If you could start your career anywhere...?

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Jun 17, 2009 5:29 pm

Hi,



I am starting to research/apply for "newbie" financial advisor roles and I have been reading the various posts on this forum for about a week and think I understand the nuts and bolts of how things will work.



I understand that this is going to very hard work and I am happy to earn poor money for a few years if 10 years down the line I can make good money and still enjoy family etc....



I am transitioning from a career as an attorney and relish the opportunity for a more "front office" role.



I would like to know where the best places to start your career as an advisor are? My knowledge of personal finance is limited to what I have read in "Personal Finance for Young Attorneys", Fortune and Money so it is important that I receive decent training about the PRODUCTS and not just how to sell.



Any constructive advice would be warmly welcomed. (I just interviewed at axa and they seemed overly eager yet were not forthcoming answers to questions regarding monies I would have to pay to them etc...





Jun 17, 2009 6:02 pm
2009DC:

Hi,



I am starting to research/apply for "newbie" financial advisor roles and I have been reading the various posts on this forum for about a week and think I understand the nuts and bolts of how things will work.



I understand that this is going to very hard work and I am happy to earn poor money for a few years if 10 years down the line I can make good money and still enjoy family etc....



I am transitioning from a career as an attorney and relish the opportunity for a more "front office" role.



I would like to know where the best places to start your career as an advisor are? My knowledge of personal finance is limited to what I have read in "Personal Finance for Young Attorneys", Fortune and Money so it is important that I receive decent training about the PRODUCTS and not just how to sell.



Any constructive advice would be warmly welcomed. (I just interviewed at axa and they seemed overly eager yet were not forthcoming answers to questions regarding monies I would have to pay to them etc...







The only place a man of your stature should consider is Edward D. Jones & Co.

Jun 17, 2009 6:54 pm

how so....?

Jun 17, 2009 9:03 pm

Most of the big firms have decimated their training programs and are limiting new hires to recruits with experience from other firms.  As a result, finding a good trainnig program is going to be tough.  Mentors are also not something this business is known for.

 
Product learning is going to be ongoing.  The first step is the nuts and bolts - Series 7, 66 and other licenses as needed. Then, Insurnace licensing as well. This teaches you nothing about product, and little about theory. It teaches you about the components, the instruments, how they are pulled together and what the economic interplay can be, as well as how to understand the components and regulatory environment around them. You'll learn the fundamentals of the market. All of this is part of the licensure.  Even then, you will only get rudimentary theory, minimial economics and little or no analysis (it used to be you had to read the Graham and Dodd work on Securities analysis and it's still a very worthwhile excercise for any advisor to do. http://books.google.com/books?id=uUruZA9baowC&dq=Graham+and+Dodd+work+on+Securities+analysis.&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=EpA5SozKLcqntgewxdDhDA&sa=X&oi=bookresult&ct=result&resnum=5#PPR11,M1
)
 
Then, you'll have to learn company policies, which vary widely, and how to work within the compliance areas of the firm you are with, and with the tools avaialable. You will also have to learn how the firm you choose bills for the accounts and products.
 
Then, once you are in production, you will begin to learn the products.  There are thousands of companies, and tens of thousands of products. Each firm may have agreements with some or many, but not all. You can't represent what you can't sell.
You also will not have the luxury of any time to become an expert on all of them.  You have to begin to pick what you like, learn what you need to and run.
 
Just like law- you learn the ropes, pass the bar - but the practice you establish might be in one area of law. There are thousands of laws, and thousands of interpretations. Same holds true in this business.  You can't know it all. You have to trust the firm you are with, form strategic alliances and in the initial phases, you may find the customer needs are going to dictate what products and services you use most and thus, learn to use. You may also find the firm is dictating what you can and can't do in the sand box, even though it's sand, a shovel and a pail that you are using. They may say the castle you build may have to have a minimum, maximum and set other bandwidths within which you can operate.
Ie - certain percentages of equity positions in long trading accounts may go out of desired parameters and suddenly, you won't get paid on the account.
 
This is why, in the early stages, it is CRITICAL that you develop an image of the ideal client and determine which firms will allow you to work with that kind of client.  Jones might be a good place to start - but not the place you want to end a career - so why not start in a place you are sure will do what you want?  If you want to do mutual funds and annuities, EJ, Waddell and Reed, Ameriprise all fit the bill. If you want to do cash backed puts (nod Gaddock, just nod) and short positions or trade leveraged etfs - then one of the big wires might be to your liking. If you want a small practice and want to limit your self in some respects, but have autonomy, some independent firm with an existing practice you can at least get some guidance from might be the way.
 
