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Feb 6, 2009 4:23 pm

I have been talking to them and they seem to have a pretty nice setup.  They don't get a lot of discussion on the board from what I have seen.  I respect all of your opinions so if you can please give me some input, that would be helpful.  Here are my observations:

 
Pros:
 
*It seems that even if I sell their insurance product, I could still take my book and go somewhere else.  No non-complete, etc. 
*They are paying a huge rate on their whole life insurance policies
*They are a mutual company that has remained strong during 2008
*Their broker/dealer seems to have pretty much everything I had at Merrill
*They have a pretty nice system where I can consolidate outside accounts on a client website
*Can sell insurance policies with small monthly premiums but still get paid pretty well 
*They have a cash balance plan
 
Cons:
 
*100% commission but they do have a decent bonus program once you actually produce
 
My biggest problem in the office is that it seems that there are mostly insurance guys in the office that don't focus as much on investments. 
 
I find myself wondering how they stack up to the wires on the investment side.  I just don't want to be surprised.
 
Can you all offer any pros/cons with this company?  How does this compare to the wires.
Feb 6, 2009 8:30 pm

what wires

Feb 6, 2009 8:36 pm

I'll address your cons. 


100% commission should only be an issue for the first 3-4 months.
 
Most of the guys focusing on insurance shouldn't be a negative for you.  It has no impact on your practice.  It could be a positive because it may give you lots of joint work opportunities.
 
If there is a good GA, I think that a case could be made that this might be the best place for you to get your start.
Feb 6, 2009 9:33 pm

I actually agree that having the insurance guys around will be good, they can teach some good sales practices and I may be able to pick up some business that they can't handle.  I had one that talked to me that is already talking to the sales manager about having me do some fee based wrap accounts for some of his clients since he doesn't have a 65/66 or 7.

 
My truly only biggest concern is making sure that the broker/dealer will have all the "bells and whistles" that I may need in the longer term.  Should I worry about that at all or do they have a pretty robust platform on the b/d side?  How about research?
 
Is there any potential way they could steal my clients in the future?  I can move any MassMutual policies if things ever don't work out in the future, right?
 
Sorry for all the questions
Feb 6, 2009 9:36 pm

Did ML lay you off?

Feb 6, 2009 9:40 pm

Yup!  Chop off the base salaries.  My post was quoted regarding the ML layoffs by Registered Rep. on their ML layoff article. I almost sh*t when I say that

Feb 6, 2009 11:03 pm

Akkula,

MM is a very strong mutual carrier.  They have a great reputation.  Of course, you won't hear much about them here because this is much more of an investment board.  Anon is clearly one of the best sources for information on insurance carriers you're going to find here.

But back to the time issue: since it's been, what - a week or more since Ml laid you off, time is still a big issue for you.  Or did you not yet have an established book to try and bring with you somewhere else?

Feb 6, 2009 11:52 pm

Just like every other firm you can go with, it is all about the local presence.  Look for the companies that will give you the best chance to succeed.  Mass may be a very strong carrier, but if there is a poor track record of supporting newbies, you should look elsewhere.



 
Anon has some very good insight as to what to look for in a career agency.  The underlying insurance compay is very important, but you need to look at yourself as a business owner.  What makes you profitable and successful is more important than anything. 
Feb 7, 2009 6:06 am
My truly only biggest concern is making sure that the broker/dealer will have all the "bells and whistles" that I may need in the longer term.  Should I worry about that at all or do they have a pretty robust platform on the b/d side?  How about research?
 
What bells and whistles do you need?   For instance, if you want to do options with your clients, they are the wrong place.  If you want to do EIAs, they are the wrong place.  They have no research.   Does anyone trust a firm's research?
 
 
 
Is there any potential way they could steal my clients in the future?  I can move any MassMutual policies if things ever don't work out in the future, right?
 
I guess that there is always potential, but there's no reason for it.  The company makes their money from having your clients buy more MassMutual products in the future.  The best way to allow this to happen is for the original rep to keep working with the client.   As long as you keep your insurance license, you should be able to keep your insurance clients.  This is why I find MassMutual and Guardian to be better choices, all else being equal, than Northwestern Mutual or New York Life. 
 
MM and Guardian accept brokered business.  Therefore, one can give up their career contract and still keep their clients.
 
In general, I think that the insurance companies are much better places to be a financial advisor (financial advisor as opposed to investment advisor) than a wirehouse.   
 
If you do a decent amount of investment business, you'll get a payout of 80%+.  Insurance business won't go through a grid.  This is true whether you are writing MassMutual business or outside business. 
 
Don't take a job with MM without also talking to Guardian, NY Life, and Northwestern Mutual.  All things being equal, I think that MM is the best of the lot, but all things are never equal.
 
 
 
Feb 7, 2009 7:13 am

Having the option to do protective puts or write calls would be nice, even though I don't think I would do them much.  Having access to alternative investments would also be good.  These aren't dealbreakers but they would be nice to have.


