ML PMD - What To Expect?

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May 11, 2012 11:29 am

About to start ML PMD... I have a few questions about what to expect. Not so much with regards to expectations as a PMD Trainee, but moreso about everyday life with ML. For instance...

Are PMD's offered health insurance? Any other benefits? Maybe some good rates with BOA's products?

Time off... is it hard to get? Can I even take any? Should I cancel everything I had scheduled for the next 3 years or will I be able to take the occasional Friday for a graduation / wedding / etc.?

Classes... What are these like? How many PMD's are typically in a class? What is the actual instruction like for the Series 7 / 66... videos? Practice exams, etc.? 

I'm really looking forward to the opportunity. Right now, I just want to keep my head down and pass my exams, then I'll get busy bringing in the $$$. Thanks in advance for your help - lots of great information on here. 

May 18, 2012 7:58 pm

Hey Architect,

I have an interview on Tuesday May 22 and need to put together my business plan.  What sort of stuff did you talk about, how in depth did get and how many pages, etc? What office are you going to work at?

May 20, 2012 5:57 pm

Mat-

Your business plan should talk about how well you can sell. your natural market, thousands of contacts(all that have 1m investible) and your love of kool-aid. Don't forget to hit them with some hard hitting questions.

Best of luck

May 24, 2012 10:22 am

It's a phenominal opportunity and I have had a fantastic experience with the PMD program so far. Yesterday was actually my 1 year anniversary with Merrill Lynch.

To basically answer you questions....full medical benefits(the plan is awesome too), 401k match after 1 year with the company(not much, but the match % gets bigger from year to year.

As far as time off, that depends on your director. My director is the most easy going guy I've met so far. His philosophy is that he doesn't care how you prospect as long as you do. He literally told a PMD in our complex that he wasn't playing enough golf. The PMD has brought in about $1mm in a few months from prospecting on the golf course. My director's philsophy is: Why prospect in a way you aren't well versed? To put that in perspective, he doesn't expect this PMD to cold call or doorknock because he sucks at it. With that said, I take a lot of time off. I will say that my time off is generally combined with meeting with a prospect. I have family down in Texas and some of their friends are multi-millionaires many times over. In short, I'm taking off today at 2:30 to go watch the Big 12 Baseball tournament, and I took off last Friday to go visit my family. I'm in the second quintile for PMDs in the nation so whatever I'm doing is working.

The best advice I can give you is that when you first start studying for the Series 7/66, start prospecting at that point too. You obviously can't talk about securities until you're licensed, but that doesn't mean you can't start talking to people and let them know you're in the business. If you start when you get licensed, you'll only have 3-4 months to learn how to prospect and that's not near enough time to learn how to speak with $250k+ clients.

It's a fantastic program and I have friends in the business with other firms who are taking on second jobs in order to pay their bills. I've never even considered that. The starting pay is good, and if you can bonus each month, you have the potential to tack on an extra $1000 a month or more.

May 30, 2012 9:01 pm

Hey rightadvisor.  Congrats on the 1 year.  I am a PMD as well....June will be my LOS 3.  So I have been with Merrill for 9 months.  I am loving the program, and it is what I expected.  I am about 800% of goal right now, and lucky to get a good start.  I love to cold call, and still amazed what you can do on the phone....most efficient use of your time.  I need to get out and network more, but cold calling is brining in the business so far. 

As far as the PMD program, they show you the way, but it is up to you to make it happen.  It is a LOT to learn and do, and you WILL be overwhelmed.  Just take it one day at a time, and keep prospecting.  New business cures all ills.  Every complex and branch is different as far as time off, but the firm in general treats it as you are a grown up and you do what you need to do for your own business.

Keep studying and make sure you pass the first try.  Fire solutions that the firm provides are a good foundation, but I needed a supplement.  For the 7, use STC (www.stcusa.com).  For the 66 use Training Consulants (www.trainingconsultants.com).  I got a 91% on both tests.  Only get the exam packages, since you don't need the text books.  Well good luck to you! 

May 30, 2012 10:36 pm

[quote=TheArchitect212]

About to start ML PMD... I have a few questions about what to expect. Not so much with regards to expectations as a PMD Trainee, but moreso about everyday life with ML. For instance...

Are PMD's offered health insurance? Any other benefits? Maybe some good rates with BOA's products?

Time off... is it hard to get? Can I even take any? Should I cancel everything I had scheduled for the next 3 years or will I be able to take the occasional Friday for a graduation / wedding / etc.?

Classes... What are these like? How many PMD's are typically in a class? What is the actual instruction like for the Series 7 / 66... videos? Practice exams, etc.? 

I'm really looking forward to the opportunity. Right now, I just want to keep my head down and pass my exams, then I'll get busy bringing in the $$$. Thanks in advance for your help - lots of great information on here. 

[/quote]

I'd like a moment for rebuttal of the good news channel other ML PMD's have posted.

First, off I am still ahead of my hurdles so don't go off on my viewpoint being based on poor performance.

I have had an opportunity to visit with PMD's from around the country and I can say with authority that PMD experience varies greatly by the branch and complex you join. My branch is kind of like a mausoleum. Most of the entrepeneurial FA's have left for other B/D's. The successful FA's who are still with us are about a hundred years old and no, they are not looking to team. Every PMD approaches them to team, including me, and every single one gets turned down.

They are great guys but they started when Jimmy Carter was president so that tends to make their views of how you build your book a bit dated. And, even though they are great guys they rarely emerge from their offices.

I think the company provided ML training is horrible. (I'm referring to the training that follows the licensing classes.) As late as the year 2000 trainees spent multiple weeks in Princeton, NJ for training on how to build a book. These were classes taught by live human people you could ask questions of and you were grouped with other trainees so you had the chance to cross-pollinate.