Then, you have to not accept clients until they meet your criteria. This might mean you fail or starve - so give this area of your thoughts on transition the most thought.  If you do this, your book will be built the way you want it to be. IE - you can't just jump into the sandbox and build a castle. You need to draft what you want and decide what sand, what bucket and what shovel will help you build it.  If you take what comes along - then good luck to you because you'll be a jack of all trades and a master of none with a bad sand castle.  Do that and you won't be able to differentiate yourself.
 
Finally, being a sales expert is the biggest thing you will need to be. You truly have to master sales to excel in this business.  It's all about matching people with the market and if you can't sell - again, it's going to be a painful, painful experience.
 
 
 
Jun 18, 2009 9:16 am

Thank you takingnames for your response and for taking the time - it is a thorough and informative answer and it is much appreicated

Jun 18, 2009 5:40 pm

Top three companies to try for?

Jun 18, 2009 5:46 pm

What area of the law did you practice?  Could you use the contacts you made/already had (including colleagues and co-workers) to start building your business?

Jun 18, 2009 5:50 pm

Call a prop shop like Bright or Pairco, get them to sponsor you for the series 7. Then you can go and have something in your hand already.

Jun 18, 2009 6:32 pm

TakingNames is spot on.  I have an informal mentor who used to be (retired young) a $1MM dollar+ producer with UBS.  When I decided to go this route about six months ago I gave him a ring.  I just got off the phone with him for the first time since then and his advice has not changed.


1)  If you go through with this, at some point over the coming months and first few years you will find yourself saying WTF did I get myself into?  (6 months in and so true...)
2)  If you like talking with people, have an easy time getting along with them, and have a thick skin, you can make it far.
3)  Pick an area of expertise that you want to focus your business on, and devote your efforts there.  It is almost impossible to be a jack-of-all-trades in this business  (you can make your decision later in the process, but it is a decision you will eventually have to make, hence my question about your area of law practice)
4)  Find a way to turn setbacks into motivation, and have a poor short-term memory.  In some ways, this is like playing quarterback.  Sometimes you have to forget that last play and move on, but at some points you have to collect yourself and honestly evaluate what is working and what is not.
5)  At some point (usually after 2 or three years), you will find yourself dictacting who you will take as a client, and those who really are not worth your time and effort. (not there yet, but looking forward to it).  At that point, the career becomes truly rewarding and worth all the effort (reaaalllyyy looking forward to that)
 
If you have a law degree and passed the bar exam, unless you are somehow totally challenged by simple math, you should have no problem with the testing phase.  Make sure your record is clean before you make any life-altering commitments, you will go through several background checks by FINRA, the FBI, your State, etc.
 
As for firms, I work for EDJ, and think they are alright.  I like the fact that we pretty much kept our nose clean (subprime mortgage products, auction rate securities, etc.) that got the other big firms collective butts in a crack.  I have no basis of comparison, other than my Field Trainer, who used to work for Merrill and said his training composed of - pass the 7, here's a phone book, now go get it done (don't know if thats true or not, but he DID say it).  Do I think it could have been better training --sure.  But I have come to an understanding as to what the intent is.  This business is dog-eat-dog at the end, much like law.  What they try to build along the way is self-reliance.  At one point or another, you have to fend for yourself, and hopefully later pass on some kernnels of wisdom to the new guys coming in.  Jones does pride itself to a certain extent on helping new guys with a support system and setting the bar low.  But that only applies to survival as to your job.  If you want to make meaningful money you will have to find a way to produce, the same as any of the other firms.  Hope this helps.
Jun 19, 2009 10:54 am

I could definitely hit up ex-colleagues and in all honesty most of the people I know are attorneys earning the big pay check. I practiced tax law but got a Masters (LL.M.) in Securities Law and Financial Regulation

Jun 22, 2009 2:34 pm

People are gonna disagree with me but I'd have to say a wirehouse (not ML) would best suit a man with your background. Of course I am biased b/c I am currently in the training program at a wirehouse.


Unfortunate thing as stated by others is that most of these training programs have been slashed, therefore it may be impossible to get a shot. I know right before the SB-MS merger they were only hiring FA's on teams.
 
I will say that with your background, you still have a good chance of success regardless of the times. Top 3 FA's in my class are a former attorney,  former CPA, and a former Small Business owner. Each of which are not on a team and had an extensive rolodex coming into the business.
 
Jun 23, 2009 2:28 pm

I have submitted an application to MS-SB but apart from that the wirehouses don't seem to have anything going on. I interned for a year as part of a foreign program with a foreign bank in NY but they arent hiring yet. Don't think I should try and wait it out though as it will be ages before things like training programs get off the ground, so if EDJ would have me perhaps it would be best to get a foot in the industry's door so to speak...

Jun 23, 2009 4:40 pm

Which companies pay a decent starting salary instead of 100% commission. I don't think I could afford to start off at 100% commission as I am getting close to running out of cash and would have to start selling positions that I picked up cheaply and would ideally like to hold onto.

