Ed Jones vs. SB for newbe?

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Aug 5, 2006 8:32 pm

Hi Everyone,


I am new to the forum and am considering a career as a Financial Advisor. I have met with both EJ and SB and am scheduled for my second phone interview with EJ on Wednesday and also to take the tests at the local SB office on the same day.


I have recently retired from the Army and can make ends meet with current retirement income (house paid off, no loan balances and some savings). I am currently in training to sell building supplies to contractors and builders ($19K salary + commission). I really do not have much of a client network for building a book. I do have contacts left in the military, but are not high $ clients - as defined in this business anyhow! My son will start college in two years and I do have aspirations to make 6 figures within 2 -4 years.


I recently received an online MBA in Accounting from Baker College (offered online through the Army learning system) and really do not think I will have a problem with the testing at SB. My first meeting with the Branch Manager at SB seemed to go really well and she mentioned the hiring process (if successful) would result in an offer by September with a hire date of 1 October. I am pretty confident that EJ will extend an offer and would imagine that it will be within two weeks.


Any suggestions about breaking into the business and firm recommendations would be greatly appreciated.






Aug 5, 2006 8:35 pm

With all due respect- your MBA (in this biz) is basically worthless.


Your job will be to gather massive amounts of assets that produce fees/commissions at some point.


I would definitley choose SB, given thr option.

Aug 5, 2006 8:42 pm

Thanks, Judge. I mentioned the MBA just as a reference that I believe that I will do ok on the SB tests. One problem is that I belive that the process at EJ will be completed within a week or two and I will have to make a decision (bird in hand).


Aug 5, 2006 10:04 pm

FA Prospect,


I am by no means the expert on this subject.  I am merely another Military guy approaching retirement and considering the same things you are. I will tell you I have studied this long and hard and have made a few conclusions.


1.  There is a lot of info on this board regarding both of these companies.  Do some simple searches regarding key words, and search that last couple of years of threads, not just the last month.


2.  Don't be disheartend by all of the bad press on E.J.  There are a lot of sour grapes, misery loves company type comments.  Bottom line it looks like E.J. misleads their reps into believing things that are not true about the firm.  The more you read about E.J on here the more you will be able to walk into it with eyes wide open.


3.  All of the other firms other than E.J. have a different model.  These models are what I am looking hard at regarding my decisions. I really like the model that E.J. uses.  The downside as I see it, is that the IR's  limited in what they can offer.  The price they pay for minimal managment oversight seems to be limited offerings and limited creativity.  It seems the IR's are all trained to offer the same cookbook recipe to all clients. 


I posted a couple of questions here a few weeks back and got some good advice.  My questions are similar to your situation.  You may want to go back and look at my posts and the replies.  Some of the best gouge I got was via PM's.  Good Luck.


Bh.

Aug 5, 2006 10:20 pm

I would take SB over EJ if I got offers from both

Aug 6, 2006 6:56 am

I think that it's awfully hard at both of those firms to be making 6 figures in 2-4 years.  The easiest route to making good money soon is to go the insurance route. 


The payouts on your securities business will be much higher and insurance can generate large commissions.  You can sell insurance at a wirehouse, but it tends to get ignored.  The reason is that once the insurance sale goes through the grid and the B/D keeps the whole override, the advisor in the wirehouse setting is only going be getting paid about 25% of what someone in an insurance setting makes.


Also, if you want to make a significant positive difference in the lives of your clients, it's very difficult without selling insurance or advising clients on this purchase.  Otherwise, your primary source of income will be as an asset gatherer.  Nothing is wrong with this, but your client won't necessarily be in any better financial shape simply because they moved their money from Joe at ML to you at SB.

Aug 6, 2006 9:35 am

Regarding insurance.


Another factor that suggests that a career in insurance sales is potentially more lucrative is the fact that investments are very portable--all a client has to do is make an impulse decision to move their portfolio from advisor A to advisor B.


With insurance there is a whole hell of a lot more involved--things like proving insurability again to proving an insurable interest and a host of other factors.


Additionally most states have laws against an agent doing nothing more than replacing a perfectly good policy at MetLife with an essentially identical one at Mass Mutual.


When you add the investment piece at a place like The Guardian you end up with an exceptionally well rounded abilty to handle what most prospects are going to want and need.


It is true that you won't be able to handle an options or commodities trader but you can sure do mutual funds, VAs, cash management, etc.


