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Aug 21, 2008 5:46 pm

Hello all,

I seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, and need
your advice. I started with H&R Block Financial Advisors 12 months ago (soon
to be Ameriprise) and have accumulated $5.7M (2/3 of it is with a senior
partner). I do not want to be part of the “fishbowl” and the financial plan
zombie, so therefore I interviewed with MS and have a friend at ML.

The BOM at MS said my assets/production do not qualify me as
a full FA, consequently I would be hired as a trainee. He also said as a
trainee I will loose my book and start from scratch…I know $5.7M is not a whole
lot but it would be nice if I can keep my book. He also suggested that I go
apply at the banks and build up my book that way, then come back.

As for the friend at ML he is not a “huge” producer (Ass.
VP), we will be talking about taking me on as a Jr. Partner. In this case I don’t
know what happens to my book.

So my question for everyone is what should I do?

-Should I just jump right into the wirehouse environment(with
no leads, and start from scratch)?

-team up with the ML guy and work “under” someone?

-Start at a local bank and continuing building my book? If that
is the case, which bank? ( BB&T, Wachovia, PNC, or SunTrust)  How is the platform like for each bank?
Majority of my book is fee-based, and about 70% in individual equities.

-Stay put and become a zombie.

Thank you all ahead of time for all your input.

Aug 21, 2008 7:15 pm

What exactly is your current arrangement with your senior partner and/or HRBFA regarding current clients?  Are certain clients yours, under your rep number, or are they all your senior partner's or the teams?  What exactly do you mean by 2/3rds of your assets are "with" a senior partner? Is there any written contract or agreement at all? 


Aug 21, 2008 8:05 pm

I have 2 rep numbers, one belonging to me in which I have my own clients. The other rep number is a joint number, whatever revenue we create out of the joint number get split 50/50. The agreement is very standard...if either one of us leave the clients belong to the remaining party.

Aug 21, 2008 10:34 pm

So it sounds like if you leave you'll be losing 2/3 of your clients anyway, plus whatever remaining 1/3 doesn't move with you.  So, you're basically moving with nothing.  If you really want to get out of there see who you think you can be the most successful working for starting over from scratch, and go there.

Aug 22, 2008 7:50 am

You don't have a book. You have a pamphlet. You've already been paid on your pamphlet, so go wherever you want. 

Aug 22, 2008 10:09 am

Perfect example of why people should not race into "teams" thinking it is all positives.  It is all positives for the firm, not for the individual.  Why do so many people rush to sign an agreement that says they will leave clients behind if/when they move?

Whatever you do next, don't make the same mistake twice.  Don't join another "team" or  "partnership" until you FULLY understand what happens if and when you leave. 

And since you have agreed to leave behind 2/3rds of your book, you don't have a $5+ MM book, you have a $1 - 2 MM book (depending on how many of "your" clients follow you).   That is why no one is likely to hire you as an established FA.

Aug 22, 2008 10:16 am

You are absolutely right Morphius! I wish I had never signed that agreement. So what do you suggest I do?

Sep 18, 2008 10:58 pm

Make sure you think about all of your options very carefully before you decide your plan of action.  Other who have commented about team arrangements have been somewhat right.  I also come from a legal background, so having arrangements in writing is the way to go.  You are small now, but what if you land a big account.


Always trust your gut instincts.  I've been teamed before and was told one thing, and then of course that word was broken.  Nothin works and everything works. 
I know a lot about good stories and bad stories about teams,etc.  Let me know if you need me to embellish.