Having just started at ML, my book wasn't huge since I was only in production a few months.  I kind of see this as a second chance to make a good decision on where to start having my eyes opened a bit more and I have been in contact with many of my folks to let them know what was happening and that I am trying to find the right fit.


Accepting brokered business is huge for me.  I don't want to get in a situation where I sell something and I can't take it with me if I need to leave the firm.  I may try to talk to Guardian as well.
 
What is the best way to tell how well a local office supports its newbies? 
Feb 7, 2009 12:21 pm

Ask MM about a salary program for their newbies. I was offered a position with MM that included a mixture of salary and commissions for the first year until 100% commission thereafter. MM seems like a good place to build a business but it felt as if you will be required to 'push' their insurance products which I didn't necessarily like.

Payouts are generous with investment management as well. FA payout starts at 40% with the opportunity of growing all the way up to 80%.

Feb 7, 2009 1:10 pm

The comp plan I was shown was a bit different.  The financing subsidy worked like this:

 
They will match:
 
90% of your first year commissions up to a max of $37k
75% of your first year commissions up to a max of $21k
25% of your first year commissions up to a max of $13k
 
In order to qualify for the subsidy you have to do $2,500 in commission and 5 pieces of business.  You are a W2 employee instead of 1099 so that will save on self employment taxes.
 
They annualize commission on 1st year premium w/first payment.
 
The GA gave me this formula:
 
1. 8 scheduled appointments per week
2. 6 people actually meet with you
3. 4 agree to be profiled
4. 2 become clients within 7 days
5. If they are doing insurance with a $100 monthly premium, $80k first year comp.
 
My question is:  For a hard working fully licensed former wirehouse rep, how much income can I plan on during my six months for planning purposes?  I don't want to be too optimistic.  Would $10k in the first six months be overly pessimistic?  Could I plan on $24k my first year for a really low ball estimate? 
Feb 7, 2009 2:58 pm

"The comp plan I was shown was a bit different.  The financing subsidy worked like this:

 
They will match:
 
90% of your first year commissions up to a max of $37k
75% of your first year commissions up to a max of $21k
25% of your first year commissions up to a max of $13k"
 
This is pretty standard for any career contract for a company that does business in New York.  This is a typical example:
 
Client buy life insurance with a $2,000 annual premium.  Your commission is 55%.  You get $1,100.  You then get an additional 90% of that for $990.  Total commission equals $2,000.
 
"In order to qualify for the subsidy you have to do $2,500 in commission and 5 pieces of business."
 
This is a good thing.  Your one year doesn't start until after you have your practice up and running. 
 
"You are a W2 employee instead of 1099 so that will save on self employment taxes."
This is only partially true.  You will be a W-2 employee for your MassMutual insurance business.  However, you are not an employee of the broker-dealer, so securities business will all be 1099 income.  Also, all of the insurance business that you do outside of MassMutual will be 1099 income.
 
They annualize commission on 1st year premium w/first payment.
Correct, so when in the example I gave, the client pays an $80/monthy premium, you'll get a $2,000 commission check.
 
The GA gave me this formula:
 
1. 8 scheduled appointments per week
2. 6 people actually meet with you
3. 4 agree to be profiled
4. 2 become clients within 7 days
5. If they are doing insurance with a $100 monthly premium, $80k first year comp.
 
If all that you have is 8 scheduled appointments, you will probably fail out of the business.  What you need is 8-10 new scheduled appointments.  These are appointments with people whom you have never met before.  To have a good chance to do well, you really need to keep 15 appointments a week.
 
They aren't going to become clients within 7 days.   The underwriting process typically takes a month, so 7 days simply won't happen.
 
My question is:  For a hard working fully licensed former wirehouse rep, how much income can I plan on during my six months for planning purposes?  I don't want to be too optimistic.  Would $10k in the first six months be overly pessimistic?  Could I plan on $24k my first year for a really low ball estimate? 
 
Income is dependent upon what you do on a daily basis.  If you follow Al Granum's Rule #1, you should make $75,000 + your first year.  Rule #1: Between 8:00-4:00 do nothing but see people or fight to see them.   
 
Most people make about $20,000 their first year.  It's because they keep 5 appointments a week instead of 15-20 a week.
 
High activity snowballs on itself in this business.   If you have high activity with quality people, you are guaranteed to do very well for yourself.
Feb 8, 2009 6:16 pm

Is cold calling and cold walking a lot easier working for an insurance company since everyone is potential qualified prospect? 

 
I kind of gave up cold walking because I didn't feel like I was getting through to qualified prospects by wirehouse standards but I will probably rethink this.
 
If my goal is to get 8-10 new scheduled appointments per week, what is the best plan of attack after my natural market runs dry?     
Feb 8, 2009 7:04 pm

It's tons easiers.  If you read any of my posts about my calling or cold walking or prospecting, it would never work in a wirehouse environment the way that I do it.  It works precisely because almost everyone who I call is a decent prospect (I only cold call attorneys, CPAs, and business owners.).