Over my many years I have had opportunities to work with those who sell the exceptionally sophisticated insurance products and must admit that those guys and gals were every bit as impressive and professional as our investment bankers and big league institutional folks.


It's a really dumb thing to conclude that a career placing sophisticated insurance coverage is some sort of second-class compromise.

Aug 6, 2006 5:06 pm

Thanks to all for the responses. Please excuse me if I ramble here - but I feel like throwing out a few ideas for possible discussion.


I really like the fact that Ed Jones ranks high in surveys from both their brokers and their clients perspectives. I also really like the idea of having my own office, but do not like the downside of not having an office initially and not having access to as many products as other firms. It would be ideal to be able to take over an existing branch, but that probably is not a viable option. It also seems that there are ups and downs about Ed Jones and targeting smaller clients. It would seem easier and statistically more probable to be able to land a higher number of smaller accounts than fewer large ones. In the city that I live in it just seems like the large firms (SB, ML, AG ED) would be fiercely competitive for the HNV clients. The face to face interview with an established EDJ rep here seemed to go pretty well - the IR told me that he was just starting his 4th year and made well over $100K in 2005 - not bad at all in my opinion.


Do any of you know much about the Goodknight Program and is it very likely to fall into one as a newbie?   


Also, does anyone out there work for The Guardian? I was looking on their website and filled out their "Test Your Fit" section and fit the profile and will now see what type of contact that I have with them. Guardian's nearest field service office is 57 miles from the city that I live in (SE). The city that I live in has a population of just over 120,000 on the 2000 census.


BTW, I am also contemplating starting out with a local CPA firm. I realize that this would be much more stable, offer steady income, and also be a good path to becoming a future FA - but I have concerns about the timeline in being 44 and just starting a second career after retiring from active military service. I would think that beginning, as a FA after gaining experience in the CPA would kind of be pushing the envelope as far as age goes.


I am also thinking that a successful career as a FA would enable me to pass the book on to one of my children and provide a great basis to jump start a their career in the business. I have two sons that are interested in business and finance...one that completed his studies in Economics and is a Buyer for county government and another who is a Junior in high school and also very interested in Finance. I have heard of other EDJ reps doing exactly this...any stories from other firms as well?

Aug 6, 2006 5:27 pm

You can give your book to your son regardless of where you're working--advantage Smith Barney.


Regarding The Guardian--I think a career there would be as enjoyable than with a traditional brokerage firm.  If I were to have to replay my life in another industry I would not have been disappointed if I had spent it with The Guardian or Mass Mutual.


I think the chances of a typical guy getting an opportunity to work with superior customers is greater when you sell sophisticated insurance products than when youi try to land a sophisticated investment portfolio.

Aug 6, 2006 6:03 pm

Thanks for the comments NASD. If you do not mind me asking, what firm do you or have you worked for and have you enjoyed your career?


I looked at the Mass Mutual site and they do not have an office in my city.  Do reps for Guardian and Mass Mutual work independantly in smaller cities or do they only work in the larger cities?

Aug 6, 2006 6:12 pm
FA Prospect:

Thanks for the comments NASD. If you do not mind me asking, what firm do you or have you worked for and have you enjoyed your career?


I looked at the Mass Mutual site and they do not have an office in my city.  Do reps for Guardian and Mass Mutual work independantly in smaller cities or do they only work in the larger cities?



I do mind--it's a national wirehouse, but that's enough.  Yes, I have enjoyed my career because I am one of those who loves challenges and quickly becomes bored with routine.


I believe you'll find that at most of the major insurance companies you'll work for a general agent who may be somewhere else--and from time to time be expected to attend meetings at their office.  Not weekly, but perhaps monthly.


Get on their websites and you can find a tremendous amount of information about the various general agencies.


If you're in the SE you'll also find a lot of Jefferson Pilot agencies--along with Protective out of Birmingham which has a pretty respectable securities marketing effort going.

Aug 16, 2006 8:04 pm

Hi everyone,<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


 


It is looking quite promising to get an offer from both SB and EDJ. Thanks to everyone for their advice and sharing experiences with a FA wannabe. 


 


I have asked similar questions in other topics, but am really struggling with a decision as to which firm that I should go with. Both have advantages and disadvantages and I know there is a high probability of not making it in this field. While being committed and determined to make it in this field, I am also realistic enough to at least consider the possibility of failure.


 


All things being equal...would it be better in pursuing a career after not making it with SB or EDJ? Anyone have ideas on the realistic chance of making it with SB or EDJ?


