Merrill lynch interview

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Dec 6, 2005 2:30 am

I need some serious advice. I am currently with a small regional firm, but I am interviewing with Merrill Lynch. I called the director out of the blue and he gave me an interview then he wanted me to interview with sales manager of 3 offices which I did, and then I was interviewed by four other advisors at a branch, now he wants to meet with another sales manager, so overall I have interviewed with 6 people going on 7. I really want to work for Merrill and I have made it clear to them that I want this job very badly. Has anyone experience the same type of process? What should I be expecting in this interview, any opinion helps.


Thanx

Dec 6, 2005 5:40 am

ML is growing its sales force aggressively, while many other firms are
stagnant or decreasing.  They are, however, a little pickey about
who they hire.  This process is normal, especially for a
transferring rep as their will be quite an investment in you, one that
will take a few years to pan out to a profit.



ML wants people willing to embrace a total planning practice, and
willing to use the many tools ML has recently invested in.  They
want people with no dings on their record, and people with the
resources and will to GROW!



They are not ken on people wanting to take a check and sail out in the final years of their career.

Dec 6, 2005 8:49 am

I had a similar situation, except I had no prior experience in this business.  I ended up interviewing with a total of four people, taking a 1.5-hour test, and was placed in front of a panel before I was made an offer. 


Looking back on everything, I definitely understand (as rightway pointed out) the firm's desire to approach things from all angles and to make sure it's worth their time and resources to offer you a job.  However, during the whole process, which took about a month and a half, I was thinking to myself, "Will this ever end?!?"


Best of luck!

Dec 6, 2005 9:50 am
rightway:

ML is growing its sales force aggressively, while many other firms are stagnant or decreasing. 


Rightway, not that it matters, but I thought the MER sales force growth has been pretty stagnant.  It seems like they've had about the same # of reps over the past several years (around 14,000), down from the tech market highs of 16,000 or so?  The Advest purchase will help some to add to growth, but almost half of the 500 or so Advest reps apparently have already decided to go elsewhere.

Dec 7, 2005 8:23 am

DukeDude-



Your right.



They fired a butt load a few years back...so the growth I am talking
about is from 2003.  I think we are up around 5% in numbers of
advisors this year.  But from our peak...you are correct.  As
a firm, we are really trying to grow the sales force.  If you look
at the existing sales force you can understand why we are trying to
grow quickly, and the opportunities this fine firm offers the right
young people is unbelievable.

Dec 7, 2005 8:30 am

They are not pickey on the east coast. I know a bunch of young professionals who they hired. Like everyone else it seems there is a lot of turnover.


I think ML is a solid firm with a lot to offer, but when you say sales people... I know this career is all about sales and brining in the money, but what do you mean sales people? They are pushing a strong marketing pitch to the public so they have a lot of young agressive new people selling ML?

Dec 7, 2005 2:53 pm

Shushtar-



As a headhunter, I've arranged a lot of interviews with ML.  The
number of interviews you're experiencing is above average, but not
uncommon. 



Be patient and keep in mind that they expect you to interview them,
too.  Ask questions and make sure that this is the right firm for
you.



Duke, Rightway-



ML has grown in net headcount the past two years, and I hear they plan to continue growing in 2006.

Dec 8, 2005 7:24 am

Your training on the markets will consist of watching Bloomberg.  I hope you know your stuff.  Good luck.  

Dec 9, 2005 7:19 am
Scorpio:

Your training on the markets will consist of watching
Bloomberg.  I hope you know your stuff.  Good luck.  





This may vary district by district and office by office.  In our
office, we have quite vigerous training regime.  We have weekly
1.5 Hour meetings where formal trainng takes place, training that is
geared to planning, investments, markets, economy, etc.  
They are NOT run by wholesalers, but rather ourselves or other
specialists.  Our POA coaches go through completely separate
classes learning how to train. 



People interviewing should ask details about their training if that is a concern to them.



With all of that, it is the resposibility of the new advisor to reach
out ask if he or she see's areas they desire or need extra help...they
are not allowed to stare at the computer all day.

Dec 9, 2005 8:06 am

Why would you want to work for that broker mill?

Dec 9, 2005 11:39 am

As Rightway indicated, the training truly come sdown to the complex level. Our POA coach has a 2 hour meeting every Tuesday, and our complex director runs a 2 hour meeting on friday mornings. Every 2 months, we have a 5 hour training on saturday mornings. That, plus the extensive online training that is available if desired, can get you quicjkly up to speed on specific isuues, strategies, preoducts, etc, that you want info on...

Dec 9, 2005 7:04 pm

I joined Merrill some time ago and subsequently left to accept a dream job I had wanted for years, that became available unexpectedly.


The job required a major relocation (1800 miles) and the sale of  my home.  After 8 months of my home not selling and paying living expenses in two states, I make the difficult decision to go home. 


Although I was offered the opportunity to return to my position with my former Merrill Lynch branch...it was specifically because of the LACK of the kind of training Rightway & blamston describe in their branches, that I declined the offer and accepted a position with another MAJOR wirehouse.


My current manager is dedicated ONLY to managing...he has no personal book.  He has a strong record of success with retention of new FAs.  The training with my company has been thorough and included 17 weeks in-branch and 3 intense weeks at a national training center. (Since I had my 7 & 66 already, my in branch was only 7 weeks and 3 weeks at the National Training Center.)


I received my production number today and my training ends on     12-16.  I will be "live" on 12-19-05.


Again and again the lesson is simple...it is not THE COMPANY but the local BRANCH that will determine your success. That and the determination to succeed.


