Getting hired at ML

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Aug 16, 2006 3:45 pm

ok, a couple quick questions.


1...what is the timeframe to get hired?  is this a month or 2 month long process?  I recently lost my sallaried position in the mortgage business do to company closing down.  Long term goal...transition to full FA.  Short term goal....PAY THE BILLS. 


2...will credit issues in my past prevent me from getting a job at ML?  I had a BK.  long story short...reckless military career and mariage caused some credit problems, and then a house fire for which i was under insured caused more, and I filed BK.  discharged earlier this year.  Not proud of it...but need to be upfront about what kind of impact that will have on my employment opportunities.


Anything else that I should be aware of?  I think I bring quite a bit to the table.  A database of past clients that have already shared with me personal financial information in the past...and have some level of trust with me.  Not as many as I once had because I was in a management role last 2 1/2 years and so was not activly producing.  Some background in the financial world through mortgage business, and a brief stint at Ameritrade (not as a broker or rep though, as a new accounts person...mostly customer service....but got a background in terminology, and some thigns like that)  I have owned my own mortgage company, so used to commissions based job, and the you dont bring in business, you dont make any money.  etc etc. 


I know I can make it in this business...just wonder if I will be given the chance because of credit...and how long it will take.  Thank you.

Aug 16, 2006 3:46 pm

Paging Opie, Mr. Opie please pick up the red phone for a message.

Aug 16, 2006 3:48 pm

I didn't read the piece.  Number 2 is almost certainly a killer--Merrill can ill afford to have an advisor who might be dragged into arbitration and then have to defend a guy who couldn't handle his own money being hired to handle other people's money.


It's a shame, but decisions we make in life have consequences.

Aug 16, 2006 4:06 pm
NASD Newbie:

I didn't read the piece.  Number 2 is almost certainly a killer--Merrill can ill afford to have an advisor who might be dragged into arbitration and then have to defend a guy who couldn't handle his own money being hired to handle other people's money.

It's a shame, but decisions we make in life have consequences.


Diplomatically put...I'm proud of you, nasty.


I also happen to agree.  You may find someone willing to take you on with a fresh BK, but it's very unlikely at the better firms fo reasons mentioned above.  It's probably unlikely at any firm short of a chop shop and from what I understand, those are an endangered species these days.


Best advice is to go do something else...you'll get frustrated hearing "no" from prospective B/Ds.

Aug 16, 2006 4:10 pm

The reality is that accepting a position with a firm that would touch a fresh BK is going to ruin the long term prospects far more.


As Indyone says you're going to hear no again and again--do something else, stay where you are.  Wait ten years or so and then you might get some consideration.

Aug 16, 2006 4:22 pm
mcompton1973:

I think I bring quite a bit to the table. 


No arguing with you there.  I have no wisdom to offer.  Do you guys think an insurance company would be any more willing to take him on?

Aug 16, 2006 4:40 pm


Well, that is not what I wanted to hear....but reality is reality, and l fully understand that actions have consequenses.


  I have an interview in the morning with them.  First interview.  in light of what you are telling me, should I save both of us time and just tell him early on that I had the BK?  should I wait till he asks about anything of that sort?  Just wondering how I should handle it.


I dont want to go to a "job" I want a career as an FA. 

Aug 16, 2006 5:07 pm
mcompton1973:


Well, that is not what I wanted to hear....but reality is reality, and l fully understand that actions have consequenses.


  I have an interview in the morning with them.  First interview.  in light of what you are telling me, should I save both of us time and just tell him early on that I had the BK?  should I wait till he asks about anything of that sort?  Just wondering how I should handle it.


I dont want to go to a "job" I want a career as an FA. 



It would be in your best interests to be up front about it, IMHO.  Maybe not in the first 5 minutes of the interview, but certainly within the bounds of that first meeting, and not as a "by the way" while you're on the way out the door.

Aug 16, 2006 5:18 pm

There is not way in hell Merrill is going to hire him--just harsh truth.  I think he should start with, "Thanks for seeing me, I really appreciate the indication of interest.  I fear that I may be about to waste your time so I want to get something out right away.  Within the last twenty-four hours I was told that Merrill will not hire somebody who has a relatively recent bankruptcy.  If that's so I hope you'll still chat with me about how I might be able to overcome that hurdle within a few years--if not I hope you'll hire me today because I'm willing to embrace my challenges and conquor them."


Then shut the phuck up and listen.

Aug 16, 2006 5:59 pm
NASD Newbie:

There is not way in hell Merrill is going to hire him--just harsh truth.  I think he should start with, "Thanks for seeing me, I really appreciate the indication of interest.  I fear that I may be about to waste your time so I want to get something out right away.  Within the last twenty-four hours I was told that Merrill will not hire somebody who has a relatively recent bankruptcy.  If that's so I hope you'll still chat with me about how I might be able to overcome that hurdle within a few years--if not I hope you'll hire me today because I'm willing to embrace my challenges and conquor them."


Then shut the phuck up and listen.



conquer. 


Oh and quit wasting my time NASD, I can't afford to be your editor.

Aug 16, 2006 6:40 pm
mcompton1973:

2...will credit issues in my past prevent me from getting a job at ML?  I had a BK.  long story short...reckless military career and mariage caused some credit problems, and then a house fire for which i was under insured caused more, and I filed BK.  discharged earlier this year.  Not proud of it...but need to be upfront about what kind of impact that will have on my employment opportunities.



Suggest you focus your energies in a sales position outside of the industry, then come back in a few years and test the waters.


