Insight and advice requested

or Register to post new content in the forum

80 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.
Oct 16, 2006 7:15 pm

I found this forum a couple of days ago, and I have been reading hundreds of messages since then.  It's been a great resource for me, and now I would like to ask for some insight and advice.

I am 50 years old.  I have been making my living for the past 18 years as a full time independant S&P futures trader.  Yes, I'm one of those people who basically lived by myself in a cave (my home office,) in front of a bunch of computer screens, trading proprietary and mostly automated systems. For many reasons, I have reached a point in my life where I want to finally get out of the cave, and work amongst other people, using whatever skills and knowledge that I have.

I have just been offered a job with MS in the FA training program.  From reading many posts here on this board, it seems as if I have been offered the standard deal:  $60k salary + the license training.  Changes to all commissions by the end of the 2nd year.   $5 million AUM and $15k production must be hit by the end of the first year, and other targets for the 2nd year, etc.

In addition, I have also spoken with NY Life, and I know that they are going to want me too.  My next interview with them isn't until next Monday, when they say that they are going to explain compensation to me.  The guy did tell me that I should expect to make at least $60k the first year, and at least $100k the 2nd year.

Now, here is my question:

I see the comments here on the forum mostly look down on insurance sales in comparison to working as a FA.  I also read post after post about the mortality rate (80%) of new FAs, but I haven't heard anything about the mortality rate for insurance guys. I also have no idea about the difference in average compensation.  So, can any of you please enlighten me as to the real differences between working at a place like MS compared to working at a place like NY Life?

Thank you for your time.

Oct 16, 2006 7:38 pm

At Morgan Stanley you will truly be a "full service" broker--literally anything that could ever be wanted will be available.


At NYLife you're going to be expected to sell insurance, variable annuities, and mutual funds.  They will encourage you to get a Series 6 license--although with your background you should be able to tell them that you want to get the Series 7 and they'll agree to sponsor you for it.


The reality is that most of the people you encounter are going to need insurance and very few of them are going to need investments--that tilts in favor of NYLife.


You're fifty.  If you've read much of what I've had to say you'll know that I do everything I can to discourage people under thirty five from even trying at a place like Morgan Stanley--the odds are so long that it just doesn't make sense to waste several years only to fail.  Instead they should start at NYLife and move to Morgan Stanley when they're in their late thirties or forties.


The reality is that you're going to be discouraged from becoming a clone of your formerself--staring at flickering lights in a Morgan Stanley office instead of in your home office.


If I were you I'd go with NYLife--life insurance is not a luxury.  Being a middleman between the investor and a money manager is a fad that is going to pass sooner rather than later.

Oct 16, 2006 8:05 pm

He failed, don't listen to him. Do you want to be an investment guy or an insurance guy? I believe it is that simple, I will tell you insurance commissions blow what you'll make as an advisor charging 1% away. You probably can make 100K your 2nd year at NY Life, but don't expect 100K until you've put in 4 or 5 years at MS. I find my average commission % seems to fall every year I have been in this business. However assets increase so all is well!

Oct 16, 2006 8:06 pm

Thank you for your reply.

I have no intention of trading anymore, but I was surprised to learn that FAs don't actually manage the portfolios.  When did FAs become contractors and sub-contract out the actual portfolio management?   It seems that the industry has changed from "stockbrokers" pushing and selling stocks, to FAs pushing and selling money managers.  Although, my mom uses a guy at ML in South Florida, and he DOES manage her portfolio.  He isn't a middleman.  He doesn't sub-contract out the work...except for some international mutual funds that he has her in.  (He also put her in a managed futures fund at one point, but I convinced her to get out of that because there was way too much volatility and absolutely zero transparency.) Maybe it's because he's been there for such a long time?  Or maybe it's the size of the account? (it's pretty big)

What sets one FA apart from another, if they are all selling the same product? The BOM told me that I would never lose an account because of performance (return on investment,) but that I could lose lots of accounts if the service was bad.  Of course I realize how important service (hand holding) is, but how can investment firms tell their clients that they shouldn't be concerned about their return on investment?  When did THAT come about?

What I'm still trying to figure out is why you suggest people start at NYLife and THEN move to a wirehouse?  Is it just because of more products to sell? 

Actually, at this point in my life, I'm mostly concerned with MY income and the work I need to do to attain the income I desire.  Do you have any insight on the differences between MS and NYLife in that regard?

MS offered me a salary to start of with, and while it is a tiny salary, it's a least something to count on.  I have no idea what the deal with NYLife will be.

Again, thank you for your help.


Oct 16, 2006 8:20 pm
bankrep1:

Do you want to be an investment guy or an insurance guy?



Actually, it seems to me that they're both just sales guys.  What difference does it make what a guy is selling?  Sales is sales.

I'm trying to compare the compensation and the daily life between the two.

