Going from Public Acntg to Private Wealth Mngmt

or Register to post new content in the forum

27 RepliesJump to last post

 

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Aug 30, 2008 7:14 pm

Dear experienced Professionals, <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


I just recently graduated from fairly good undergraduate school (top 50) with a major in Economics/ Accounting. Among other accomplishments, I graduated with an exceptional GPA. I currently work in public accounting as an auditor for a Big 4 firm.


 


Unfortunately for me, I am not happy at my job. I get along very well with the people, but I simply have no interest in the actual job.  The pay is also terrible. In case you were not aware, the salary for a Big 4 auditor is approx. 50K with no overtime.


 


To get to the point of my question, I have been doing substantial research on more finance related jobs and I am fairly certain that Private Wealth Management is where I want to be.


 


Can any experienced professional provide me with more information about this field? I am mainly concerned with job security, length of work day, and an idea of what compensation is like for an entry level individual like me. (I do understand that these will differ substantially by firm. I prefer to work with larger firms that deal with high network individuals or estates (30M+).


 


Any information would be greatly appreciated!




Aug 30, 2008 7:48 pm

People tend to have either an employee mentality or an employer mentality.  You have the employee mentality.  Nothing is wrong with this, but it does mean that this is the wrong career for you.

Aug 30, 2008 8:11 pm

+1

Aug 30, 2008 8:20 pm

Well as a former Big 4 auditor myself  (PwC)  I can't say I blame you.  They take some serious advantage of you as a newbie don't they.   Hehe.  To give them some credit it does take you to some great places if you stick with it. 

 
Several points you should prob understand. 
 
Unless you already have some SERIOUS conections with that type of money you are merely fantasizing that you can just start out at some big private wealth management firm working with 30 million dollar accts.   You need to stop dreaming that this is a possibility for anything short of 10-15 years.  
 
The typical way to start at this job is at a wirehouse cold calling for several years till you build up a practice.  Typical client has 300k in assets. 
 
Now, this is how I started and have built a decent book.  I'm no top producer and have only been in production for 3.5 years.
 
Most teams and small RIAs/Wealth Management firms are mostly are looking for experienced advisors.  It will take a lot of work, luck and time to land a decent job with them from where you are at.  Even if they are looking for a CPA for a tax specialist they'll want someone with lots of experience. 
 
A slightly more realistic option migh be to find a smaller acct firm that doesn't currently offer Investment services.  If they want a full time investment guy you are again SOL as you have nothing to offer.  However if the firm is small enough (optimal size might be 15-45 CPA's) they might not want to pay an experienced full time FA to try a new venture.  Your angle would be that you would work initially doing audits or taxes but spend a portion of your time starting an investment side and eventually growing to full time over a year or two assuming it was succesful.  A firm of similar size in my area went from 0 to 90 mill in assets in five years.  (By a normal FA standards this is incredible.)  The advantage of course is the existing base of clients from which to draw.  At some point you start to add staff and shuffle the smaller accts to the newbie and could be working primarily with larger accts.   (Not 30 mill). 
Aug 30, 2008 8:22 pm

This is how I started refers to the cold calling at a wirehouse.


The other idea is just what I'd try to do if I was starting over.

Aug 30, 2008 11:34 pm
"I am mainly concerned with job security, length of work day, and an idea of what compensation is like for an entry level individual like me."
 
This is what anonymous was talking about when he mentioned the "employee" mentality and it is deadly to your odds of success.  Instead of worrying so much about "what's in it for me", you should be more concerned about what you need to do to be successful in this field.  If you are successful, the stuff you're worrying about will take care of itself.  It's a far different recipe than being a successful auditor or accountant.
 
I made my transition through a bank trust department, which is another option that you might consider.  I learned investment management under a senior trust officer before I tried out my skills on the general public.  Don't be at all surprised if you make even less initially in this field.  It's high-risk high reward and at this point in the game, all you know is that you're more interested in investments than auditing.  No surprise there.
 
Unfortunately, your GPA means very little and interest does not necessarily translate to talent.  Many talented people have failed in this business so you need to increase your odds by trying something like the DK method...affiliating with a smaller CPA firm and doing investment work part-time while you leverage the skills you already possess to make a living while you get experience and critical mass in your preferred field.  Another way is the I1 method: start in investment management as a junior trust officer or similar position in a bank where you have a salaried position while you learn investments.  Later, when you are more seasoned, you can try to commissioned or fee-based arena where you will also have to have sales skills.  There's no easy road here, as is typical of many high income high interest vocations.  You have desire and that's a start.  Now it's time to decide how bad you want this and act accordingly.
 
