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May 3, 2006 6:41 pm

I would like to hear from any rookies at Merrill. What is the developing financial advisor program like? Pro's and Con's. I am currently a rookie in my first quarter of production at a regional firm, and I am being recruited by the local Merrill branch. Any info on the training, expectations of the management, support, etc. would be greatly appreciated. What kind of marketing and prospecting platform do they push the most (cold calling, seminars, cold walking)?

May 4, 2006 7:43 am

I run the POA program for our region.  While it varies from region
to region, we are trained to coach new FA's to exloit their individual
creative talents, but push any strategies.  The goals are
basically 15 million in annuitized assets in 2 years, with quartlerly
urdles along the way.  You will be trained on product and process,
but no one will hold your hand, and no one will be keeping tabs on you
from day to day.  You hitting your quartelry goals on the other
hand...tabs will be kept. 



It is an individual program, leaving alot of it up to you...it is this
way by design.  This, in my opinion, is why the failure rate may
be high in some areas of the country.  People don't make it, get
fired or quit, then complain they were never trained properly.  If
you make it, you will be very successful because our expectations are
so high...and you will become accustomed to this thus amking your drive
stronger and long term goals higher. 

May 4, 2006 1:25 pm

I guess there are not a lot of Merrill advisors that vist this board. 112 view and only one reply?

May 11, 2006 12:24 am

The POA program is getting a lot more demanding in our neck of the woods.  New POAs are given just four brief months to complete the following:


- Series 7 & 66 exams


- state Life Agent exam (for doing variable annuities)


- HS328 Investments course (1st module of the CFP exam)


- Plus 1 or 2 Assessments (practice role plays)


Only after completing all of these will you get your production number. That's a lot to cover in 4 months.  Luckily, I'm almost done, with a few weeks to go until production. 


As if this isn't enough already, you also need to carve out time to build your prospecting lists (or purchase them).


It's true that ML generally won't hold your hand through all this, although they are continually building more structure and guidance into the program.  Frankly, if someone isn't a self-starter and needs the hand-holding, then I'm not sure they're cut out for the program.


As for salary, you can count on 18 months of it if ML pays you $50k or more.  Under $50k, you'll be given an extra 6 months (totaling 24).  Of course, if you don't hit your quarterly hurdles, you won't last that long. 


On the plus side, ML has built in a lot of cash rewards for meeting those hurdles. 


Hope this helps!


Fundrzr

May 11, 2006 9:33 am

What can one expect to be earning at the end of the 2 year program if all hurdles and numbers are met? (considering they are primarily putting their clients in fee-based investments)

May 11, 2006 10:26 am

Lets assume you bring in 15MM in 2 years (the official requirement but my director says you need at least 20). With 15MM, lets assume you did a great job of getting the account into fee-based programs- say 70% annuitized at an average velocity of 120 BPs (the other 30% may be in-kind transfers or cash accounts that dont pay). With 15MM it would be kicking off 126K PC's a year. Of that, you would get 50% payout for duration of the POA program (lasts 5 years total).... Your gross income would be 63K, then taxes reduce it down to your net take home.... The important thing is to hit your quarterly hurdles and make your bonuses, and to constantly build your pipeline so when your salary starts going away, you have a ton of business coming in the door and ready to act...... Think of your 2 year salary as a cushion and a chance for you to ramp up your actitivites.... when you come off salary, you hit the ground sprinting....

May 11, 2006 10:59 am

Pull off the impossible (graduate POA) and you are making 50-60k.

May 11, 2006 11:22 am
blarmston:

Lets assume you bring in 15MM in 2 years (the official requirement but my director says you need at least 20). .


They still giving out the bonus checks for hitting hurdles (I think I got a total of $23k during the process) and the extra visits to <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Princeton? Aside from the constant emphasis on “selling sizzle” which I found cheesy, I thought the program was good. <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


I still pull out the training tapes they made of my presentations at the campus every few years at parties for some laughs at my expense. Is the heavy-set woman (name forgotten) who won some cash on a game show still working the program?


May 11, 2006 12:33 pm

"Pull off the impossible (graduate POA) and you are making 50-60k"


Scorp- love the attitude... Glad you arent in the office next to me... People here who come in to complain and bitch are met with a throw from a MetLife football... Some duck in time, most dont.... Either way, I dont have time for that $hit...<?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />

May 12, 2006 11:14 am
mikebutler222:
blarmston:

Lets assume you bring in 15MM in 2 years (the official requirement but my director says you need at least 20). .


They still giving out the bonus checks for hitting hurdles (I think I got a total of $23k during the process) and the extra visits to <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Princeton? Aside from the constant emphasis on “selling sizzle” which I found cheesy, I thought the program was good. <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


I still pull out the training tapes they made of my presentations at the campus every few years at parties for some laughs at my expense. Is the heavy-set woman (name forgotten) who won some cash on a game show still working the program?






Does anyone know what the bonuses are like now for hitting your goals?

May 12, 2006 2:39 pm

Yeah - if you hit all your hurdles, the bonuses amount to $12,500 over
the course of the two years, followed by a POA graduation bonus of
$5,000 in cash and $25,000 in MER stock.



If you complete POA in 12 months, the graduation bonus is 25k in cash and 100k in stock. (stock vests after 8 years). 

May 13, 2006 12:37 am
blarmston:

With 15MM it would be kicking off 126K PC's a year. Of that, you would get 50% payout for duration of the POA program (lasts 5 years total).... Your gross income would be 63K, then taxes reduce it down to your net take home....


50% For 5 Years?  Really?  That's really good.  Our guys get 50% on just some of the revenue and it only lasts 2 years.

May 13, 2006 11:56 am

I think he might be mistaken...I was under the impression it only lasts for the two years, and its only on annuitized business.

May 13, 2006 3:53 pm

Are there any other goals besides the asset goals? (15MM)


If you hit your asset goals, is that all that matters?

May 13, 2006 4:50 pm

"Are there any other goals besides the asset goals? (15MM) If you hit your asset goals, is that all that matters?"


Yes.... We need to make our goals to stay in the game.... Also, its crucial to have a massive pipeline of people who you been prospecting during the first two years... Some of these whales will finally hit and that will boost your numbers....

May 13, 2006 6:17 pm

Sorry for asking that general question...What I was trying to get at are there any other "goals" during the first 2 years, or is it only asset goals? (ex: certain number of clients, certain number of plans, etc...)

May 14, 2006 2:11 pm

There is a goal of "planning points" that you get every time you use
the Wealth Management software on somebody...its not a tough goal
because you're using it all the time on your prospects
(hopefully).  Plus you can make people up to get more points...



Also, your 15MM needs to be 80% annuitized in order to graduate POA;
otherwise there is a production requirement (175,000 production credits
over the two years I think).  

May 15, 2006 3:11 pm

How does this compare to what Morgan STanley has in place right now? In terms of production and asset goals, annuitized assets, and salary and payouts? Tracking and accountability stuff?


And what things does a MS trainee have to complete before getting his production number? (is it the same as at ML? Series 7 & 66 exams, state Life Agent exam for doing variable annuities, HS328 Investments course --1st module of the CFP exam-- and 1 or 2 Assessments or practice role plays)<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Curious Editor for RR.


May 18, 2006 6:48 pm
Scorpio:

Plus you can make people up to get more

points...







I would fire you if I could.

May 18, 2006 7:09 pm

oh big ml manager!! I'm scared.