Ml / mssb / ubs?

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Aug 8, 2011 11:46 am

I am leaving the bank for either Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, or UBS.  I'm in my mid 20's and have been licensed for 3 years.  My trailing 12 at the bank is 320k and yet my book is only 13mm.  I gathered 100% of that 13mm in the last year and 3 months starting from zero.  Prior to that our bank was sold and our books left with the sale.  I did all of this while opening checking accounts and selling home equity loans.  The book is all A shares and VA's.  I recognize that after 3 years I'm really in no better position career wise than when I started.  I have, however, gained a lot of sales experience.  320k in production is surprisingly the second best production company wide out of a little over 100 reps.  I know it seems low but anyone good ends up leaving (like me).  I made 90k last year (salary + 15% comm) and that upsets me because I won every award and trip my little bank has to offer.  We have no fee-based options.  Only A shares, VA's, and Fixed Annuities (which I don't sell).

I've talked to Merrill and MSSB.  They both seem fantastic and want to put me through their training programs.  I've only had one introductory meeting with each of the managers so I don't know the details of the program or compensation.  I'm hoping someone here can give me insight.  The UBS office is in the better location but I haven't had the same eagerness from their manager as I have from ML and MSSB.  Should I even consider UBS in my situation?

I want to build a fee-based business.  I just feel right about doing it that way but I have concerns about hitting the production numbers (due to lack of large up-front hit) building this way duing the training programs.  Are either of the training programs better suited for someone wanting to build fee-based?

Also, while I know it really make no difference to my success, I'm a technology snob.  What is the computer situation at these three firms?  PC in the office?  Laptops? Any remote login options?  I also desperatly need to use a CRM system to stay organized.  What CRM programs do thse firms use?  I heard ML uses salesforce.  Is this true?

Thoughts would be appreciated.

Aug 8, 2011 9:28 pm

Yes, ML uses SF, but it's a dumbed down version. Much of the ability customize and do things for yourself, like upload lists has been taken away. Bandwidth in my ML office is generally about dial-up speed. ML does not let noob's do remote login. I've only seen one exception to that.

I have no idea who's training program is best. You'd need direct experience to judge that. I can tell you that each company will claim to have "the best training in the industry." That's cut from the same cloth as real estate agents who say "there's never been a better time to buy." It's just what everybody says.

Good luck.

Aug 8, 2011 10:32 pm

Thanks for the info on the tech situation at ML.  What you're saying is about what I suspected.

With my experience and production I talk about above (however limited it may be) what type of salary would be reasonable for me to ask for at ML or MSSB?

Is it true that UBS has no training program with a short term salary?

Meeting with the two managers, it felt as though ML was a little more "old school" meaning your traditional stockbroker type guys that seem to be building individual bond and equity portfolios the same way they have for the past 20 years.  Nothing wrong with this but just the impression I got.  I could be wrong.  Is this an office to office type thing or is there something different about the general culture at ML compared to MSSB (legacy smith barney office)?

Can anyone speak to production hurdle differences at the two firms if trying to build a fee based book?  FYI my business plan will be cold calling business owners and residences for appointments not on product.

Aug 8, 2011 11:47 pm

[quote=WiredAndReady]

Thanks for the info on the tech situation at ML.  What you're saying is about what I suspected.

With my experience and production I talk about above (however limited it may be) what type of salary would be reasonable for me to ask for at ML or MSSB?

ML will try and get you to take a salary between $35-50K. That is their comfort range. You can get a higher one (I did) but you have to present a plausible business reason for them to do so.

Is it true that UBS has no training program with a short term salary?

No idea.

Meeting with the two managers, it felt as though ML was a little more "old school" meaning your traditional stockbroker type guys that seem to be building individual bond and equity portfolios the same way they have for the past 20 years.  Nothing wrong with this but just the impression I got.  I could be wrong.  Is this an office to office type thing or is there something different about the general culture at ML compared to MSSB (legacy smith barney office)?

I have no idea what the culture is at MSSB. At ML people can do what they want. While someone may be building a bond or equity portfolio they may be doing it inside a wrap.

Can anyone speak to production hurdle differences at the two firms if trying to build a fee based book?  FYI my business plan will be cold calling business owners and residences for appointments not on product.

