Offer from Merrill - legit?

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Oct 6, 2005 1:06 pm

Merrill has offered me a job, but the regional branch manager said the cap for what he can offer me is $39,900 per year.  Is this legit, or is he just trying to get me to settle?  Also, I do have offers from other firms that are offering more.  I do have an MBA, but no securities experience.


Any advice you can offer about Merrill's pay structure for trainees would be much appreciated.


Oct 6, 2005 5:31 pm

Taking the $39,000 from Merrill is actually a good move. First, it's a great firm! second, $40,000 is the cut off point in the POA program. If you make less than $40,000 they can pay you for two years - this gives you more time to try and build an annuitized book of business that will replace your salary when you graduate from the program.


If you were to make more than $40,000, this would force you out in 18 months. Look hard at the additional bonuses before you decide. I don't know what the other firms are offering, but Merrill's program is very fair for a newbie. I know it's natural, but the firm who is willing to pay you the most salary, may not be the best fit. I think it's great that you have your MBA..... not a huge bargaining chip. Remember...it's a sales job, not management (yet).

Oct 6, 2005 11:30 pm
19frank:

Merrill has offered me a job, but the regional branch manager said the cap for what he can offer me is $39,900 per year.  Is this legit, or is he just trying to get me to settle?  Also, I do have offers from other firms that are offering more.  I do have an MBA, but no securities experience.


Any advice you can offer about Merrill's pay structure for trainees would be much appreciated.



Based on personal experience...Moneyadvisor's comments are absolutely correct. Above $40,000 you get only 18 months on the POA Program...below $40,000 you get 24 months.   Consider yourself lucky to have learned this before you signed up!  More than one new FA in Training found out after the fact.


FYI...SB's FCA plan is for 18 months at full salary and then a declining amount months 19-24.  This is fully disclosed in the Compensation Brochure you get during your interview process.


As Moneyadvisor also mentioned, the highest training salary doesn't mean it is the best choice.  You have to look at the entire compensation package...and even more important, the branch manager's success rate in graduating new FA's from the training program.


Just my opinion.

Oct 10, 2005 12:23 pm

I just had my first interview with Merrill and it went really well.  They want me back this week to continue the process.  I was given a fully disclosed packet which did detail the salary levels of under $40,000 and over $40,000 and the time frames they are paid for.  Everything spoken about here in previous posts matches my information. 


I was told by the branch manager that his unique program graduates 88% of their trainees and that they are very selective in who they take in.  The area where I am interviewing is rather exclusive and would be a very lucrative prospect.  Is 88% really a realistic graduation rate from Merrill's program or does that sound inflated?


Oct 10, 2005 4:10 pm

Our POA program, which has 22 FA's, currently has 17 of us on track to graduate. So I guess it is feasible for the 88% figure, although that number sounds high. It will be interesting to see if our program can mantain that high level of MR ( met requirements).

Oct 10, 2005 5:27 pm

Blarnstom


Thanks for the info.  Are you pushed to sell anyting specific or do you have the whole range of investments available to you in your program?  How are they on the "client centric" approach being pursued by several of the major firms these days?


Thanks



Oct 10, 2005 5:28 pm

Blarmston - sorry about the misspellings!

Oct 10, 2005 6:20 pm
newone:

I just had my first interview with Merrill and it
went really well.  They want me back this week to continue the
process.  I was given a fully disclosed packet which did detail
the salary levels of under $40,000 and over $40,000 and the time frames
they are paid for.  Everything spoken about here in previous posts
matches my information. 


I was told by the branch manager that his unique program graduates
88% of their trainees and that they are very selective in who they take
in.  The area where I am interviewing is rather exclusive and
would be a very lucrative prospect.  Is 88% really a realistic
graduation rate from Merrill's program or does that sound inflated?






Are you from Texas?

Oct 10, 2005 6:36 pm

Not Texas, I'd rather not get specific.

