Northwestern Mutual

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May 16, 2007 7:12 am

Hello all, This is my first post on here. I am looking to get out of the teaching profession and into the financial/Insurance field. I have had 2 to 3 interviews with New York Life, Ameriprise (which I declined after comming to this site), Banker, and finally Northwestern Mutual. I was trying to find some feedback on the working conditions at NW Mutual but I could not find much.


I was hoping that somebody on this forum has worked (or is working) for them and could provide some feed back about every day life at NW Mutual.


Thanks a ton!

May 16, 2007 10:16 am

NML (or as they wanted to be known NMFN) is pretty much as cultish as
Ed Jones.  I might be the only person in history to have worked
for both of them.  I would not recommend anyone go to NML,
ever.  You will not only be a life insurance agent, but a NML
agent, meaning you will ONLY sell Northwestern Mutual policies. 
You will be about as captive as they come.  There are SO many
reasons I would advise you to go elsewhere, but can go into detail via
PM if you want.  

May 16, 2007 10:34 am

I would like to contradict theironhorse's statement. NMFN has a great training program and this is where there is value to working there. At NMFN you will learn to sell, and therefore it is a great place to go if you are new to the industry. They have a good product platform and if it's your niche, that's great. If you don't like working there, at least you learned to sell and you can take that skillset to another firm/wirehouse.

May 16, 2007 10:39 am

But why waste time there selling proprietary products?  I highy
doubt anyone trying to build a true planning practice would fit the nml
"niche."  You can find the same quality of training at many other
places.  My opinion is that what he/she learns on the selling side
will not be worth what is given up in the culture.  He will spend
his whole time trying to figure out whether a whole life policy truly
does fit every situation as they say, and then never be able to take
those client policies with him when the realizes he had been doing
wrong.

May 16, 2007 10:54 am

I spent a year as an NMF intern in college.  It is very cultish.  They teach you that their whole life product is the end all be all of financial solutions, and to give people the opportunity to purchase it is a of the highest calling.


You are not truly captive at NWM.  There are quotas of Northwestern you must meet, but you are not captive in that you can use outside products through a third party brokerage...in fact, many agents in the office I interned at were FORCED to use other products at times due to Northwestern's ultra stringent underwriting.  They simply had to be appointed with another insurance brokerage that could shop out the policies for them.  By the way, this was always a dirty little secret...everyone had to do it, but you NEVER talked about it in a "public setting" because not selling Northwestern was viewed by management like selling snake oil instead of holy water.


I could go on and on, but I have to meet with some folks.  Hope this helps.


May 16, 2007 11:02 am

new2it, I don't know why you would put ameriprise in the same basket as nylife, & nwmutual.  I'm a franchisee of amp, so I'm biased.


ameriprise is not captive, except for their annuities although their VAs are some of the best in the industry from what I've seen, for expense and investment choice.


There's a focus on comprehensive financial planning, and the firm has the most CFPs of any firm in the world.  what sort of Licensing/Credentials are you expected to get at NWmutual or NYlife?  I really don't know, but it seems that noone from NWMutual that I compete with even has a series 7, let alone a 66.  I did meet a NYLife guy who had a CFP designation, though.


Also, at ameriprise you "own" your practice and clients, as a franchisee, although that probably wouldn't be true for a person starting out and going through their training program, which seems to have a negative image.  I would recommend working for a successful franchisee that will hire you to take over his "smaller" clients.



I think the question is, do you want to be a financial advisor (your title at ameriprise after you get the licenses), or an insurance salesperson?

May 16, 2007 11:13 am

Sorry, I don't mean to say that those companies only sell insurance, and ameriprise only helps clients with financial planning.  nothing is ever that cut & dried, of course.

May 16, 2007 12:15 pm
Big Taco:

Also, at ameriprise you "own" your practice and clients, as a franchisee, although that probably wouldn't be true for a person starting out and going through their training program, which seems to have a negative image.  I would recommend working for a successful franchisee that will hire you to take over his "smaller" clients.



I think the question is, do you want to be a financial advisor (your title at ameriprise after you get the licenses), or an insurance salesperson?



Your comments only really apply to the P3 indy channel.  It seems to me that there are plenty of "insurance salesmen" hiding behind the boilerplate plans in P1.

May 16, 2007 12:28 pm
Big Taco:

Sorry, I don't mean to say that those companies only sell insurance, and ameriprise only helps clients with financial planning.  nothing is ever that cut & dried, of course.


AMEXSUX and you know it.  Is it not bad enough that you had to sell all your friends and family crappy VULs and Riversource funds?  Why would you try to tell this person that Ameriprise is a financial planning firm.