With all due respect until you start making calls you have no idea what will work. You may surprise yourself. At ML you will have to build an annuitized book as part of your hurdles but you will also have to do some serious production which won't come through the annuitiziation of your book. So, you have to find a way to both or you get the boot.

Anyone at ML that you speak with that came into the program more than about 5 years ago came into a different set-up.

[/quote]

Aug 9, 2011 12:06 am

It's going to be rough leaving the bank unless I can find at least 60k salary to get started.  Just after the initial meetings they sounded somewhat impressed with my bank production (I was surpised by this) and pretty eager to move forward.  Hopefully 60k won't be a problem.

You confirmed what I thought... you have to have some nice uprofont commission hits to compliment building an annuitized book.  To me it makes sense to cold call pitching bonds for part of the day and coldcalling for appointments (retirment income review, second oppinion, etc...) for the other part of the day.

I really have no idea what portion of my book will come over with me.  The relationships are only about a year old at best.   At the bank I seem to be the second advisor to a lot of very wealthy people.  Not the ideal position to be in...

Anyone from MSSB have thoughts on building an annuitized book from the start?

Aug 9, 2011 10:04 am

For what it's worth, from my interviews at ML, I understood that with a higher salary come higher hurdles.  So it made sense (to me at least) to take a lower salary with the lower hurdles, have a better chance to make the goals, keep your job and make a little extra money on top of your "salary" along with it.

Sep 20, 2011 7:22 pm

[quote=Newbie x2]

For what it's worth, from my interviews at ML, I understood that with a higher salary come higher hurdles.  So it made sense (to me at least) to take a lower salary with the lower hurdles, have a better chance to make the goals, keep your job and make a little extra money on top of your "salary" along with it.

[/quote]

Aug 10, 2011 8:34 am

Wired,

The technology at ML is the best I've seen anywhere. But honestly, it doesn't impact how you'll do as an advisor.  Without exception, it will make no difference at all. 

Congrats on your success at the bank.  However, please be aware that it is much, much harder to raise that type of money and produce that revenue at a wirehouse.  I merged into Merrill from Bank of America and I can see that there is a big difference in the ability to raise assets.  Raising $1mm of new money/month is common in many bank programs, regardless of LOS (length of service).  However, it's very difficult to do at a wirehouse, especially as a PMD (Merrill Lynch trainee).

I also find that success at a bank program does not translate into success at a wirehouse (and vice versa).  They use two entirely different skill sets.  Bank FA's (which I was one for over a decade) are working with warm leads that are already customers of the bank.  It has its own challenges because bank customers tend to be much more conservative than wirehouse customers.  Wirehouse FA's have to prospect with cold leads, and the rejection rate is very high.  I came into Merrill with my Bank of America book of clients intact (+$100mm) so I haven't had to gather new clients.  However, I am sure that I, along with several other successful bank FAs, would not make it through the PMD program without our bank book.  I've seen how hard the PMDs work and the effort that goes into getting new clients.  With my bank background, I would miss every hurdle.

If you've been successful at a bank, I think a better move would be to go to a larger bank program that can put you on a grid and will have the fee-based platform that you are looking for.

Aug 10, 2011 9:54 am

BACFA,

I understand that technology makes no difference to my success. I said as much is my first post.

So I've been licensed working at a bank for three years now.  I will not continue to build a book and a career at a bank. It's a continuous cylce of ever-changing ridiculousness.  At one point no "in branch" advisor could touch qualified money.  It had to be referred to a regional advisor.  It didn't matter if it was a 20k IRA or a 500k rollover, I had to refer it out.  That didn't last long but it was ridiculous.  At another point, we were bought but the bank loans and investment assets went to another bank.  Entire book instantly vanished.  100% gone.  I got some back but our jobs were threatened if we solicited them back.  It was crazy.  At another point the regional bank manager met with me and told me that my branch manager was upset because I made more than him the last quarter and it really didn't help anyone for me to do more than 200% of goal.  I was instructed to "settle" down and focus more on lending and less on investments.