This is not a field for the salaried.
Aug 30, 2008 11:52 pm

Thanks Dark Knight for your response.


On a side note, I am very impressed with anonymous’ ability to tell me what type of personality I have after reading my question about PWM. I really hope the rest of his 1400+ posts arent as useless as that one.


Anyways, my idea is to get into PWM through a large bank like Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley.  


http://www.morganstanley.com/about/careers/recruiting/careers/programs/articles/371.html Here is an example of what I was referring to.  After learning from professionals there, it would be wise to try and go off on my own.


Dark Knight – How long did you work at PwC for? Also, what finally made you decide to leave the accounting world?


Aug 30, 2008 11:59 pm
Young_CPA:

On a side note, I am very impressed with anonymous’ ability to tell me what type of personality I have after reading my question about PWM. I really hope the rest of his 1400+ posts arent as useless as that one.



You shouldn't be such a cock, you dick.
 
Anon provides great advice, something you should appreciate being a recent college grad destined to fail due to your hubris.
 
Your post DID imply an EE mentality. 
 
In other words, A students work for C students, and B students work for the government.  Get that W-2 ready...
Aug 31, 2008 12:02 am
Young_CPA:

Thanks Dark Knight for your response.


On a side note, I am very impressed with anonymous’ ability to tell me what type of personality I have after reading my question about PWM. I really hope the rest of his 1400+ posts arent as useless as that one.


Anyways, my idea is to get into PWM through a large bank like Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley.  


[...]
After learning from professionals there, it would be wise to try and go off on my own.

You should THANK ANONYMOUS for his response.  It was a PERFECT "prescription" to you with a warning for you.
 
I wish you well in getting the "dream job" you want... but you're a piker and you have no chutzpah for this kind of work.
 
How can I tell?  With your first post.
 
Those who have been in SALES can tell things about people very quickly.  Anonymous is a VERY good and quick judge of character.  You can't learn that while getting your CPA.
 
Experience is the master teacher.
 
It would NOT be wise to dismiss Anonymous's advice.  I've found it very helpful and I find him to be a very knowledgeable resource on this forum.  In fact, one of the very few.
 
The reason I typed this out in the first place was to show what an idiot you're being and to thank Anonymous for wasting his 2 minutes to type out that post on you.  It is appreciated, even if the "overly educated & inexperienced" doesn't see the wisdom that you wrote.
 
With the way you're going, there will be NOTHING worth "going off on your own" to.  You won't be able to KEEP the job you're looking for.  (Yes, I think you'll be able to get it, but keep it?  That's a whole other story.)
Aug 31, 2008 12:03 am

"I am mainly concerned with job security, length of work day, and an idea of what compensation is like for an entry level individual like me. (I do understand that these will differ substantially by firm. I prefer to work with larger firms that deal with high network individuals or estates (30M+)."




This line says it all. You may not believe him, but anonymous is right.


There are no hours with this job.
There is no Job security
You decide the size of your accounts, not the firm.
Aug 31, 2008 12:17 am
Young_CPA:

Dear experienced Professionals, (see, you're asking us for advice because we ARE experienced)<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


I just recently graduated from fairly good undergraduate school (top 50) with a major in Economics/ Accounting.  So what?


 
Among other accomplishments, I graduated with an exceptional GPA. I currently work in public accounting as an auditor for a Big 4 firm. So what? 

 


Unfortunately for me, I am not happy at my job. So what?


I get along very well with the people (in what capacity?  Auditor?  Bartender?  Consultant?),
but I simply have no interest in the actual job.  (but it's what you signed up for.  Hint:  That won't open any doors for you to get an interview.  Better show off the good points of the job you HAVE and then talk about what you WANT in a sales opportunity.)
 
The pay is also terrible. (So what, you whiner.  I don't care.  That's your fault and I won't fix it for you.)
 
In case you were not aware, the salary for a Big 4 auditor is approx. 50K with no overtime. (Again, so what?  Also, $50k in Wyoming is NOT the same as $50k in NYC)

 


To get to the point of my question, I have been doing substantial research on more finance related jobs (I'm sure you're very good at "research" being an auditor and all.)


and I am fairly certain that Private Wealth Management is where I want to be.  (Based on what?  What do you believe the job entails?  What skills do you have that match you to that position?) 