Now, it is mostly Web-based videos while you sit at your desk. Zero interaction.

The PMD coach in my world is a hale fellow well met but his focus is on his own production and he came from a bank where no prospecting was involved. I know that he does want the PMD's to be successful but you cannot teach something you don't know.

My branch is a revolving door for PMD's and no one appears to care enough to do something about it. I can tell you that my experience is more the norm of what I hear from other PMD's than the rosy feedback the other PMD's have posted here. But, I will also say that there are a limited number of PMD's who are having vastly differnet and better experiences.

I sincerley hope that your experience is way better than mine.

Jun 17, 2012 11:34 pm

My experience echoes zwing's. Some complex's/offices assign pmd's to sr advisors right out of the gate. My office doesn't do this. My office is also half full of schoolmates of Charlie Merrill who havent' prospected since before the DNC list. They don't prospect, come in 3 days a week, rarely come out of their offices, and are completely out of touch in every aspect. Their clients that come to the office are all using walkers, and apparently don't mind the performance of the mutual fund-heavy portfolios that are in the (real rate of return) negative on performance.
The other half of the office are those that came from other wirehouses or from the bank side. They are struggling but already have teamed up with each other. So they are like sharks in the water if they see a method that a pmd is having success with. They try to get a piece of the business so that when the pmd's don't make the hurdles, they can keep the new business on their books. It's like the Hunger Games advisor-island.

I read on here a year ago that success at ML depended on: 1. teaming up with someone willing to float you pc's til you get enough momentum, OR 2. bringing in family and friends money (and this means that you already have 24 million worth of friends or family that want you to manage it for them) or 3. you can sell icecubes to eskimos and are a master salesman who could succeed at any sales job. (.0001% of the population)
If you are not 100% confident you have 1, 2 or 3.. then your chance of success is about 10% or less. The company WILL pay you a good salary to find that out, though.
The problem right now is the $250,000 account minimum. it's the highest in the industry. Altho smaller accounts will count towards pc's, they won't count for anything else (unless they make up less than 20% of your book). So you can bust your butt for 3 years, but if all your accounts aren't over $250k, you will be making $36k a year when you graduate the program in 3 years, because you won't be getting paid on them. Senior advisors get 1-1.5% pc's or referring small accounts to merrilledge, so they aren't going to be passing them on to you unless there is something in it for them.
And at the end of the day, anyone with their ear to the ground knows that the future of advisirng is going virtual.. Younger people know that all the information is out there, we advisors don't have the information advantage we once had. Fewer people will want to travel to meet an advisor, esp one who charges a high fee to just shove them into MFA's that have high expenses.
And if you are under 30, good luck in getting people with over $250,000 to move their accounts with you. And if they do, good luck in getting all the paperwork done without the help of an assistant.

Jun 20, 2012 10:06 pm

[quote=notnotmay]My experience echoes zwing's.

You are obviously a very intelligent person.

Some complex's/offices assign pmd's to sr advisors right out of the gate. My office doesn't do this. My office is also half full of schoolmates of Charlie Merrill who havent' prospected since before the DNC list.

That is a funny way to put it but in reality that is true in my office too.

They don't prospect, come in 3 days a week, rarely come out of their offices, and are completely out of touch in every aspect.

Yet, they assure you that NOTHING has changed since they built their book. I would like to ask them how they handled all that the interwebs has to offer when they were breaking in with old Charlie.

Their clients that come to the office are all using walkers,

I haven't seen this but I can say that they are very old. We have two 40ish FA's who inherited their books from their fathers. It is a hoot to see a steady stream of 85 year olds going into their offices and watch them act like they built their books themselves.

and apparently don't mind the performance of the mutual fund-heavy portfolios that are in the (real rate of return) negative on performance.
The other half of the office are those that came from other wirehouses or from the bank side. They are struggling but already have teamed up with each other. So they are like sharks in the water if they see a method that a pmd is having success with. They try to get a piece of the business so that when the pmd's don't make the hurdles, they can keep the new business on their books. It's like the Hunger Games advisor-island.

Ditto here. It has become so obvious that it is annoying. When they walk by the bullpen it is like watching vultures circling.

I read on here a year ago that success at ML depended on: 1. teaming up with someone willing to float you pc's til you get enough momentum, OR 2. bringing in family and friends money (and this means that you already have 24 million worth of friends or family that want you to manage it for them) or 3. you can sell icecubes to eskimos and are a master salesman who could succeed at any sales job. (.0001% of the population)
If you are not 100% confident you have 1, 2 or 3.. then your chance of success is about 10% or less. The company WILL pay you a good salary to find that out, though.
The problem right now is the $250,000 account minimum. it's the highest in the industry. Altho smaller accounts will count towards pc's, they won't count for anything else (unless they make up less than 20% of your book). So you can bust your butt for 3 years, but if all your accounts aren't over $250k, you will be making $36k a year when you graduate the program in 3 years, because you won't be getting paid on them.

And you might as well have entered the management trainee program at your local McDonald's because at the end of three years you might get your own store and make semi-decent money AND have some hope of being able to find a way to get full or part ownership in a store at some point.

Senior advisors get 1-1.5% pc's or referring small accounts to merrilledge, so they aren't going to be passing them on to you unless there is something in it for them.

Yup.

And at the end of the day, anyone with their ear to the ground knows that the future of advisirng is going virtual.. Younger people know that all the information is out there, we advisors don't have the information advantage we once had.

There's that darn blame interweb thingee again.

Fewer people will want to travel to meet an advisor, esp one who charges a high fee to just shove them into MFA's that have high expenses.

And if you are under 30, good luck in getting people with over $250,000 to move their accounts with you. And if they do, good luck in getting all the paperwork done without the help of an assistant.[/quote