Aug 16, 2006 10:40 pm

I will go into my interview and get through the initial warm fuzzy's and such, and then I will take NASD's advice let him know about my past situation and see what he says.  I have other sales positions (job offers) where I can go and make money...but it is not where I really want to be long term.  It would be a sales job, not my dream career...But again, if that is what it takes, I will do that until I have gotten 5 years past this issue, and try again. 


This is what I want to do with my life...this is my long term career path...but since it IS a long term thing for me, then if I have to wait first I will.  Worst case, I will use that time to take CFP course work or something so I start building my knowledge base.


I will let everyone know of the reaction I get tomorrow when I let him know.  I apreciate everything.

Aug 16, 2006 11:21 pm

mcompton,  if this is what you really want to do and you end up taking a sales position outside of the industry for a few years, then keep focused on your ultimate goal.  By that, I mean lay the seeds for a career as a financial advisor.  Go out now and network.  You will be able to do this at a more leisurely pace then if you jumped right in as a FA.  Try to take on leadership roles within those groups to build your stature in those peoples' eyes.  And learn what you can about finance.  We all know that this is sales, but remember the series 7 is the MINIMUM requirement to doing business.  Make an effort to stand out.  Best of luck to you. 

Aug 17, 2006 9:25 am


I’m new so I can’t offer any advice but I do have a question for those with more experience.  Could another option be to start out as a CA?  Some of the CAs in my office seem to be fairly sophisticated.  They put you though all of the series 7 and 66 classes.  I also know that a few successful FAs started out as CAs.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


 


Another option might be to get into ML through the FAC if you live near <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Jacksonville, FL or Princeton, NJ.  One of the POAers who started with me came from the FAC and with his experience and knowledge gained at the FAC he is about to pass his 6-month hurdle after only 2-months.


 


--WM


Aug 17, 2006 9:47 am

You don't have to live near JAX or Princeton to get the experience offered in the ML centers there--there are similar operations all over the country.


Fidelity has a major one in Covington, KY--which is Cincinnatti--Schwab has a big one out in Scotsdale or somewhere like that.  There are others all over the place.


The reality is that if you want to be a Financial Advisor when you're 40 you should get experience selling until you're in your early to mid thirties.  That experience should be ANYWHERE except in the securities industry--including as a CA, which for those unfamiliar with the term is Merrill speak for Sales Assistant.  I think it means "Client Associate" or something like that.


The brutal truth is that Sales Assistants are essentially secretaries--they answer the phones for, and take care of the needs of, a broker or group of brokers.  It's based on total production--if you're a small hitter you'll have to share an assistant with one or more other small hitters.  On the other side of the coin, if you're a mega hitter you'll not only have the corner office you'll also have your own sales assistant(s).


It is not from the ranks of the secretarial pool that producers are plucked.  Yes, I know it happens but it is rarer than hen's teeth.


And an especially bad idea is for a male who is not the son of the producer to hire on as a secretary--those who make the decisions are never going to consider you to have enough testosterone to make it in the business if they see you sitting with the girls.


Tough to hear, but listen anyway.

Aug 17, 2006 4:42 pm

WealthManager how's it going over at the wirehouse?
Are you prospecting yet?
In your initial decision to become a FA why did you only look at wirehouses and not Edwards Jones or any other regionals?

Aug 18, 2006 10:09 am

ok, went into first interview with ML.  I think the basic thing that he wanted to do was scare all the people that have no real chance in this business out.  Interview was basically...


"I want to give you a little background on the hiring training process...4 months to get licensed, 4 months going on appointments with YOUR prospects and a mentor, 4 months going on your own, and then you have 2 years to get 15 million in AUM.  you have to think about how you are going to get 15m AUM.  It is hard to get 15M AUM, so think about it, and let me know."


something like that anyway.  I told him that I knew that 15m was the target from this board, and also financial-planning.com.  That I know this business is heave prospecting.  Told him I think a person who is great at sales and prospecting, and has only average knowledge on the planning side will do better than someone who has average at best sales skills, but a ton of product knowledge.  I then mentioned that I want this position, but I have a situation that could be an issue, and wanted to address it before we spent 4 weeks of each others time in the interview/testing/hiring process.  Explained about the BK, and asked his thoughts. 


Basically he said that it is not a deal breaker neccessarily, it has been done...but it would be an issue.  He was going to talk to his boss and let me know how we shoudl proceed. 


All of that being said, I believe that he was trying to be nice, and allow me to leave so that he could call me and not have to tell me face to face no way...brutal...but that is probably what he was doing.


My back up plan is to go to work for a nurse recruiting firm.  I can make a decent living there...and I will be spending 90% of my time cold calling nurses asking them if they want a new job etc.  I think that it is a good step because it is going to help me build my cold calling skills etc.


I will be lurking around here, and probably asking more questions...I think that I am going to be working on my CFP courses just so I continue my education in the right direction.



Aug 18, 2006 10:15 am

You read the manager right--he didn't want to tell you.  This way he can have his secretary call you and tell you that the complex manager said no, and there is nothing that can be done.


She'll add, "Good Luck" and hang up.


In a few years you may be able to find somebody who will hire you--but I doubt it will be a top tier firm.  There is nothing wrong with second tier firms, but they're out of reach right now too.

Aug 18, 2006 2:37 pm

yeah....I have been in sales long enough to have learned how to read a guy.  I was OK with it.  I understand.  Like I said, I dont want to pretend that I am better than anyone else or anything...and I know that this field carries with it some additional resposibilities over most other proffessions.


Aug 18, 2006 2:42 pm

Your ambition is admirable--don't screw it up by doing something dumb with the next several years.


And when you get ready to try again, don't settle for a crappy firm just because you see it as an entry into the biz--they're not.


If you have not seen the movie "The Boiler Room" go get it at Blockbuster so you can know what you want to avoid.  It is remarkably accurate.