 


Can any experienced professional provide me with more information about this field? ("Private Wealth Management" can sound like a fancy title for a bookkeeper - which you would excel at being an auditor and all.)


 
I am mainly concerned with job security (We've got it and we DON'T got it.  YOU provide your OWN security),
length of work day (12 hour days with very little pay for the first 1-3 years),
and an idea of what compensation is like for an entry level individual like me. (You get paid for results, so the better your results are in SALES, the better your income is.  Sky is the limit, but most fall through the floor.)
(I do understand that these will differ substantially by firm.
I prefer to work with larger firms that deal with high network individuals or estates (30M+).  (And how do you expect these people to want to work with YOU?)

 


Any information would be greatly appreciated!




(See above.)

 
You need a BUSINESS plan and you need to include how you're going to spend 90%+ of your time MARKETING during your first 1-3 years.
 
Marketing and Auditing have very little in common (except compliance I suppose).
 
The REAL security in this business is building YOUR SKILLS and APPLYING what you learn on a consistent basis to build a practice.
 
No skills = no security = no continuance of your employment offer
Aug 31, 2008 12:22 am




I bet you never saw this on the Morgan Stanley page you referenced:
 

Once analyst training is complete, they are placed on sales teams. As an integral part of a team, analysts' broad and consistently challenging responsibilities typically include:



Working with the team to formulate strategies to meet clients' goals and objectives and identifying appropriate asset classes and specific investments in investors' portfolios
Executing trades and creating asset allocation models
Researching new investment opportunities for clients
Preparing client presentations, pitchbooks and follow-up materials
Identifying and researching prospects; coordinating the development process
Attending client meetings and presenting portions of pitchbooks he or she has worked on

Analysts also work on various business development projects and case studies to be presented to Senior PWM Management.


Where do you plan to get the clients to work on with your team?
 
Can you present your ideas to your prospective client?
 
NO ONE ELSE WILL GET YOU YOUR CLIENTS FOR YOU TO WORK ON THEIR PLAN WITH.
Aug 31, 2008 12:22 am
Young_CPA:

I am mainly concerned with job security, length of work day, and an idea of what compensation is like for an entry level individual like me. (I do understand that these will differ substantially by firm. I prefer to work with larger firms that deal with high network individuals or estates (30M+).


 






Please tell me this is just a troll.....



Aug 31, 2008 12:44 am

Hahahahahhahahahah… what a group of disgruntled tools. I thought I’d float around a question because I was bored and I get a personality analysis. Don’t be jealous of me because I’m naturally smarter than you.


In case you rejects were wondering, I graduated with a 4.00 CUM GPA and have currently deferred my Stanford Business School admission. So really, I don’t give a flying f u c k what a douche bag like anonymous or any of you f u cke rs have to say. I will accomplish more than any of u fagg ots did by the time I’m 28. This is regardless of whichever route I take.


O and FYI, I WONT fail at any job, simply because I’m smarter than all of you. This has already been demonstrated after my exceptional annual review.


Lastly, I can and will always have my Dad’s business to eventually end up running.  So ya.. life if good for people like me.  


To all of those douche bags/ stupid people on this forum, FU CK Y OU!

Aug 31, 2008 1:19 am
Young_CPA:

Hahahahahhahahahah… what a group of disgruntled tools. I thought I’d float around a question because I was bored and I get a personality analysis. Don’t be jealous of me because I’m naturally smarter than you.


In case you rejects were wondering, I graduated with a 4.00 CUM GPA and have currently deferred my Stanford Business School admission. So really, I don’t give a flying f u c k what a douche bag like anonymous or any of you f u cke rs have to say. I will accomplish more than any of u fagg ots did by the time I’m 28. This is regardless of whichever route I take.


O and FYI, I WONT fail at any job, simply because I’m smarter than all of you. This has already been demonstrated after my exceptional annual review.


Lastly, I can and will always have my Dad’s business to eventually end up running.  So ya.. life if good for people like me.  


To all of those douche bags/ stupid people on this forum, FU CK Y OU!