I am completely aware that it is going to be 10x harder at the wirehouse than it is at the bank.  I accept that.  But at the same time, in the past year (when we all had to start from scratch) I simply blew the pants off all my peers.  Gathering 13mm in a year starting from scratch may not be a ton but I still think it's significant.  Couple that with the fact that I only sold A shares to extremely conservative bank customers and no fixed annuities like every other bank rep.   I've seen a few lesser bank peers leave the bank and have some success.  I know that if anyone can make the transition, I can.  I'm not delusional and think a good portion of my book will follow.  I'm not delusional and think I have some fantastic natural market or that I can network my way to success.  I understand I am going to have to call lists day after day for years asking for sales and appointments.  I know my skill-set and success is inevitable if I just never stop prospecting.  If I stop prospecting (calling) I know I'm screwed.  I won't let that happen.

Aug 10, 2011 1:01 pm

If I could reach out the computer and shake you to stay put I would.  Yes, you have extremely valid points why bank programs are ridiculous.  They are controlling, they make changes when they want to, and they also have few choices and strategies available.  The big BUT is that you have a comfy salary with warm nice people to easily sell to. 

What you don't understand is the difference between talking and selling to those who want to talk to you (at the bank), and those who don't want anything to do with you (wirehouse).  Starting from scratch at a wire has to be the hardest task to take on right now.  Everyone underestimates how little business owners and people want to talk to a younger FA.  The people you are calling are being blown up all day every day, coldwalked on by every salesmen, and haggled to no end.  I don't care if you're the smartest FA on the planet, 99% of the people will blow you off.

So now lets get to the 1% of the people who will talk with you.  To get any real money it takes time.  You have to develop the relationship.  You have to be able to address their concerns. You have to get to know them so they trust you.  Guess what's the only thing you don't have at a wire?  Time. 

Do people make it from scratch at wire?  Of course.  Have I seen it personally?  Not even close.  The only person I know of, who is in a different area, made it with tons of help (missed hurdles along the way) and is now a 150K producer after 4 years.  That is the best I've heard from scratch and he makes $50K a year after calling, scraping, and clawing for over 4 years!  You said you made over $100k after 1 year at the bank?  

To be clear, if you can take a bunch of clients from the bank or you have family money who will move, it is a totally different story.  The goals are laughable for FA's with existing books or strong networks already.  This is all coming from someone with no network, no family money, and who has seen a lot of career changers and newbies struggle and eventually let go (a lot). 

I cringe when hearing people who leave a $100k+ job for "something better" or "more freedom" that wire FA's have.  Please just understand that the Training Program FA's and the Grid FA's couldn't be more different from what you would expect. 

Aug 10, 2011 2:53 pm

tke1600,

What's your background and experience?  I'm just curious as to the point of view you are coming from.

As far as staying at the bank... I'm just scared that I'll close my eyes and wake up in 10 years in my mid 30's in that same cubicle running teller pep meetings every wednesday and fighting with management about why I don't write loans.  I just want something more than that.  If I stayed at the bank I could get hired as one of the regional advisors.  I could make this happen next week if I wanted.  That's a management position where I would run around "coaching" 4-6 bank reps and living and dying primarily by their production.  Not something I want either.  I'd rather gag myself.  Also, if I have to ask permission to go get lunch anymore I think I might scream.  I've been able to mold my position to my liking as far as it can go.   There is just no future for me there.  Should I wait around and hope they implement some type of fee-based or wrap program?  Should I wait around and see if they let me sell individual equities and bonds if I feel it's appropriate?  I don't want to try and build something and then have it ripped from me again.

Also, almost none of my business comes from in bank referrals.  YES they are bank customers but I call them.  I understand these warm calls make a huge difference but it's all about the numbers right?  For the past year I've run 3-6 appts per day every day no matter what.  Between the appointments I have to find the time to do stupid bank stuff and also make about 50-75 dials a day.  Those dials yield me about 3-6 appts.  I have to run so many appointments because the accounts I open are small and getting paid out at 15% I have to open a lot of accounts to make any money.  Like I said before,  I don't think I could take most of my clients with me because their "real" advisor is some independent or wirehouse guy.  I've kept up this insane activity level for the past year and I've had good relative results.  

The way I see it (correct me if I'm wrong), is that I have proven sales abilities and people tend to trust me even though I am relatively young.  The only variable or unknown is the ammount of dials or prospecting approaches I'm willing to make when I go to a wire.  300-400 dials a day will ensure success given my established baseline skills.  That is the only variable I can control. Dials.  I know it's easier said than done but will someone sit here and tell me that if I do make those dials every day that there is still a good chance I will fail?