Jun 23, 2009 4:56 pm
2009DC:

Which companies pay a decent starting salary instead of 100% commission. I don't think I could afford to start off at 100% commission as I am getting close to running out of cash and would have to start selling positions that I picked up cheaply and would ideally like to hold onto.



What do you bring to the table that makes your worth a salary? Can you type?

Jun 23, 2009 5:39 pm

?

Jun 23, 2009 9:42 pm
SB0807:

People are gonna disagree with me but I'd have to say a wirehouse (not ML) would best suit a man with your background. Of course I am biased b/c I am currently in the training program at a wirehouse.


Unfortunate thing as stated by others is that most of these training programs have been slashed, therefore it may be impossible to get a shot. I know right before the SB-MS merger they were only hiring FA's on teams.
 
I will say that with your background, you still have a good chance of success regardless of the times. Top 3 FA's in my class are a former attorney,  former CPA, and a former Small Business owner. Each of which are not on a team and had an extensive rolodex coming into the business.
 


Just out of curiousity, how much AUM and Gross have the top 3 done thus far?  What is their LOS and location?
Jun 24, 2009 4:11 pm
Baba Booey:
SB0807:

People are gonna disagree with me but I'd have to say a wirehouse (not ML) would best suit a man with your background. Of course I am biased b/c I am currently in the training program at a wirehouse.


Unfortunate thing as stated by others is that most of these training programs have been slashed, therefore it may be impossible to get a shot. I know right before the SB-MS merger they were only hiring FA's on teams.
 
I will say that with your background, you still have a good chance of success regardless of the times. Top 3 FA's in my class are a former attorney,  former CPA, and a former Small Business owner. Each of which are not on a team and had an extensive rolodex coming into the business.
 


Just out of curiousity, how much AUM and Gross have the top 3 done thus far?  What is their LOS and location?
 
This was two months ago, 10 months in producation that this info is based on. So now at 1 year in production I would expect these to be even highter.
 
1st 25mm, Charlotte
2nd 17mm, Seattle
3rd 16mm, somewhere in connecticut
 
Gross numbers I didn't get from each but at MSSB they don't focus on it at this early in the game. Gather assets, gross will follow.
Jun 24, 2009 5:59 pm
SB0807:
Baba Booey:
SB0807:

People are gonna disagree with me but I'd have to say a wirehouse (not ML) would best suit a man with your background. Of course I am biased b/c I am currently in the training program at a wirehouse.


Unfortunate thing as stated by others is that most of these training programs have been slashed, therefore it may be impossible to get a shot. I know right before the SB-MS merger they were only hiring FA's on teams.
 
I will say that with your background, you still have a good chance of success regardless of the times. Top 3 FA's in my class are a former attorney,  former CPA, and a former Small Business owner. Each of which are not on a team and had an extensive rolodex coming into the business.
 


Just out of curiousity, how much AUM and Gross have the top 3 done thus far?  What is their LOS and location?
 
This was two months ago, 10 months in producation that this info is based on. So now at 1 year in production I would expect these to be even highter.
 
1st 25mm, Charlotte
2nd 17mm, Seattle
3rd 16mm, somewhere in connecticut
 
Gross numbers I didn't get from each but at MSSB they don't focus on it at this early in the game. Gather assets, gross will follow.
 
25 MILLION IN THEIR FIRST TEN MONTHS ????????????
Jun 24, 2009 6:04 pm
Gaddock:
SB0807:
Baba Booey:

[quote=SB0807]

People are gonna disagree with me but I'd have to say a wirehouse (not ML) would best suit a man with your background. Of course I am biased b/c I am currently in the training program at a wirehouse.


Unfortunate thing as stated by others is that most of these training programs have been slashed, therefore it may be impossible to get a shot. I know right before the SB-MS merger they were only hiring FA's on teams.
 
I will say that with your background, you still have a good chance of success regardless of the times. Top 3 FA's in my class are a former attorney,  former CPA, and a former Small Business owner. Each of which are not on a team and had an extensive rolodex coming into the business.
 


Just out of curiousity, how much AUM and Gross have the top 3 done thus far?  What is their LOS and location?
 
This was two months ago, 10 months in producation that this info is based on. So now at 1 year in production I would expect these to be even highter.
 
1st 25mm, Charlotte
2nd 17mm, Seattle
3rd 16mm, somewhere in connecticut
 
Gross numbers I didn't get from each but at MSSB they don't focus on it at this early in the game. Gather assets, gross will follow.
 
25 million is AUM of course, what kind of production numbers?
Jun 24, 2009 6:27 pm

I call total BS that at 10 months a new FA is pulling in those numbers. Those have to be skewed by brokers switching firms and bringing their books with them.