You need to go to RJ, AGE, SB, UBS,or ML.  They will treat you well, if you have the stuff.


And since when does Ameriprise "own" their book?  That is an outright lie.  You cannot take your clients and start your own practice at another firm if you like.  Ameriprise will hunt you like a dog and throw all of their lawyers at you.


The firms above have all signed an agreement that if their FAs want to leave, they can do so and take their clients.  That is how confident they are about their FAs staying.


Ameriprise ?  You don't even get a computer there.


May 16, 2007 12:49 pm
vbrainy:

The firms above have all signed an agreement that if their FAs want to leave, they can do so and take their clients.  That is how confident they are about their FAs staying.



LOL, I doubt Mother Merrill would like her children taking their clients with them.

May 16, 2007 12:59 pm

NYL and NWM are two of the greatest companies in the country in any industry.  They have been around for 150 years with top notch 3rd party ratings.  Their products are excellent.  Both companies have some reps who make 7 and 8 figure incomes.   Mutality is important when it comes to insurance.  I think very highly of both of these companies.  However, as a rep, they have a huge drawback...


Only their reps can sell their products.  This is an advantage when you are in competition.  "I can sell his product, but he can't sell mine."  On the other hand, if you look at your career, this is a HUGE negative.  At some point, you will probably make a company change for one reason or another.  Maybe, you'll want to go independent.  Maybe, you want to switch B/D's.  Maybe... The reason doesn't matter.  The problem is not only can't you service your existing clients, but there is no way to convert their insurance policies.  


NYL and NWM agents make lots (most?) of their money by selling term insurance and then converting the policies to permanent insurance over time.  Conversions are very easy sales that are very profitable.  When you leave, there is no way to convert these policies, thus you may be leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.


(Although I speak very highly of these companies on the insurance side, I can't do so on the investment side.  I just don't know enough to speak positively or negatively.)


provide some feed back about every day life at NW Mutual. as some people have mentioned, the company does have a cultish feel.  After all, how does a company get agents to pay their own way to Milwaukee in the summertime.   The key, though, is the local agency.  This is at least equally important as the company.


Do not take a job at any of the firms that you have mentioned without interviewing also with Guardian and Mass Mutual.   Mass Mutual especially has the positives without the negatives, but the local agency still is what matters.

May 16, 2007 1:03 pm

My comments "apply to" P2.  I'm a franchisee.  it's what about 70% of ameriprise financial advisors are.  the focus of my particular firm is fee based asset management and comprehensive planning. 


I agree with you on P1, as I alluded to in my previous post.  about 30% of amp advisors are P1. 


I was not discussing P3.

May 16, 2007 1:07 pm

I am currently working at NMFN and I like it so far. I really think when it comes to them, your experience will all depend on what kind of office you're in. Mine happens to be a great working environment and they provided excellent training. I chose this route because I dont have a large natural market, and certainly none of any high net worth. Its much easier to make it in the insurance field your first few years than it is at a wirehouse. As for the comment that NMFN agents dont have series 7s or CFP designations, that is not true. There are many CFPs at my office and I am currently studying for my 7. Dont get me wrong, they do emphasize insurance over investments, especially the first 6 months (actually they dont even allow you to obtain your licenses until after 6 mos). But after that you can make your business how you see fit. I too interviewed at Ameriprise, but turned them down after being told that I would have to pay all exam costs out of pocket and that I would have to share computers with other new reps. No thanks.

May 16, 2007 1:57 pm

do NOT go work for an insurance company. go to a wirehouse and get trained properly.

May 16, 2007 2:04 pm
vbrainy:
Big Taco:

Sorry, I don't mean to say that those companies only sell insurance, and ameriprise only helps clients with financial planning.  nothing is ever that cut & dried, of course.


AMEXSUX and you know it.  Is it not bad enough that you had to sell all your friends and family crappy VULs and Riversource funds? 


Do we know each other?  I hope not.  but If we did, you would know that I don't sell much VUL.  Also, most of the investment products I recommend go through a filter, then further objective analysis.  I offer my clients as much objectivity as I am capable of.


Why would you try to tell this person that Ameriprise is a financial planning firm.


maybe because it has the most Certified Financial Planners of any firm in the world?


You need to go to RJ, AGE, SB, UBS,or ML.  They will treat you well, if you have the stuff.


are those the 5 national firms that you HAVEN'T failed at yet?