Aug 10, 2011 3:41 pm

[quote=WiredAndReady]

I know it's easier said than done but will someone sit here and tell me that if I do make those dials every day that there is still a good chance I will fail?

[/quote]

Great question that I've been wondering about alot myself.  I'm completely oversimplifying, but it seems that with anyone I've talked to about being an FA, they all have the same theme that it's unbearably hard work, but if you can do it, you'll succeed.  It's as if your ability to tolerate pain is an indicator of success. 

Aug 10, 2011 3:45 pm

[quote=WiredAndReady]

tke1600,

What's your background and experience?  I'm just curious as to the point of view you are coming from.

As far as staying at the bank... I'm just scared that I'll close my eyes and wake up in 10 years in my mid 30's in that same cubicle running teller pep meetings every wednesday and fighting with management about why I don't write loans.  I just want something more than that.  If I stayed at the bank I could get hired as one of the regional advisors.  I could make this happen next week if I wanted.  That's a management position where I would run around "coaching" 4-6 bank reps and living and dying primarily by their production.  Not something I want either.  I'd rather gag myself.  Also, if I have to ask permission to go get lunch anymore I think I might scream.  I've been able to mold my position to my liking as far as it can go.   There is just no future for me there.  Should I wait around and hope they implement some type of fee-based or wrap program?  Should I wait around and see if they let me sell individual equities and bonds if I feel it's appropriate?  I don't want to try and build something and then have it ripped from me again.

Also, almost none of my business comes from in bank referrals.  YES they are bank customers but I call them.  I understand these warm calls make a huge difference but it's all about the numbers right?  For the past year I've run 3-6 appts per day every day no matter what.  Between the appointments I have to find the time to do stupid bank stuff and also make about 50-75 dials a day.  Those dials yield me about 3-6 appts.  I have to run so many appointments because the accounts I open are small and getting paid out at 15% I have to open a lot of accounts to make any money.  Like I said before,  I don't think I could take most of my clients with me because their "real" advisor is some independent or wirehouse guy.  I've kept up this insane activity level for the past year and I've had good relative results.  

The way I see it (correct me if I'm wrong), is that I have proven sales abilities and people tend to trust me even though I am relatively young.  The only variable or unknown is the ammount of dials or prospecting approaches I'm willing to make when I go to a wire.  300-400 dials a day will ensure success given my established baseline skills.  That is the only variable I can control. Dials.  I know it's easier said than done but will someone sit here and tell me that if I do make those dials every day that there is still a good chance I will fail?

[/quote]

My background is a newbie at a wire with over 1.5 years in 2 different programs.  Enough time to see tons fail and struggle, including myself. 

The thing about 300-400 dials a day, is that it won't work for a newbie building a fee based business.  Anyone who is successfully calling that much is calling on product all over the US.  They are not going on appoinments because their business is setup to be transactional and mostly over the phone.

I have experience with this because I've called for months on 200-300+ dials a day.  You run out of qualified numbers that are close enough to meet you.  I'm in a huge area and I found myself going through lists quickly, much too quickly to keep calling the same ones back.  There are just tons of people and owners you will never get a hold of, screened from, and then tons who will tell you to pound sound and never call again.  Good luck calling scrubbed home #'s during the day. Again, if you have the whole nation to call, then I totally agree with 400 dials a day pitching bonds, etc, but that is a different business model than you and I are discussing. 

Obviously take my experience with a grain of salt.  The main point is that for every FA who succeeds with all these odds against them, there a 19 who fail.  In your case you are risking a $90k job, tenure, and a chance to move to a Regional position.  That is a big opportunity cost to take on a much riskier role in becoming a trainee at a wire. 

My advice would be much different to someone who has no job, no kids, etc, becuase what they are giving up is not much compared to someone like you.  You are in great shape where you are, and could probably find a better bank program that fits more what you are looking for.  You will never have the freedom like a wire or indy, but that freedom has to be earned.  With your production, it would be much better to work out a way to "go to lunch on your own time", then to trade everything you have for a mighty big shot in the dark.

Aug 10, 2011 4:09 pm

tke1600,

I appreciate your thoughts from someone currently going through this.