If insurance guys make so much more than FAs, then why are they looked at as 2nd class citizens?  Selling insurance isn't sexy...but making money is...right?




Oct 16, 2006 9:12 pm

Then go sell something else... This business is not easy there are many other places to make good money with less effort.

Oct 16, 2006 9:32 pm
mktsystms:
bankrep1:

Do you want to be an investment guy or an insurance guy?



Actually, it seems to me that they're both just sales guys.  What difference does it make what a guy is selling?  Sales is sales.

I'm trying to compare the compensation and the daily life between the two.

If insurance guys make so much more than FAs, then why are they looked at as 2nd class citizens?  Selling insurance isn't sexy...but making money is...right?


That is exactly right.  The child you're talking to called Bankrep is late 20s, perhaps early thirties and he is afraid to be in sales so he sits in a bank lobby and smiles at people making deposits hoping to get a signal from a teller that the customer just deposited a check indicating they are an investor.


It is the investment world's minor leagues.


You are focused on making some money in the last ten or fifteen years of your career--even the child has said that you may make $100 grand in your first year at NYLife where you would not hit that for several years at a brokerage firm.


How do the day-to-day lives differ?  At NYLife you'll spend more time doing business and less time prospecting--at Morgan Stanley it will be 180 degrees the other way.


The reality is that there is a bit of a caste system in the financial services industry and insurance is not at the top of the heap.


It really depends on who you see as your "natural market."  If you envision yourself opening accounts with people who want to be investors in things beyond insurance, variable annuities and mutual funds you should go with Morgan Stanley.


However, since 90% of the population--or even more--are best served with insurance and mutual funds there is no reason to bother with the potential for failure at Morgan Stanley when the chances for success are so much greater at NYLife.


Seeing as the child chose to advise you to not listen to me because I "failed" we should address the fact that I became a Senior Vice President in charge of branch operations for one of the top six wirehouses--perhaps Morgan Stanley, before retiriing earlier this year after thirty five years in the industry.


If that is failure I'll take it all day long.

Oct 16, 2006 9:52 pm
mktsystms:

I have no intention of trading anymore, but I was surprised to learn that FAs don't actually manage the portfolios.  When did FAs become contractors and sub-contract out the actual portfolio management?  


You can do either. It all boils down to what you think your job is. We have some of our best debates here about that very subject.


mktsystms:


What sets one FA apart from another, if they are all selling the same product?


They aren't.


mktsystms:

 The BOM told me that I would never lose an account because of performance (return on investment,) but that I could lose lots of accounts if the service was bad.  Of course I realize how important service (hand holding) is, but how can investment firms tell their clients that they shouldn't be concerned about their return on investment?  When did THAT come about?


It isn't that firms tell clients not to care, it's clients who have told firms what matters to them most. Go ahead and sell yourself as the hottest dot out there, you'll probably attract those sorts of clients who will leave you when the next "hot dot" comes along and resells your now former clients.  BTW, service is much more than hand holding.

Oct 16, 2006 10:08 pm
Soon 2 B Gone:


The reality is that there is a bit of a caste system in the financial services industry and insurance is not at the top of the heap.

...

Seeing as the child chose to advise you to not listen to me because I "failed" we should address the fact that I became a Senior Vice President in charge of branch operations for one of the top six wirehouses--perhaps Morgan Stanley, before retiriing earlier this year after thirty five years in the industry.


If that is failure I'll take it all day long.

[/quote]
Oct 16, 2006 10:09 pm

This really is a matter of how you want to spend the next part of your career. My view is that the mortality rate for both businesses is about the same. Both businesses are damn hard to get started in, which is why MS is offering two years of salary. I don't know what NY life will offer, but many insurance companies offer little or no salary. Also many insurance companies force the trainee to pick up the costs of testing etc. On the FA side, all the costs are covered.


FAs don't subcontract the management of the assets. Most firms still give their FAs a wide latitude on how to build their business. That said, some firms are starting to steer their FA trainees in one direction, and that is fee business. Fee biz, the FA's job is to find the money and then recommend a fee program for the money. Professional managers do the actual day to day security selection, buying and selling, while the FA oversees the acct to make sure it is meeting the client's needs. The pro watches the money, the FA watches the pro and the client watches everyone. Freed from the day to day portfolio management duties the FA can concentrate on finding more money. At my firm FAs don't have to go the Fee route exclusively. They can go other directions or mix and match. Politically, howver, it's smart to go however the Branch manager wants you to go. If you end up anywhere near the cut line being a team player will buy you more time. One of my friends, a million dollar producer today, absolutely sucked nine months in, then he took off. So time can be your friend.


As far as money goes, I've never met an insurance salesman who makes over $200,000. I'm the piker of my small group of broker friends and I make substancially more than that. One of my broker friends makes over a million dollars a year. That is over a million dollars of income net before taxes. I helped train him. Apparently I did a good job (picture me patting self on back). I constantly remind him that he his a product of his training. Point is, if you are really motivated, in practical terms there is no top end in this business.


