholder" is a relative and they're disappointed with your investment recommendations (no matter how unreasonable their expectations are), family gatherings will be awkward.


Your comment suggests that you are new to the business and, perhaps, even new to investing. So, maybe you have to find out the hard way. That's ok, we all ignore good advice from time to time; only to learn the lesson later on.


If you do plunge your relatives' money into the market, be prepared to spend the holidays by yourself. 

Aug 20, 2005 6:14 pm

point taken

Aug 21, 2005 2:51 am

Product knowledge is what you need to "push product" - are you an advisor or a salesperson?



A bartender needs to have an experts knowledge to be considered a
mixologist - alternatively, a person could master about seven to ten
regular way concoctions and survive in the trenches til they picked up
more know-how and achieved some level of mediocrity. Just like a pro
starts with one or two positions before they are seasoned enough to
cover all the calls - think about your options - spreads, straddles,
covered, naked... Yup, product knowledge is a great thread to grasp.



Prospecting advice would be appropriate for a novice to seek out.

Aug 21, 2005 10:44 am
menotellname:

Are you seeking product knowledge because you
believe that it will help increase your production?  If this is
the case you are incorrect.  You need more concept knowledge and
not product knowledge.  You have plenty of time to explore the
mundane details of a specific product AFTER you have sold your
prospects on your investment concept.





"I call my investment concept the M&M You Can't Touch this Dummy
Concept. The M&M stand for Meno-Money...bet you would of never
figured that out, Dummy. Did I mention my new white patent leatherette
loafers were fundeded with my powerfulcal earning concept. I'm
mensa-rich with all kind of the stuff you wont never can even
understand, Dummy (10x)."