I live in a metro area with about 2,000,000 people so running out of people in the area to call can never be an excuse for me.

When you were making 200-300 for months, what were you're results.  What lists did you use? Hours called? Approximate contact ratio?  Follow up process? Calling with product or for appointment?

It doesn't sound like it worked for you so I want to make sure it's something I avoid when I start.  Are you still in a program but struggling or have they given you the boot (no shame in that)?

Aug 10, 2011 5:27 pm

[quote=WiredAndReady]

tke1600,

I appreciate your thoughts from someone currently going through this.

I live in a metro area with about 2,000,000 people so running out of people in the area to call can never be an excuse for me.

When you were making 200-300 for months, what were you're results.  What lists did you use? Hours called? Approximate contact ratio?  Follow up process? Calling with product or for appointment?

It doesn't sound like it worked for you so I want to make sure it's something I avoid when I start.  Are you still in a program but struggling or have they given you the boot (no shame in that)?

[/quote]

My experience is based on roughly 20,000 calls in 2011 so far, almost all to business owners.  Reference USA to narrow down to certain metro areas and revenue minimums.  I call on product but take converstaions in all directions based on needs.  50 calls an hour average.  Call or email pipeline every week. Results are a few clients, a pipeline, and a mighty tough road ahead.  I'm more looking at the struggle that this will take to hit year 1, 2 and 3 hurdles, and also make a livable wage when salary is reduced.  It is insanely hard put in this perspective.   

You might have 2,000,000 people in your area, but you have to find and get ahold of the qualified people.  And remember not a single one of these people want anything to do with you.  For example, when I filter the criteria for within 30 miles and revenue minimums, I only end up with a few thousand numbers.  That is what I am trying to get across.  People that you call that you can physically meet and have appointments with.  Obviously, If you go out of your immediate area there are endless amounts of new dials you can make.

Listen, I'm not saying you couldn't pull it off.  Many have.  It's just the toughest road at the wires with high goals, short time frames, and yes we still have mandatory meetings, calls, and paperwork that get in the way of production hours.  With your current situation, I would strongly advise leaving a good thing for a wire training program.  You would really be putting yourself in a tough spot compared to what you have now.  I wouldn't be surprised if you were kicking yourself just a few months in when the reality of cold calling sets in, and it would already be too late.  That is what is so tough.  People never know what they are getting into until it is too late.  Most people that I know came into the business with not much to lose, so failing wasn't as devastating. 

I strongly advise against leaving a good job and taking a pay cut for the training program if you need to start from scratch.  That is all I'm trying to get at based on my experience.  You can listen to a recruiter, listen to hiring and branch managers, or you can listen to people like me.  All I'm trying to do is talk about the fine print that no one will tell you.     

Remember, a bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. 

Aug 10, 2011 6:50 pm

[quote=WiredAndReady]

BACFA,

I understand that technology makes no difference to my success. I said as much is my first post.

So I've been licensed working at a bank for three years now.  I will not continue to build a book and a career at a bank. It's a continuous cylce of ever-changing ridiculousness.  At one point no "in branch" advisor could touch qualified money.  It had to be referred to a regional advisor.  It didn't matter if it was a 20k IRA or a 500k rollover, I had to refer it out.  That didn't last long but it was ridiculous.  At another point, we were bought but the bank loans and investment assets went to another bank.  Entire book instantly vanished.  100% gone.  I got some back but our jobs were threatened if we solicited them back.  It was crazy.  At another point the regional bank manager met with me and told me that my branch manager was upset because I made more than him the last quarter and it really didn't help anyone for me to do more than 200% of goal.  I was instructed to "settle" down and focus more on lending and less on investments.

I am completely aware that it is going to be 10x harder at the wirehouse than it is at the bank.  I accept that.  But at the same time, in the past year (when we all had to start from scratch) I simply blew the pants off all my peers.  Gathering 13mm in a year starting from scratch may not be a ton but I still think it's significant.  Couple that with the fact that I only sold A shares to extremely conservative bank customers and no fixed annuities like every other bank rep.   I've seen a few lesser bank peers leave the bank and have some success.  I know that if anyone can make the transition, I can.  I'm not delusional and think a good portion of my book will follow.  I'm not delusional and think I have some fantastic natural market or that I can network my way to success.  I understand I am going to have to call lists day after day for years asking for sales and appointments.  I know my skill-set and success is inevitable if I just never stop prospecting.  If I stop prospecting (calling) I know I'm screwed.  I won't let that happen.