I'm sure there are insurance guys doing better than 200K, I've just never seen one.


MS is about as good as it gets.


One concern, is that cloistering yourself for all these years could lead to a culture shock. Your trading experience,while able to give you market knowledge and common sense, will be of little value here during your first several years as building a business is primarily a sales task. You've got to be a people person and make LOTS OF CONTACTS. Once made, you've got to ask these contacts to buy something. You need to be honest with yourself, can you do that?


Lastly, while some believe the insurance industry offers the best prep school for this business I believe it to be the local Ford Dealership. I am dead serious. If you don't know how to sell, that's something you need to learn. As good as MS is, I'll tell you up front that noone in their training department can teach you how to sell. Same goes for UBS, SB, ML, AGE. Just the way it is.

Oct 16, 2006 10:10 pm

oops...I need to learn how to do the "quote" thing correctly.  Sorry for the last message

Oct 16, 2006 10:14 pm

Soon 2 be Gone said:



Seeing as the child chose to advise you to not listen to me because I "failed" we should address the fact that I became a Senior Vice President in charge of branch operations for one of the top six wirehouses--perhaps Morgan Stanley, before retiriing earlier this year after thirty five years in the industry.



If that is failure I'll take it all day long.





Or was it two small insurance companies? That is what you said the last time we discussed your career did you forget what you did for 35 years?



I am not a kid anymore, maybe a young man, but in my 30's I doubt the word kid is used by anyone except of course those jealous of my early success.

Oct 16, 2006 10:17 pm

OH yeah Newbie, see where we are with the 12K probably coming soon.

Oct 16, 2006 10:20 pm
Soon 2 B Gone:

Seeing as the child chose to advise you to not listen to me because
I "failed" we should address the fact that I became a Senior Vice
President in charge of branch operations for one of the top six
wirehouses--perhaps Morgan Stanley, before retiriing earlier this year
after thirty five years in the industry.

If that is failure I'll take it all day long.

You don't need to give your qualifications to me.  On internet forums, the content of what people write usually says a lot more about who they are than if they post their resumes.  I appreciate your words of wisdom in this and other threads.

Oct 16, 2006 10:21 pm

NYL does not offer a salary but "marketing money" that is a loan.  At least that was thier offer to me about 18 months ago.


This loan is to be used only for marketing and not a salary.


Ask the NYL manager to explain this 60k+ a year in detail.


The manager I interviewed with (SE MI) used the following example-


We loan you 3k to send out a mass mailing or hire telemarket firm, you sell 5-6k worth in commish.  Rinse and repeat.


Now one thing to remember is this 5-6k in commish is spread out over a couple years and includes bonus money.  Of course that bonus money is dependent on hitting your goals and the policies staying in place.


Also ask what expense's are covered or should say not?


Getting hired at NYL is not a big deal.  The feeling I got was if you had a pulse and any kind of warm market your in.


No matter good luck.

Oct 16, 2006 10:24 pm

Read the one where he says he worked for two small insurance companies, then read this one where he says he worked for two large wirehouses. Then read the post where he says he failed as a broker and blew up clients by selling bonds, then they promoted him to VP. Now use common sense and think about why anyone would promote someone who failed not once but twice.

Oct 16, 2006 10:26 pm
mikebutler222:
mktsystms:

 The BOM told me that I would never lose an account because of performance (return on investment,) but that I could lose lots of accounts if the service was bad.  Of course I realize how important service (hand holding) is, but how can investment firms tell their clients that they shouldn't be concerned about their return on investment?  When did THAT come about?

It isn't that firms tell clients not to care, it's clients who have told firms what matters to them most. Go ahead and sell yourself as the hottest dot out there, you'll probably attract those sorts of clients who will leave you when the next "hot dot" comes along and resells your now former clients.  BTW, service is much more than hand holding.


I hope that I haven't come across as a hot shot. Can you explain more about what constitutes the service that clients want?  Thank you.

Oct 16, 2006 10:34 pm
bankrep1:

Read the one where he says he worked for two small insurance companies, then read this one where he says he worked for two large wirehouses. Then read the post where he says he failed as a broker and blew up clients by selling bonds, then they promoted him to VP. Now use common sense and think about why anyone would promote someone who failed not once but twice.


You're the only person who can't figure out what I've said.  Why do you suppose everybody but you can do it?

Oct 16, 2006 10:38 pm

No. I could pull up the thread where everyone bashed you and asked you to explain yourself, but I won't waste my time, it is precious. I have a big day tommorrow, lots of people to see at the bank.

Oct 16, 2006 10:39 pm
bankrep1:

No. I could pull up the thread where everyone bashed you and asked you to explain yourself, but I won't waste my time, it is precious. I have a big day tommorrow, lots of people to see at the bank.


Liar.