ML vs EJ

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Apr 18, 2008 11:22 pm

I know all about what EJ does for new FA's, can anyone compare it with ML?  It seems like two very different companies and systems.  I'm most interested in all aspects of a new FA going with ML and expected earnings for 1st and 2nd year with ML. 

 
10 years down the road I'd like to go Indy, so I feel like the set up at EJ would prepare me for that, but I'm interested in learning more about ML.

Thanks!
Apr 18, 2008 11:29 pm

The two are can't be compared.  It's not even apples to oranges, it's apples to school buses.


Do a search on this.  There has been plenty of talk about starting at ML.  You will have a salary, about 40k.  This is what you should expect for you first two years.  Don't get swept up in getting bonuses; they are very tough for anyone to get.
 
Also, take note that, at ML, you are not guaranteed 2 full years.  It goes quarter by quarter.  If you have a couple underperforming quarters in a row, your time left could be very limited. 
Apr 19, 2008 10:30 am

As snaggle says, they're not even in the same league.  If ML gives you an offer, I wouldn't even consider EJ.  It's not so much that EJ is a terrible firm, they're just not comparable to ML or any of the other wirehouses.  For someone just entering the business, ML will probably bring you in as low as possible which is ~$40k as mentioned before.  They've recently revised their training program and for the first year at least, the numbers are pretty easy to get.  But after that, watch out.  It's now a 3 year salaried program.  But you had better make your numbers every quarter.

 
If you're around in 10 years at just about any firm, you'd have no problem going indy.  You'd just probably have more AUM to take if you went to a wirehouse.  This is just andectotal (and I'm not at ML, but another wirehouse).  When I was in training a couple of years back, there were a few EJ trainees in my class.  One had spent 4 years at EJ and the other 3.  The one who spent 4 years at EJ had ~$12M under management and the 3 year EJ vet had something like $8M.  I'm not sure what those numbers mean at EJ, but at a wirehouse, they would have never been allowed to make it that long.  They would have been cut long ago. 
Apr 19, 2008 11:18 am

Just do some research on the training.......I have gone through EJ's training within the last year and its some of the best in the industry.  I have talked to brokers from some of the wirehouses and they wernt impressed.  You might also want to consider the recent write downs ML has done and there has been some talk recently about them making some layoffs in the near future.  Just do your homework.

Apr 19, 2008 12:50 pm

It all depends on you my friend.  If you have what it takes to be top producer there is no question you should go with ML.  Better investment options better name recognition.  Serious money i.e. large accounts are much more likely to go with ML than EJ. 


If you like helping lots of smaller investors go with EJ.  It will take longer to make as much money for you.  They are both good companies but ML is in a much higher class with a richer target clientle. 
 
IMO a good way to look at it is if you consider yourself a humble small town redneck cowboy - (no disrespect intended)  go with EJ.  If you consider yourself a high class rich or wannabe rich society city boy go with ML. 
 
ML brokers look on EJ as second class citizens.  EJ brokers look at ML as snobs.  
Apr 19, 2008 9:43 pm

What's the prospecting like at ML?  I'm used to hearing about constant door knocking at EJ, is it mostly cold calls at ML?  Do they provide leads?  Just interested in how they encourage their new FA's to build their book and meet the quotas.

Apr 19, 2008 10:34 pm
IsOldSpiceRightForMe:

What's the prospecting like at ML?  I'm used to hearing about constant door knocking at EJ, is it mostly cold calls at ML?  Do they provide leads?  Just interested in how they encourage their new FA's to build their book and meet the quotas.


While I never worked at ML, most wires encourage their new FAs by telling them to cold call all day long.  Most add a special extra incentive by reminding you if you don't hit your numbers for several months, they'll fire you. Prospecting is prospecting.

Apr 20, 2008 12:10 am

I'll probably apply in the next month or so with ML, so this question will be answered through personal experience then.  But, just out of curiousity, what is the office setting typically like at a ML branch in a mid-sized city?  Is it lots of cubes, an open area, or private offices for the FA's?  That's one thing I really like about EJ (having my own branch), because I just can't see myself sitting in a cube.  Just a personal thing I guess.

Apr 20, 2008 8:05 am

Just remember, no firm REALLY cares how you prospect, as long as you are bringing in clients. Different firms just have different methods for getting you started. So if Merrill tells you to cold call, and EJ tells you to doorknock, that's just because they think that's the best method. If you have something better, by all means go and do it. And FWIW, I don't think most wires are as focused on cold calling as they used to be.