And since when does Ameriprise "own" their book?  That is an outright lie.  You cannot take your clients and start your own practice at another firm if you like.  Ameriprise will hunt you like a dog and throw all of their lawyers at you.


and now you're calling me a liar?  it's standard practice for an advisor to sell his/her practice.  And when did I write that the practice can be sold to external companies?  Take a breath, try to get some oxygen to your remaining brain cells, and read for comprehension.


a practice can be sold to any other P2 advisor.  There are about ten thousand of them out there, all across the country.  It's not difficult for advisors to sell, usually.  Also, ameriprise is pretty good about already having the apparatus in place to help valuate and facilitate the selling/buying process.  it's pretty seamless, and doesn't require the ACATing, haggling, waiting, that comes with client transfers between firms.


Are there firms out there that hand over a book of business to a competiter on a velvet pillow?  how about with no account transfer fees?  I really don't know, so I'm asking.  maybe you should ask more questions when you don't know what you're talking about, vbrainy.


The firms above have all signed an agreement that if their FAs want to leave, they can do so and take their clients.  That is how confident they are about their FAs staying.


sure.


Ameriprise ?  You don't even get a computer there.


No, ameriprise doesn't send me a new thinkpad every year.  I have to buy that myself.  they also don't pay my rent, staff's salaries, nor buy my supplies, etc....




May 16, 2007 2:18 pm

vbrainy, you act like you got up and smoked a few bongs today.


The same old tired, pissing contest about whose ka ka smells, and doesn't.


Can't you see you are being victimized at a broader level?


May 16, 2007 4:26 pm
Big Taco:
vbrainy:
Big Taco:

Sorry, I don't mean to say that those companies only sell insurance, and ameriprise only helps clients with financial planning.  nothing is ever that cut & dried, of course.


AMEXSUX and you know it.  Is it not bad enough that you had to sell all your friends and family crappy VULs and Riversource funds? 


Do we know each other?  I hope not.  but If we did, you would know that I don't sell much VUL.  Also, most of the investment products I recommend go through a filter, then further objective analysis.  I offer my clients as much objectivity as I am capable of.


Why would you try to tell this person that Ameriprise is a financial planning firm.


maybe because it has the most Certified Financial Planners of any firm in the world?


You need to go to RJ, AGE, SB, UBS,or ML.  They will treat you well, if you have the stuff.


are those the 5 national firms that you HAVEN'T failed at yet?


And since when does Ameriprise "own" their book?  That is an outright lie.  You cannot take your clients and start your own practice at another firm if you like.  Ameriprise will hunt you like a dog and throw all of their lawyers at you.


and now you're calling me a liar?  it's standard practice for an advisor to sell his/her practice.  And when did I write that the practice can be sold to external companies?  Take a breath, try to get some oxygen to your remaining brain cells, and read for comprehension.


a practice can be sold to any other P2 advisor.  There are about ten thousand of them out there, all across the country.  It's not difficult for advisors to sell, usually.  Also, ameriprise is pretty good about already having the apparatus in place to help valuate and facilitate the selling/buying process.  it's pretty seamless, and doesn't require the ACATing, haggling, waiting, that comes with client transfers between firms.


Are there firms out there that hand over a book of business to a competiter on a velvet pillow?  how about with no account transfer fees?  I really don't know, so I'm asking.  maybe you should ask more questions when you don't know what you're talking about, vbrainy.


The firms above have all signed an agreement that if their FAs want to leave, they can do so and take their clients.  That is how confident they are about their FAs staying.


sure.


Ameriprise ?  You don't even get a computer there.


No, ameriprise doesn't send me a new thinkpad every year.  I have to buy that myself.  they also don't pay my rent, staff's salaries, nor buy my supplies, etc....






amerijoke is an insurance company disguised as a "financial planning firm"

May 16, 2007 6:19 pm

do NOT go work for an insurance company. go to a wirehouse and get trained properly.


Go to a wirehouse and get trained to take over assets, but learn virtually nothing about insurance.


Go to an insurance company and get trained to sell insurance, but learn virtually nothing about taking over assets.


What's the best career route?  It really depends on the individual.  The fact that I sell lots of insurance, for instance, makes a wirehouse a terrible place for me since the business would go through the grid.  I also like that my payout is much higher than it would be at a wirehouse.


It's also much easier to make a good living in the early years on the insurance side.  Is this a concern for the original poster?  Personally, I would have failed if I had to meet the wirehouse hurdles when I started my career.

May 16, 2007 8:09 pm

All your insurance goes through the grid?  Is this because you are
wirehouse and not indy?  I will say you def want to learn about
insurance(s), but stay clear of the insurance companies themselves.

May 17, 2007 6:16 am

theironhorse, you misread my post.  I said that at a  wirehouse the insurance business would go through the grid.