If you can quickly learn how to get referrals, your natural market doesn't ever have to dry up.  You can succeed without making any cold calls.  I went years without making one.  I don't recommend not making cold calls.  However, in the beginning, you'll do much better with referrals.  It's much more important to get referrals from your natural market than it is to make sales.  The key is to get referrals before someone becomes a client.
Feb 8, 2009 7:07 pm

If you approach your natural market correctly, you'll never have to worry about running out of warm prospects to talk to.  When you approach your Project 200, your intent should be not to necessarily make them a client, but get as many referrals as possible.  What I do is have a feeder list of 20 names or so.  These are neighbors/relatives/co-workers that I'm familiar with.  We then go through each person, and we talk about how to approach these folks (lunch together or a warm intro). 

Feb 8, 2009 7:11 pm
anonymous:
If you can quickly learn how to get referrals, your natural market doesn't ever have to dry up.  You can succeed without making any cold calls.  I went years without making one.  I don't recommend not making cold calls.  However, in the beginning, you'll do much better with referrals.  It's much more important to get referrals from your natural market than it is to make sales.  The key is to get referrals before someone becomes a client.
 
Can you expand on your referral techniques?  Can I come work for you?
 
I have learned more from you and this forum than I ever learned at ML. 
Jul 19, 2009 10:56 am

Akkula, what is your method for determining where to cold walk?  Who are you targeting?

 
It was recently suggested to me that I think about cold walking.  What's the best way to approach it?  What do you bring with you?  What are you saying?
 
Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.  Thanks, all.
Jul 19, 2009 11:58 am

I am also looking at MassMutual as well as Northwestern Mutual.  Looks like from reading this board that I should also check out Guardian and New York Life.  I'm going into this business with a life insurance company but I am scared sh*tless looking at this from the outside.  It worked for me in college, I was a very average student coming in and I was so scared of failing out, I graduated with a 3.9 GPA (still had time to chase women!).


Here is what I still do not understand, after talking to a recruiter at Northwestern, I was told I needed to get 6 referred leads a day to have a chance at making it.  The girlfriend (wife soon) got accepted to grad school in CA.  Not having committments now, we decided to come out here.  Love it, but I am new here and have almost no connections.  Do I have a snowball's chance in hell of making it?


I have seen posts stating the nothing between 9am to 4pm but seeing people or fighting to see people.  Makes sense, but where do I start.  I want to know exactly I should be doing during those hours to start?  I will do what needs to be done, but what needs to be done?  I am not brand new to sales, I sold glue for an adhesives company for 12 months before they went under recently.  I did okay, but it was definitly a learning year taking the job with no sales experience.  I realize sales takes balls and a work ethic, but someone please give me a map.  At least with the industrial adhesive company, I they told me what to do each day and if I didn't do it, I was gone by the end of the week.
 
Help this newbie out!!!
Jul 19, 2009 3:30 pm

"I am also looking at MassMutual as well as Northwestern Mutual.  Looks like from reading this board that I should also check out Guardian and New York Life."


That's good advice.   
 
I'm going into this business with a life insurance company but I am scared sh*tless looking at this from the outside. 
 
You should be scared.  Most people fail. 
 
 It worked for me in college, I was a very average student coming in and I was so scared of failing out, I graduated with a 3.9 GPA (still had time to chase women!).
 
You did well because you did what needed to be done.  Most people fail in this business because they don't do what is needed to be done on a daily basis.  The nice this is that if you do what needs to be done, success is close to guaranteed.

Here is what I still do not understand, after talking to a recruiter at Northwestern, I was told I needed to get 6 referred leads a day to have a chance at making it. 



1) Keep in mind that recruiters often have no experience in the business.
2) Sometimes, the recruiter isn't a recruiter and is someone in management.  The top tier people usually don't end up in management because it is a step down. 
3) That being said, he's not completely off-base.  You don't need 6 leads a day to succeed, but 6 leads will greatly increase your odds of success.
4) You can absolutely get 6 leads a day.
 
The girlfriend (wife soon) got accepted to grad school in CA.  Not having committments now, we decided to come out here.  Love it, but I am new here and have almost no connections.  Do I have a snowball's chance in hell of making it?
 
Absolutely!  The only thing that your lack of connections will do is make your first 3-6 months slightly harder.
 
 
I have seen posts stating the nothing between 9am to 4pm but seeing people or fighting to see people.  Makes sense, but where do I start.  I want to know exactly I should be doing during those hours to start?  I will do what needs to be done, but what needs to be done? 
 
This is very simple (buy not easy). If you aren't on an appointment, make phone calls for the purpose of scheduling appointments or cold walk with the purpose of scheduling an appointment.  That's it.  No exceptions.
 
 
 
I am not brand new to sales, I sold glue for an adhesives company for 12 months before they went under recently.  I did okay, but it was definitly a learning year taking the job with no sales experience.  I realize sales takes balls and a work ethic, but someone please give me a map.  At least with the industrial adhesive company, I they told me what to do each day and if I didn't do it, I was gone by the end of the week.
 
If you can do what I'm telling you to do, you will do extremely well.
 
Help this newbie out!!!
With the little bit that we've seen from your few posts, people will be more than happy to give you help.