Apr 20, 2008 11:26 am

Cubes?  How could you bring a high net worth prospect in for a meeting to propose managing their money and bring them into your cubicle?!? 

 
I GUESS you could have all of your meetings in a conference room.  But I don't think many ML offices will stick you in a cube.  Why don't you walk down to your office and ask to talk with a new advisor and ask them about their office.  You are going to get the best answers from them. 
Apr 20, 2008 3:25 pm
Dark Knight:

Cubes?  How could you bring a high net worth prospect in for a meeting to propose managing their money and bring them into your cubicle?!? 

 
I GUESS you could have all of your meetings in a conference room.  But I don't think many ML offices will stick you in a cube.  Why don't you walk down to your office and ask to talk with a new advisor and ask them about their office.  You are going to get the best answers from them. 
 
It would be very unlikely to start in ML as a newbie in anything but a cube.  Be ready for it.  Use the conference room for meetings.  It's just the way it is.
 
 
Apr 20, 2008 4:47 pm

I know several guys who've made the jump from ML to EDJ, and they've all said the difference in the culture and freedom at Jones is night and day.

 
I think the only aspect of wirehouse life that would be attractive to me is the camaraderie. 
 
I'd be miserable living in a cubicle.
Apr 20, 2008 5:27 pm

So if we looked at two new FA's, one with EDJ and one with ML, and they both put in exactly the same amount of time and effort and had the same selling skills and knowledge of their products, is it fair to say the FA with ML would make more money and build a larger book faster than the FA with EDJ? 

Apr 20, 2008 7:00 pm
IsOldSpiceRightForMe:

So if we looked at two new FA's, one with EDJ and one with ML, and they both put in exactly the same amount of time and effort and had the same selling skills and knowledge of their products, is it fair to say the FA with ML would make more money and build a larger book faster than the FA with EDJ? 

 
Who is more likely to get to the MLB Hall of Fame first?  The guy who plays on an MLB team, or the guy who plays on the AAA minor league team?
 
 
This is a very biased statement, but I'll stick with it.
Apr 20, 2008 7:02 pm

haha, thanks for the reply.  Is there anyone who can give an unbiased statement out there?  I guess that's like asking which is better, Republicans or Democrats, it depends on which "side" you're on.

Apr 20, 2008 7:34 pm
IsOldSpiceRightForMe:

haha, thanks for the reply.  Is there anyone who can give an unbiased statement out there?  I guess that's like asking which is better, Republicans or Democrats, it depends on which "side" you're on.

 
You will have a very tough time finding what you are looking for.  A true unbiased statement would have to come from someone who has been at both EDJ and ML.  The ML guys will say EDJ sucks because they only use A shares from a couple fund families and purposely slice the pie to miss breakpoints.  The ML guys will also say that EDJ guys can't handle the level of client they can and that all they do is drink the koolaid.
 
The EDJ guys will say that ML sucks because they feel their shit don't stink.  They will also say that ML guys sell proprietary products and charge excessive fees.
 
These are just a couple (of many) arguments against both sides.  More guys probably went from EDJ to ML than ML to EDJ in case that matters.
 
If you're successful, it won't really matter where you're at. 
Apr 20, 2008 8:27 pm
With all factors being equal, there is no way in hell you can accurately say which new broker will be more successful based on whose sign they have on their door.
 
There are a lot of folks who are very angry with ML right now, and I've had to work hard to separate my firm from ML to calm the fears of my prospects and clients regarding greed on Wall Street.
Apr 20, 2008 9:40 pm

That is a good question.  IMO the books would build at about the same pace.  The EJ guy would make more the first 3-5 years but the ML guy would make more every year after that.  The transactional model that EJ uses pays more in the short run but less in the long run. 

Apr 20, 2008 10:10 pm

Is your goal to make more money?  If so, ML is probably the better choice.  ML advisors have the highest production of the wirehouses and although I cannot find the numbers for how EJ stacks up I am sure it is lower.

 
I have a friend who works for EJ and will probably never leave.  He is in the top 3 in his region, however, he would not hit the top 5 in my office.
Apr 20, 2008 10:34 pm

I have a buddy who works for JP Morgan Chase, and mentioned the other day that he had recently put $250K in C shares. I can't imagine that ever flying at Jones.

 
I always want to do what's right for the client, but it would be nice to find a way to strike a balance and not spend every day looking for new money. That gets really, really old.