Much needed advice

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Feb 14, 2007 5:46 pm

Hi,


Im currently a finance major and am graduating in one more year. For the past 10 months I have been working as a FA assistant for a woman who has her own practice at LPL. Ive been really learning the rops here and love the atmosphere. I would love to stay here when I graduate but am not really sure what my options would be, I was thinking somewhere along the lines as me continuing to be her assistant and get paid for it, and in the mean time get my license and try to develop my own clientle. Do you guys think it would be smart to do this or should I go try to work for a company like MS or SB? Another alternative would be continue to work as the advisor's assistant while I obtain my masters, and then take it from there? what are your opinions on this?

Feb 14, 2007 7:15 pm

She could certainly sponsor you for your licenses and bring you in as a junior partner, or something like that.  I'd be willing to bet she'd even give you some of her smaller accounts to service while you're prospecting for your own clients.  If you're going to pitch that to her, I suggest keeping an eye out for someone to replace you as her assistant or she'll keep leaning on you for that role and you'll never get anything done...

Feb 16, 2007 9:28 am

What if she cant give me any of her clients, do you guys think it would be smart to try to stay where I am, or is it not such a good idea starting off with an independent brokerage firm??? should i go to a place like  smith barney? n

Feb 16, 2007 10:33 am

I justed started with SB and they have a great training program that an independant probably can't match, plus you will be spending most of your time doing administrative tasks and this will limit your ability to develop.  I spend 50 hours a week studying and learning the market and different prospecting ideas.  I am part of a team, and this is something SB is trying to do with alot of the new hires, as long as they can find someone who is willing to accept a new team member.  I will be responsible for getting the team webpage up and running, as well as other technology related tasks.  This is a way you can differentiate yourself and add value, especially to older, computer illiterate advisors.  I think staying with an independent as an assistant will limit your options in the future if things don't work out.  Typically, the wirehouses like to hire holder people, not people straight out of college, so staying for your masters can never hurt.  On the other hand, they will take any degree and this is what you know you want to do, your masters will not give you any real benefits and you may want to save money and make money.  Thats my two cents, I am new to this industry and I am starting to get a feel of how things work. mooose

Feb 16, 2007 1:00 pm
suffolk08:

What if she cant give me any of her clients, do you guys think it would be smart to try to stay where I am, or is it not such a good idea starting off with an independent brokerage firm??? should i go to a place like  smith barney? n


Fresh out of school you would die quickly.  Stick with what you got, but get an agreement in writing.

Feb 18, 2007 5:55 pm

So what do you suggest? Stay there doing what im doing for a few years and then when im a little bit older try to get a job at smith barny or a compnay like that as an advisor? or should i try to stay where i am now and in a few years try to become an advisor with lpl? or would being with an independent company not be a good place to start?

Feb 18, 2007 6:21 pm

Why don't you talk to her?  You're never going to know your options if you stay there unless you ask.


I hire my assistants fresh out of college, they work during the day as my assistant and learn the business.  I sponsor and pay for them to get licensed -- they study on their own time.  They continue to work as my assistant 40 hours a week, but generally work an extra 10 hours a week developing their own clients.  At some point, they are bringing in enough business that I reduce their time as an assistant & they slowly move into being a full-time advisor. 


It's a great way to learn the business, without the pressure of bringing in a lot of assets/revenue without really knowing very much. 


The big wirehouses aren't going to be interested in you fresh out of school, and even if they were, chances are you wouldn't make it being so young and inexperienced.  You don't want to start out at most of the places that would hire to be an advisor when you graduate. 




Feb 18, 2007 7:17 pm

I've been with a major wirehouse for some 8 years now, and after 7 years as an FA, I've gone to managment.


I can tell you from all that I've seen, that vbrainy is right - fresh out of school, you would probably die quickly - IF YOU WENT TO A WIREHOSUE AND TRIED TO FLY SOLO. Unless of course you come from money.


I think Moose is right the training programs are invaluabe. The best thing you can do is go to a firm like SB, ML, etc, get into their training program, but find a branch with a team, that is looking for someone to take on as a Team Associate, and also willing to spend the time working with you, truly integrating you as part of a team.


If that opportunity doesnt present itself, the next best thing is to spend 5 years getting some kind of sales experience, whether or not its with the Independent yo are with now, and whether or not its in this industry. Build your skills, build a rolodex, then go into a wirehosue training program.

Feb 18, 2007 7:19 pm

One more thing - If you are truly interested in being an FA, rather than an MBA, I think the better investment would be a CFP designation. Be careful though, it will take an investment of a lot of your time, that you might need for prospecting, depending on your situation.

Feb 19, 2007 9:04 am

Thanks for everyone's advice. Im going to talk to my boss in a few more months once I near graduation and see what my options are if I stay there... Thanks again