Oct 10, 2005 9:54 pm
blarmston:

Our POA program, which has 22 FA's, currently has 17 of us on track to graduate. So I guess it is feasible for the 88% figure, although that number sounds high. It will be interesting to see if our program can mantain that high level of MR ( met requirements).


My experience was no where near the 88% number.  Of 15 in my class there is one male and 3 females remaining after 18 months.  The 3 females are all working in essentially, CA...Client Associate NOT FA... Financial Advisor positions, on teams.


2 of the 15 are still in the industry...one is at a Bank and the other at Smith Barney.

Oct 11, 2005 10:56 am

NewOne- We have full flexiblity in product choices here. Of course, management encourages us to go the fee based route ( Consults, MFA, MLUA,etc), and begin to annuitize our businesses. It makes sense, because we get salary and unless you kill your numbers you wont get paid on the PC's you generate. So its better to begin annuitizing and collecting fees and trails so when you come off salary you arent starving and looking to jump to another firm to get a kick start or another salary for 2 years.


As others have posted, I have seen 6 POA leave our program in just the past 8 months. Granted, all but one were complete hacks and shouldnt have even been here in the first place.

Oct 11, 2005 11:29 am

As Blarmston indicated - There is almost zero icentive to generate PC's, during training. I Know the numbers are there to support a high percent on track. I've been at ML 2 yrs, probably 25 POAs have been in the program during that time.......1 has graduated since I started. 8-10 quit, 6-7 still on board working toward graduating. 3 did not pass series 7. 2-3 never finished the program, but got hired by teams (grunts/ca's). I will grad. next month - It is not any easy program.

Oct 11, 2005 11:53 am

Pardon my ignorance, but what are PC's?


Thanks


Oct 11, 2005 11:56 am

And thanks Blarmston and Moneyadvisor for the info.  It seemed from my first interview that the training process being pursued is one of building effective networks to succeed and not as much relying on cold calling.  Is this what you have seen from your expirience?  What seems to work the best at Merrill?

Oct 11, 2005 12:55 pm

PC's are production credits. Transactional credits generated on the sale of investments. For example....Because you would have to do enough business to cover 3 months of your salary, before you would get paid on production above and beyond your salary, there would be no reason for you to sell A or B share funds, or take the upfront commision on annuities. If your salary is $40,000/yr......that's $3,333 per month. At a 40% payout, you would need to do $8,300 gross per month, this is equal to putting $150,000 per month into A share funds. But, they look at this quarterly. SO, if your salary is $9,999 per quarter, before you could collect commissions above your salary, you would have to Gross over $25,000 in the quarter. The program has fee based assett goals, so that guys can annuitize, and hopefully come close to replacing there salary when they graduate.


You are allowed, to prospect any way you can, and although you may not "cold call" prospects, you still have to do a lot of follow up calls to prospects you obtained otherwise. FYI, networking can be a painfully slow way to get business.  

Oct 11, 2005 1:23 pm

New one - Not that you could not do the $8,300 per month, but if you did $20,000 in the quarter, and your number to beat is $25,000 - you just did $20,000 that goes straight to Merrill, and you now have lost your opportunity to get a fee on that business

Oct 11, 2005 1:29 pm

New one - Not that you could not do the $8,300 per month, but if you did $20,000 in the quarter, and your number to beat is $25,000 - you just did $20,000 that goes straight to Merrill, and you now have lost your opportunity to get a fee on that business


EXACTLY...

Oct 11, 2005 4:17 pm

Thanks to both of you for your help here. 

Oct 11, 2005 4:21 pm

Blarmston and Moneyadvisor: 


Did either of you have expirience in the business before you started at Merrill?  What would you say is they key to you having made as far as you have to this point?


Thanks again


Oct 11, 2005 5:05 pm

Newone - I was with Jones for 18 months. Now at Merrill for 2 years. Find a way to survive, Hard work, luck,and direction from my team and senior guys at the firm, are why I am still here. Without a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever done.