 


Quite a difficult choice and I really do like the opportunity both offer. I am not really sure about the door knocking for two years required by the EDJ model, but I guess I will find out more after my door knocking exercise that I plan to do on Saturday.

Aug 16, 2006 8:14 pm

You are asking all the wrong questions FA.  You really should take some advice from people who are doing what you would like to be doing..........it's call wisdom, savor it like water in a desert.

Aug 16, 2006 8:36 pm
dude:

You are asking all the wrong questions FA.  You really should take some advice from people who are doing what you would like to be doing..........it's call wisdom, savor it like water in a desert.


Care to elaborate, Dude? <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


I have narrowed my career search to two firms that seem to be offering a great opportunity in my area. I honestly like both firms and count myself lucky to even be considered for employment by both firms. I will work my tail off in being successful and repaying the monetary and the debt of gratitude that I owe my future employer. I surely hope this will be my last career move after already completing a successful career in the U.S. Army. Any advice or wisdom that you care to offer in making this most difficult decision would be greatly appreciated. If there are questions that are more pertinent to my decision or more "correct" that I should be asking, I would be grateful if you would share.


Thanks,


FA Prospect  


Aug 16, 2006 9:09 pm

yea, ask them what your next career move should be after wasting 4 years in the biz, and still not getting anywhere. When you're so sick of prospecting that you'd rather puke than dial or knock on another door. When you get so sick of the stupid fickle retail public that we have to deal with everyday. When you get so sick of failed brokers, now managers coaching you to failure because they don't know their a$$ from a hole in the ground. Ask them then what? Good luck , you are going to need it as well as the last pennies from your military pension. Go enjoy retirement instead.

Aug 16, 2006 9:10 pm

FAP: Have you ever played craps?  Do you know there is a certain number you never say at the table?


While I am no means an expert on this business, your focus should be on how you're going to be successful - not what firm is the best one from which to fail.


Believe me, in my current (soon to be past) work I contingency plan all the time.  But I get the feeling one should consider a different career path if "crapping out" plans outprioritize planning your means to success.

Aug 16, 2006 9:22 pm

Scroll down the forums and look at the "Edward Jones Summation" post

from a few days back. Can't say I know much about SB though.

Aug 16, 2006 9:42 pm

I would go with EJ because if you're gonna succeed, you're gonna

succeed--as mentioned above, it doesn't matter the firm really. EJ gives

you more flexibility to open small accounts, which when you are brand

new is good. One in 10 or so will develop into something more, and I

think it's nice to not worry about explaining minimums, low balance fees,

etc. When and if you make yourself a viable advisor, you can always move

"up" to anywhere--and be compensated nicel for it. Plus from what I can

tell EJ has a much more thorough sales training program.



If you don't want to doorknock, at least realize that you MUST initiate lots

and lots of contacts with strangers and try to develop relationships with

them....one or way or another. The high failure rate is because people fail

to accept or act on this basic truth--even at EJ when presented with a

simple (but not easy) method to make those contact.

Aug 16, 2006 10:38 pm

Thanks to all for the replies. I see your point about planning to fail (self fulfulling propecy?) - but when facing situations I like to evaluate both the best and worst case scenarios. I do have confidence in my ability to suceed in this business and really would not have given failure much thought if I had not read in detail about the failure rates on this message board.


I do agree that success does seem more probable with EDJ, but I am concerend about the depth of products and not having an office for at least one year. I will find out more about door knocking, now that I have been cleared to conduct the survey exercise.

Aug 17, 2006 9:59 am
FA Prospect:

Thanks to all for the replies. I see your point about planning to fail (self fulfulling propecy?) - but when facing situations I like to evaluate both the best and worst case scenarios. I do have confidence in my ability to suceed in this business and really would not have given failure much thought if I had not read in detail about the failure rates on this message board.


I do agree that success does seem more probable with EDJ, but I am concerend about the depth of products and not having an office for at least one year. I will find out more about door knocking, now that I have been cleared to conduct the survey exercise.



Starting out you do not need a great depths of products, just a few good ones to focus on and learn well and blend as needed to meet the clients' needs.  You need to stay focussed on prospecting, opening accounts, and gathering assets, not product research.

As a point of irony, many successful producers find that they reach a plateau at some point in their careers 5-10 years out, and what they end up needing to do to take their production to the next level is SIMPLIFY their business, REDUCE the number of product lines they handle and focus on running their accounts more efficiently.

Food for thought.