[/quote]

You are ill prepared for what awaits you at ML in the PMD program. BACFA is giving you straight unfiltered data. Gathering 13MM in one year at bank means little for where you are headed.

Let me give you a number. I'm in the middle salary bracket in the PMD program. My goals are higher than the bracket below me and lower  than the one above me. At the end of 3 years and 4 months of being released to sell my end hurdle is $8MM in the type of assets you are describing. (Net new money that is annuitized.)

Quintile two, if my memory serves, is around $20MM.

If you want to give this a try you should go for it, but I offer a 100% money-back guarantee that you are walking into something that is very little like what you've experienced.

IMO a better option would be to find an RIA or indy who would let you apprentice under them.

Also, IMO, you aren't jumping from the frying pan into the fire with this move but you are jumping from one frying pan to another.

As for BACFA's take on the software, I will say that multi-year vets at FA who have come from another firm say the same thing he/she is saying.

Aug 10, 2011 6:57 pm

[quote=tke1600]

If I could reach out the computer and shake you to stay put I would.  Yes, you have extremely valid points why bank programs are ridiculous.  They are controlling, they make changes when they want to, and they also have few choices and strategies available.  The big BUT is that you have a comfy salary with warm nice people to easily sell to. 

What you don't understand is the difference between talking and selling to those who want to talk to you (at the bank), and those who don't want anything to do with you (wirehouse).  Starting from scratch at a wire has to be the hardest task to take on right now.  Everyone underestimates how little business owners and people want to talk to a younger FA.  The people you are calling are being blown up all day every day, coldwalked on by every salesmen, and haggled to no end.  I don't care if you're the smartest FA on the planet, 99% of the people will blow you off.

So now lets get to the 1% of the people who will talk with you.  To get any real money it takes time.  You have to develop the relationship.  You have to be able to address their concerns. You have to get to know them so they trust you.  Guess what's the only thing you don't have at a wire?  Time. 

Do people make it from scratch at wire?  Of course.  Have I seen it personally?  Not even close.  The only person I know of, who is in a different area, made it with tons of help (missed hurdles along the way) and is now a 150K producer after 4 years.  That is the best I've heard from scratch and he makes $50K a year after calling, scraping, and clawing for over 4 years!  You said you made over $100k after 1 year at the bank?  

To be clear, if you can take a bunch of clients from the bank or you have family money who will move, it is a totally different story.  The goals are laughable for FA's with existing books or strong networks already.  This is all coming from someone with no network, no family money, and who has seen a lot of career changers and newbies struggle and eventually let go (a lot). 

I cringe when hearing people who leave a $100k+ job for "something better" or "more freedom" that wire FA's have.  Please just understand that the Training Program FA's and the Grid FA's couldn't be more different from what you would expect. 

[/quote]

Wired, this is the best advice you are going to get. Each of us believes we are the exception. We've never failed at anything we've tried.

The wires depend on this kind of arrogance. This is their employment pool.

Most of us picture ourselves a reincarnation of Gordon Gekko. We're more like the reincarnation of Daffy Duck. Lot's of bluster but "backers downers" in the end.

I echo what you are being told here about making it from scratch. I've asked around our branch and no one who has an income you would aspire to has made it from scratch. They either teamed with someone early on or they were in the right place at the right time and picked up enough accounts to keep body and soul together.

We have three experienced FA's in our branch who don't even break $60K in gross income. They have the suits. They have a nice car. But, it aint' from their FA income. I know one has a wife who brings home the bacon.

Aug 10, 2011 6:59 pm

[quote=WiredAndReady]

tke1600,

What's your background and experience?  I'm just curious as to the point of view you are coming from.

