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Jul 21, 2008 11:31 pm

Hello all.  I'm contemplating a career change and have been reading this board religiously for the last couple weeks.  I was wondering if any of you have experience with developing a career at one of the discount brokerages.  Pro's, cons, etc.  I'm open to any advice or suggestions you may have.

 
Thank you!!
Jul 22, 2008 12:18 am

In college I did an internship at a discount brokerage for a year and at a full service firm for a year.  This was an internship, so by no means should my opinion be taken as fact.  From my experience, they're totally different.  The brokers I knew at the discount firm were basically order takers.  It seemed very low skill level and amaturish.  The full service firm was a different story.  There were meetings there to talk about individual clients and what would work best for them, much more attention on propsecting, and a much stronger relationship with the client.  The full service firm left me with the feeling that the FA's were doing much more to actually improve their clients' future than the brokers at the discount firm. 


To summarize my experience, I would compare the broker at the discount firm to someone like a dealer at a casino.  Basically there as a medium between the client and a little gamble at making a few bucks.  While I would compare the FA at the full service firm to a physician.  They were there to improve the financial health of the client and prevent any future problems from arising.
 
To each his own, so find out which you'd fit best in, but they are two very different places.
Jul 22, 2008 11:05 am

Thanks for the replies guys.  Any ideas on potential income?  1st year?  5th year?  Most of the jobs I'm seeing online start with a small base but if I could hit 6 figures or even get close to it over the next few years I would be happy.  My wife makes good money too so I don't need a 300k/yr income to be happy.  And from what I'm reading on here the washout rate for the full service brokerages is going to prevent most people from making the big bucks anyway.

 
If I were to sum up all I've read on here over the last couple weeks I'd say the big difference between the 2 career paths is risk VS reward.  Full service = high risk and high reward.  Discount = low risk and low reward.  I'm really excited about this business.  I just need to figure out what direction to point myself toward. 
Jul 22, 2008 11:53 am

At the discount company I did my internship with the avg. income in the office after a few years was about $50-60k.  Everyone there seemed extremely burned out.  Once you've got a base of clients all you're doing all day is taking calls and entering orders.  So, I call you and say I want to buy 100 shares of GE at the current market price, you enter the order.  Then someone else calls and wants to sell 200 shares of Merck.  You enter the order.  It seemed to get old very fast.  Being a FA, you're at least faced with different situations and needs for each clients.  I'm sure there's a level of repetitiveness (sp?) at times, but for the most part, each client would actually require you to use your brain and not just your keyboard to meet their needs.


Again, my experience is only what I saw as an intern, so I'm not saying this should be taken as fact.  If I were you I'd go talk with some local FA's and some local discount brokers to see where you think you'd be happiest.  By the way, I think with the $4 online trades, the demand for discount brokers is significantly decreasing.
Jul 22, 2008 12:16 pm
IsOldSpiceRightForMe:

At the discount company I did my internship with the avg. income in the office after a few years was about $50-60k.  Everyone there seemed extremely burned out.  Once you've got a base of clients all you're doing all day is taking calls and entering orders.  So, I call you and say I want to buy 100 shares of GE at the current market price, you enter the order.  Then someone else calls and wants to sell 200 shares of Merck.  You enter the order.  It seemed to get old very fast.  Being a FA, you're at least faced with different situations and needs for each clients.  I'm sure there's a level of repetitiveness (sp?) at times, but for the most part, each client would actually require you to use your brain and not just your keyboard to meet their needs.


Again, my experience is only what I saw as an intern, so I'm not saying this should be taken as fact.  If I were you I'd go talk with some local FA's and some local discount brokers to see where you think you'd be happiest.  By the way, I think with the $4 online trades, the demand for discount brokers is significantly decreasing.
 
Order taking.  That sounds boring.  I like to SELL and like to be incented to do so.