Interview at A.G.E. - Thoughts?

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Aug 25, 2006 10:47 am

Greetings, Everyone


Ok, I have an intervew with A.G. Edwards next week. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or suggestions about this firm and what to expect of the interview process.  


To be honest, I don't have a background in sales or financial services. I recently graduated from law school; I'm not sure if that's good, bad or indifferent when it comes to this industry.


I would be interested to know what to expect in terms of compensation, training and intial expenses. And, of course,  the interview process itself. Also, what any of you might know or think about the company culture.


I've read up on previous threads, but any fresh perspective would be welcome.

Aug 25, 2006 3:01 pm

Know the industry inside and out.  Be absolutley sure this is what you want to do.  Hopefully you're over 30 and/or have lots of wealthy contacts who trust you AND will give you assets to manage. 


The training program is pretty competitive but they offer the shortest salary out of the major players. 


Company culture is laid back, not as 'arrogant' as Wall Street firms generally.  Have at least $20k to $30k saved up for salary support. 


That being said, I think you're a little insane to jump into this business without any sales experience.  Law school is of only minor benefit to you, degrees don't bring in business.....salesmanship does.


The key to interviews is a cool confidence and complete lack of attachment to whether they hire you or not.  You must believe that you're bringing something to the table they need and if they don't recognize it their competitor will.


Bring a business plan, or at least a fairly articulate outline of how you intend to aquire clients.  Have a list of 2000 plus names and phone numbers that have a need for financial services and be able to demonstrate why they would want to do business with you (affiliations, common interests etc...).


Walk into the interview with a clear reason why they should hire you and demonstrate your initiative by articulating your understanding of what is expected and how you intend to satisfy those expectations.


Ask good questions.  Don't be desperate.  At the end of the first interview ask "based on our discussion today what do you feel is the next step?".  Be politely persistent and stay on top of the manager (but don't be a pest).

Aug 25, 2006 4:02 pm

Duuuude,


Good answer except for the part about the compensation being the shortest salary of the major players.  Earlier this year AGE revamped the newbie comp program from a 1yr declining schedule to....a 2yr declining schedule. That put's them on par with most of the other players. Oddly enough, the broker head count at AGE is down to 6600 as of last month primarily because they don't offer upfront money to vet's, most all of who choose to go with a wirehouse where they can collect 100%+ of trailing 12 months or the other route is Indy.

Aug 25, 2006 4:07 pm

My understanding is that most offer a two year level salary.

Aug 25, 2006 4:08 pm

Oh and it's dude not Duuuude.  No capital, one U.


Aug 25, 2006 8:31 pm
dude:

The key to interviews is a cool confidence and complete lack of attachment to whether they hire you or not.  You must believe that you're bringing something to the table they need and if they don't recognize it their competitor will.


Bring a business plan, or at least a fairly articulate outline of how you intend to aquire clients. 


Wow, these are great suggestions. I plan to spend the next few days working on the interview with these points in mind.

Aug 25, 2006 9:28 pm

 i had a very bad experience with age!!  but they are a good firm.. 

Aug 25, 2006 11:45 pm

what was your experience with them?

Aug 26, 2006 1:17 am

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


YOU NEED A NEW SCREEN NAME. 


If you are interviewing with AGE there a few things you should know. 


1. The culture is great.


2. Training program is world class


3. Good management. 


4. There are very reluctant to take you on as a producer if you are below the age of 25.


Don't worry about my bad experience.  I guarantee you will not run into the same problem. 



Aug 26, 2006 1:31 am
Shmer33:

 i had a very bad experience with age!!  but they are a good firm.. 



do tell...what was your bad experience?

I had one....and yet I still think it is a great firm!

Aug 26, 2006 3:47 pm

Also be prepared to address your weaknesses or 'areas needing improvement'.  Be honest and candid.


Dress like a champion;  conservative, dark colored suit (charcoal is my favorite) and attractive conservatively patterned tie.  It must be a suit, no khaki pants etc....


Visualize the branch manager offering you a job.  Go in with complete faith that you will get an offer.


Also, this is VERY important (it sealed the deal for me at Morgan Stanley): say something to the manger along these lines "You know Mr. Branch Manager, I have researched this business extensively and feel very confident that I have a good grasp on what is required, the problem is that I've never actually seen what it is like to live a day in the life of a Financial Advisor, assuming that you are interested in exploring hiring me I'd like to shadow a broker you might like me to emulate if you were to hire me."


Aug 26, 2006 3:49 pm

That's much better to say than, "You seem like dead wood to me, so I'd like to see you outta here so we can get a larger payout."

Aug 26, 2006 4:23 pm
dude:

Also be prepared to address your weaknesses or 'areas needing improvement'.  Be honest and candid.