Listen, you filthy-mouthed punk, you asked for advice and we spent the time to give it to you.  You and your 4.0 GPA were too stupid to recognize the truth when it was handed to you.  Do yourself a favor and print this thread out, seal it in an envelope, read it in 20 years, and THEN tell us we were wrong.  You have no clue what you don't know.  In whatever career you end up collecting a paycheck in, you might use 5% of all your book learning, TOPS, so your grades mean very little.  With your attitude, dad would be stupid to let you run his business in the ground, so you'd best find a job you love and plan on making a career out of it.
 
I'm nothing special by standards in this business, but I am among the less than 10% that have survived, I own my own firm and I have accumulated a tidy sum myself, so I know from whence I speak.  Instead of whining, moaning and disrespecting those who know a hell of a lot more about this business than you, you should re-read the information you've been given, and use the words you've received here as motivation to prove us wrong.  Your attitude sucks.  You and your 4.0 GPA are not entitled to a good job and the sooner you figure that out, get off your whiny butt and do something about your situation, the happier you'll be.
 
...and don't come back here asking for help until you can handle the truth.
Aug 31, 2008 1:24 am

CPA - I looked at your link and did a little more research.  It appears the PWM analyst position is a mix between what most of us here know as a sales assistant and a para-planner.  You would be Series 7 & 66 licensed, but would not be responsible for bringing in clients.  You would be doing some portfolio/investment work, as well as a lot of clerical/administrative work, plus eventually doing some work directly with existing clients.

 
It appears MS is particularly tight-lipped about their compensation.  I would guess  there would be a salary with a bonus component.  I would guess (and it is only a guess) the beginning base salary would be not much different from what you are currently making.
 
I would guess job security would be good once you passed your exams and you were trained, assuming you can handle the job.  As to length of the work day, it likely will depend on the specific advisor and the team you are on and what's going on.  Some days would be longer than others and you would certainly be expected to get everything done before you left at the end of the day.  I would guess in the 40-50 hour per week range, but again, that's just a guess.
 
You mention wanting to get experience and then go off on your own.  You need to understand the Relationship Manager/Advisor, who brings IN the client, is the one who makes the big dollars - that's the difficult part.  As an analyst, your job and training will not develop or teach you these skills.  
 
Yes, the crowd here is a little tough on people with grand expectations.   The "analyst" term MS uses isn't a generally used term for that position (more typical would be registered assistant, sales assistant or service assistant).  Now that we know it is a support position, you may get a little more feedback, but this forum is oriented towards Advisors/Relationship Managers, not their support staff.  Good luck in finding out what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Aug 31, 2008 2:12 am

Ice - I agree, but the board really dumped on this kid as well.  He didn't know what he was asking about, and he's not seeking to be an advisor at MS PWM.  He just wants to be someone's bitch.  Nothing wrong with that - most of us need those people (at least I do). 

 
In my opinion, the responses he received were mistaken (he is asking about an employee position).  And like a lot of kids who have been told GPA and academic credentials are ALL IMPORTANT, he reacts as you would expect a kid to react (no surprise there).  I just thought he desired an answer, as I don't know where else he should turn for info on that position.
Aug 31, 2008 4:09 am

I went back and read through this forum and I just wanted to apologize for my post earlier. I was very taken back and offended by the level of negativity that I received when I initially posted. Mainly snaggletooth’s response.  <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


In either case, it’s clear that this forum is not what I had thought it was. So, again, my apologies to any of those people who provided a respectful response to my initial question.


 

Aug 31, 2008 7:05 am

This side of the business is not for you, that's for sure. I would certainly pursue the Stanford option, but not as a doorway into the retail side of the business. I had a coworker who just got sacked for lack of production with a Columbia MBA and JD. Those are great credentials, but not relevant for this role. Only bringing in assets will matter. If you truly wish to be in a support position as described, you will ALWAYS be below those who bring the accounts. These positions, sometimes titled associate, analyst, or some version including Sr or registered beforehand are glorified secretarial work. If you must enter the securities industry, do it on the I-Banking side after completing your studies. The retail advisory business at whatever level is focused on asset gathering alone. You will never rise above roughly your current level unless that happens to be what you're willing/able to do.

Aug 31, 2008 10:29 am

Referring to the thread started by the admins, titled "making these forums for RR's only", this is a great argument for doing so, or at least setting up a separate section for folks seeking info on entering the industry and restricting their access to that section only.

The apology is great, but you arent mature enough to run other peoples money. or even to help a real wealth manager do so.