Good Luck and I hope everyone has a propserous 2006.


Merry Christmas!


Dec 10, 2005 12:44 am

Sounds like a good deal and your happy. Congrats

Dec 10, 2005 8:10 am
ezmoney:

Why would you want to work for that broker mill?





I worked my first 10 years in a bank, so I had none of this sort of
training or "Broker Mill" experience.  The reality is, though EZ,
is that when done properly, this training is extremely valuable. 
Our new people need to have their Series 7, 66, Insurance Licenses, the
investment module of their CFP completed and 2 face to face Assessment
Tests (1 hour panel test covering product, planning, pricing,etc...)
completed in their 1st 17 weeks.  By the end of Year 1 they need
15m in AUM, and a miriad of other goals hit, all along with the
training Blarm and I mentioned.  Typing it it does sound like a
bit of a mill, but in the end as as an FA, if you make it, you are very
well rounded, making over 100K by the end of year 2, and most have
their CFP and/or CIMA by year 3.



Now as for the training- we stress it is not all about sales...as it
was at my bank when I started.  We really focus on the deep
planning issues, which is shy our complex has over 75% success rate In
the last few years.  We have a few guys that came from other
industries completely (Pharma slaes, beer sales, software eng.) that
are all doing over $500K in production and next year will be their 4th.




Full disclosure:  This is just in my complex.  As FinPlnPro
indicated, this is NOT the case everywhere.  We have 2
non-producing managers, 1 producing managers, 2 coaches, and a
mentors.  Not all places focus on new FA's like we are.



EZ- as for why?  For me...I surpassed my very best year at the
bank by 60%, my retirement funds have tripled, I do more and better
work for clients, I work less, I make more, and my life is 100%
better. 

Dec 10, 2005 2:05 pm

I guess it does depend on the branch, because the "training" at my
branch consists of 1 hour a week of sales training.  The
pre-number trainees get an additional hour each week of product
training.  There is absolutely no mention at any time about what
is currently happening in the market, where it is likely to go, what
the fed is going to do etc...you are entirely on your own to figure
that out.  So the Bloomberg babes are largely responsible for my
market training. 



At ML you dont get training at the corporate headquarters unless you
are a "diverse" employee...aka black, hispanic.  Their diversity
campaign completely discriminates against white people.  Manager
bonuses are tied to the number of minority employees they have on
board, so if a white guy and a black guy are equally behind on their
numbers and someone needs to get canned, the white guy is getting
Lynched everytime.  



Blacks even get leads and additional support in the form of conferences
and other events.  Whites are hung out to dry on their own. 
Wait, what skin color is Stan O'Neal again??  hmm...



(To all you ML FA's who want to dispute this, there was just an article
last week on the worldnet homepage that outlined all this. check it
out.)

     

Dec 10, 2005 3:52 pm

Scorpio,


ML is not the only wirehouse who heavily promotes "diversity."  It is a common practice today...whether is favoring minorities or female brokers.  It is also rampant in other sements of the financial services industry...insurance, regionals, etc.  Verify this with the next recruiter you speak to.


Some of it is just recognition of prior sins.  Much of it however, smacks of PC'ness.


Your comment rearding discrimination against whites, while true, will get no traction with anyone today.  The world is still convinced white males have all the advantages...whether that is true or not.


All you can do is make sure your numbers surpass the benchmark...then it doesn't matter how much others are being favored...justly or otherwise.


Stay Strong...


Dec 10, 2005 6:40 pm

"So the Bloomberg babes are largely responsible for my market training"


Ahhh yes.... I love it when I am slurping on a Starbucks at 6:30am and I hear Julie Hyman reporting from the NYSE... One click and I am staring at beauty... Gets me going in the morning... Then late night, I love that Haslinda Aman from Asia. Both are very "talented" reporters who do a fine job of reporting the news.. At least I think thats what theyre doing. Honestly, I dont hear a word they say. I just stare...

Dec 10, 2005 10:02 pm

Right did you go INDY? Sounds like a termendous training program.


Scorpio that is the way of the land. Not fair at all. Right now there is a big push for hispanic professionals/employees by our government. They did help GW so maybe that is part of the reason... No its actually population... Highest % minority, but low employment.


I wonder if Jessy Jackson had something to do with ML? He pushed a lot of companies to focus on minorities and pay his conections fortunes... Of course he gets a kick..


Anyone see Leiberman getting all the republican votes... 

Dec 11, 2005 8:44 am
executivejock:

Right did you go INDY? Sounds like a termendous training program.


Scorpio that is the way of the land. Not fair at all. Right now
there is a big push for hispanic professionals/employees by
our government. They did help GW so maybe that is part of the
reason... No its actually population... Highest % minority, but
low employment.


I wonder if Jessy Jackson had something to do with ML? He pushed a
lot of companies to focus on minorities and pay his conections
fortunes... Of course he gets a kick..


Anyone see Leiberman getting all the republican votes... 





No Indy.  I just took over the training program for my complex in
2002.  I got the ideas, however, from other offices, Princeton
(HQ), and CFP training material.

Dec 11, 2005 11:31 am

rightway:



I worked my first 10 years in a bank, so I had none of this sort of training or "Broker Mill" experience.  The reality is, though EZ, is that when done properly, this training is extremely valuable.  Our new people need to have their Series 7, 66, Insurance Licenses, the investment module of their CFP completed and 2 face to face Assessment Tests (1 hour panel test covering product, planning, pricing,etc...) completed in their 1st 17 weeks. 


---------------------------------------------------


Wow, all that in 17 weeks?