As far as staying at the bank... I'm just scared that I'll close my eyes and wake up in 10 years in my mid 30's in that same cubicle running teller pep meetings every wednesday and fighting with management about why I don't write loans.  I just want something more than that.  If I stayed at the bank I could get hired as one of the regional advisors.  I could make this happen next week if I wanted.  That's a management position where I would run around "coaching" 4-6 bank reps and living and dying primarily by their production.  Not something I want either.  I'd rather gag myself.  Also, if I have to ask permission to go get lunch anymore I think I might scream.  I've been able to mold my position to my liking as far as it can go.   There is just no future for me there.  Should I wait around and hope they implement some type of fee-based or wrap program?  Should I wait around and see if they let me sell individual equities and bonds if I feel it's appropriate?  I don't want to try and build something and then have it ripped from me again.

Also, almost none of my business comes from in bank referrals.  YES they are bank customers but I call them.  I understand these warm calls make a huge difference but it's all about the numbers right?  For the past year I've run 3-6 appts per day every day no matter what.  Between the appointments I have to find the time to do stupid bank stuff and also make about 50-75 dials a day.  Those dials yield me about 3-6 appts.  I have to run so many appointments because the accounts I open are small and getting paid out at 15% I have to open a lot of accounts to make any money.  Like I said before,  I don't think I could take most of my clients with me because their "real" advisor is some independent or wirehouse guy.  I've kept up this insane activity level for the past year and I've had good relative results.  

The way I see it (correct me if I'm wrong), is that I have proven sales abilities and people tend to trust me even though I am relatively young.  The only variable or unknown is the ammount of dials or prospecting approaches I'm willing to make when I go to a wire.  300-400 dials a day will ensure success given my established baseline skills.  That is the only variable I can control. Dials.  I know it's easier said than done but will someone sit here and tell me that if I do make those dials every day that there is still a good chance I will fail?

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You are your own worst enemy. You have given sold your own self.

Aug 10, 2011 7:06 pm

[quote=tke1600]

[quote=WiredAndReady]

tke1600,

What's your background and experience?  I'm just curious as to the point of view you are coming from.

As far as staying at the bank... I'm just scared that I'll close my eyes and wake up in 10 years in my mid 30's in that same cubicle running teller pep meetings every wednesday and fighting with management about why I don't write loans.  I just want something more than that.  If I stayed at the bank I could get hired as one of the regional advisors.  I could make this happen next week if I wanted.  That's a management position where I would run around "coaching" 4-6 bank reps and living and dying primarily by their production.  Not something I want either.  I'd rather gag myself.  Also, if I have to ask permission to go get lunch anymore I think I might scream.  I've been able to mold my position to my liking as far as it can go.   There is just no future for me there.  Should I wait around and hope they implement some type of fee-based or wrap program?  Should I wait around and see if they let me sell individual equities and bonds if I feel it's appropriate?  I don't want to try and build something and then have it ripped from me again.

Also, almost none of my business comes from in bank referrals.  YES they are bank customers but I call them.  I understand these warm calls make a huge difference but it's all about the numbers right?  For the past year I've run 3-6 appts per day every day no matter what.  Between the appointments I have to find the time to do stupid bank stuff and also make about 50-75 dials a day.  Those dials yield me about 3-6 appts.  I have to run so many appointments because the accounts I open are small and getting paid out at 15% I have to open a lot of accounts to make any money.  Like I said before,  I don't think I could take most of my clients with me because their "real" advisor is some independent or wirehouse guy.  I've kept up this insane activity level for the past year and I've had good relative results.  

The way I see it (correct me if I'm wrong), is that I have proven sales abilities and people tend to trust me even though I am relatively young.  The only variable or unknown is the ammount of dials or prospecting approaches I'm willing to make when I go to a wire.  300-400 dials a day will ensure success given my established baseline skills.  That is the only variable I can control. Dials.  I know it's easier said than done but will someone sit here and tell me that if I do make those dials every day that there is still a good chance I will fail?

[/quote]

My background is a newbie at a wire with over 1.5 years in 2 different programs.  Enough time to see tons fail and struggle, including myself. 

The thing about 300-400 dials a day, is that it won't work for a newbie building a fee based business.  Anyone who is successfully calling that much is calling on product all over the US.  They are not going on appoinments because their business is setup to be transactional and mostly over the phone.

Very true. There are some people on various forums who tout their 300-400 dials per day. You either have to have a national practice or live in a mega-city to keep that going for very long.

I tried the same route with the same results. And, BTW, ML is going to push you into fee based business. In fact, you can be going great guns for PC's and still get whacked because the book isn't fee based/annuitized.