Dress like a champion;  conservative, dark colored suit (charcoal is my favorite) and attractive conservatively patterned tie.  It must be a suit, no khaki pants etc....


Visualize the branch manager offering you a job.  Go in with complete faith that you will get an offer.


Also, this is VERY important (it sealed the deal for me at Morgan Stanley): say something to the manger along these lines "You know Mr. Branch Manager, I have researched this business extensively and feel very confident that I have a good grasp on what is required, the problem is that I've never actually seen what it is like to live a day in the life of a Financial Advisor, assuming that you are interested in exploring hiring me I'd like to shadow a broker you might like me to emulate if you were to hire me."



Dude, I read that you are leaving the wirehouse... 


You seem articulate, know this retail business etc.  Have you thought about recruiting for this business?  It could be a nice fit for you as you have "inside" knowledge of wirehouses, obviously enjoy the business, sales experience etc.


Something you might want to consider.  Not sure if some of other recruiters on here have broker experience like you...Best of luck.

Aug 26, 2006 4:42 pm

dude has indicated that he enjoys the stock broker side of the business, it's a shame that he wasn't born twenty or thirty years earlier.


The stock market is still around in the trading departments. There are sell side trading desks and buy side trading desks all over the country.


I'd suggest that anybody who likes the ebb and flow of the markets explore what's available in your area.


http://www.securitytraders.org/index.shtml


Go to that site and see if there is a chapter in your area--if so see if they will let you join it, so that you can do some networking.


Also look and see what firms in your area are on their membership roster--remember that Merrill Lynch won't have traders in Omaha, but they might in Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston.


Anyway, if you think you'd like the challenges of trying to buy low and sell high--if that's what you thought you were getting into when you took your Series 7 only to be rudely awakened to the mundane world of AUM look into trading.


There are too many facets of this business to walk away because retail broker was not what you thought, or hoped, it would be.

Aug 26, 2006 5:08 pm
NASD Newbie:

dude has indicated that he enjoys the stock broker side of the business, it's a shame that he wasn't born twenty or thirty years earlier.


The stock market is still around in the trading departments. There are sell side trading desks and buy side trading desks all over the country.


I'd suggest that anybody who likes the ebb and flow of the markets explore what's available in your area.


http://www.securitytraders.org/index.shtml



Yes, could be a good option.   Will be difficult to land on a Desk without a degree.  He could his own account or look for a large non-profit in his area who invests.  I'd say say that staring at a screen all day - trading equities etc. could be boring and not stimulating enough for a young guy who is used to interacting with people, solving fin. issues etc..


Another route would be to hook up with an older, larger producer...combine your smaller book into his larger book and take a junior roll to help him grow and substain his book...For working the bottom of his book or prospecting on his team you might be able to withstand these lean years.


I'd be interested to see if MS will try and retain you and this team approach might make sense if you have a book (albeit small) and skills....You might have to find a different office...Keep us posted..


Aug 26, 2006 5:44 pm
Rugby:

Will be difficult to land on a Desk without a degree. 



A degree is rarely even considered desirable in a trader, especially in a proprietary trader.


Nerves of steel, and intuition born of experience--classic "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" stuff.


It's the next best thing to being a pit trader for the pure rush of riding the waves.

Aug 27, 2006 4:33 pm

Rugby,


I left Morgan almost 2 years ago and actually just left AG Edwards.  I think that I'm going to take it easy for a little while and focus on my family, with the intent on entering the business down the road.


Trading seems very interesting.  I'd like to know more about breaking into that field.  I'm sure I'm going to need to build some different skills to be an effective trader, it seems a world away from selling mutual fund wrap programs.

Aug 27, 2006 4:40 pm

Rugby,


Also, I will note that MS did try to retain me by offering to pay me a draw, which the manager would 'take care of' if after a year I still didn't have enough commissions to cover the draw.  Essentially extending my salary for a year.


There is a whole story to this, but essentially I moved out of state (had to do with my family) so I declined.  Oh well, such is life.

Aug 28, 2006 8:55 am
bespel:

Greetings, Everyone


Ok, I have an intervew with A.G. Edwards next week. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or suggestions about this firm and what to expect of the interview process.  


To be honest, I don't have a background in sales or financial services. I recently graduated from law school; I'm not sure if that's good, bad or indifferent when it comes to this industry.


I would be interested to know what to expect in terms of compensation, training and intial expenses. And, of course,  the interview process itself. Also, what any of you might know or think about the company culture.


I've read up on previous threads, but any fresh perspective would be welcome.



You need to be able to answer the simple question of WHY you want to be a financial advisor and why you think you can succeed in bringing in Assets and Revenue.

Aug 28, 2006 9:06 am

Please do not sit there and say, "Because I live to help people."