I have experience with this because I've called for months on 200-300+ dials a day.  You run out of qualified numbers that are close enough to meet you.  I'm in a huge area and I found myself going through lists quickly, much too quickly to keep calling the same ones back.  There are just tons of people and owners you will never get a hold of, screened from, and then tons who will tell you to pound sound and never call again.  Good luck calling scrubbed home #'s during the day. Again, if you have the whole nation to call, then I totally agree with 400 dials a day pitching bonds, etc, but that is a different business model than you and I are discussing. 

BondGuy is a hero of mine. His practice is mutli-state and, I think, transactional. ML will "discourage" from doing that. Believe me because I tried and finally through in the towel. The entire culture comes against that.

Obviously take my experience with a grain of salt.  The main point is that for every FA who succeeds with all these odds against them, there a 19 who fail.  In your case you are risking a $90k job, tenure, and a chance to move to a Regional position.  That is a big opportunity cost to take on a much riskier role in becoming a trainee at a wire. 

I've come up with the same ratio of success to failure: 1 out of 20. That is for people who are new, have no wealth network and do not join a team.

My advice would be much different to someone who has no job, no kids, etc, becuase what they are giving up is not much compared to someone like you.  You are in great shape where you are, and could probably find a better bank program that fits more what you are looking for.  You will never have the freedom like a wire or indy, but that freedom has to be earned.  With your production, it would be much better to work out a way to "go to lunch on your own time", then to trade everything you have for a mighty big shot in the dark.

[/quote]

Aug 10, 2011 7:10 pm

[quote=tke1600]

[quote=WiredAndReady]

tke1600,

I appreciate your thoughts from someone currently going through this.

I live in a metro area with about 2,000,000 people so running out of people in the area to call can never be an excuse for me.

When you were making 200-300 for months, what were you're results.  What lists did you use? Hours called? Approximate contact ratio?  Follow up process? Calling with product or for appointment?

It doesn't sound like it worked for you so I want to make sure it's something I avoid when I start.  Are you still in a program but struggling or have they given you the boot (no shame in that)?

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My experience is based on roughly 20,000 calls in 2011 so far, almost all to business owners.  Reference USA to narrow down to certain metro areas and revenue minimums.  I call on product but take converstaions in all directions based on needs.  50 calls an hour average.  Call or email pipeline every week. Results are a few clients, a pipeline, and a mighty tough road ahead.  I'm more looking at the struggle that this will take to hit year 1, 2 and 3 hurdles, and also make a livable wage when salary is reduced.  It is insanely hard put in this perspective.   

You might have 2,000,000 people in your area, but you have to find and get ahold of the qualified people.  And remember not a single one of these people want anything to do with you.  For example, when I filter the criteria for within 30 miles and revenue minimums, I only end up with a few thousand numbers.  That is what I am trying to get across.  People that you call that you can physically meet and have appointments with.  Obviously, If you go out of your immediate area there are endless amounts of new dials you can make.

On top of this you have ML's DNC list. It is enormous. Forget the federal DNC. ML has it's own internal DNS of people who have said "don't call me again." It is WAY bigger than the federal list.

Also, 2MM people... realize that this includes broke people, hamburger flippers at McDonalds, and people who outwardly have the appearance of being monied but have trouble scraping together $500.

Listen, I'm not saying you couldn't pull it off.  Many have.  It's just the toughest road at the wires with high goals, short time frames, and yes we still have mandatory meetings, calls, and paperwork that get in the way of production hours.  With your current situation, I would strongly advise leaving a good thing for a wire training program.  You would really be putting yourself in a tough spot compared to what you have now.  I wouldn't be surprised if you were kicking yourself just a few months in when the reality of cold calling sets in, and it would already be too late.  That is what is so tough.  People never know what they are getting into until it is too late.  Most people that I know came into the business with not much to lose, so failing wasn't as devastating. 

I strongly advise against leaving a good job and taking a pay cut for the training program if you need to start from scratch.  That is all I'm trying to get at based on my experience.  You can listen to a recruiter, listen to hiring and branch managers, or you can listen to people like me.  All I'm trying to do is talk about the fine print that no one will tell you.     

Remember, a bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. 

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