Office Environment

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Jan 9, 2007 6:30 am

Could you please tell me what the office environment is like in a typical Merrill Lynch branch?  Are the FAs in cubicles (e.g. 10' x 10' with no door and three-quarter walls) or do they have a private office with a door?  Do some FAs have private offices and others don't?


Also, how noisy is it typically, given everyone is on the phone?  I guess you end up hearing everyone else's conversations all day long, correct?  Thanks in advance. 

Jan 9, 2007 8:13 am

At my location (mid-size city) we start in fairly small cubicles, I guess I would guess roughly 10x10.  After so many months, usually once you hit a certain level of production, you move to an office.  We save a few empty offices incase FA's need to present to clients and don't want to do so in a cube.  The noise can be a hassle, especially if you are brand new and trying to study, but the chatter can be educational.  Just figure out who the top producers are and then listen to them talk on the phone if their doors are open or if they are calling from a cube for some reason.  You can learn a lot from listening to the right people.

Jan 9, 2007 9:29 am

In my office there are about 90 FAs, 33 POAs, 38 CAs and 20 various other support staff.  There are windowed offices surrounding the entire exterior of the floor.  In the center of the floor there are non-windowed offices, meeting rooms, a conference room, a kitchen and a reception area.  The rest of the floor consists of cubicles.  It is of course all very tastefully decorated and even the cubicles are in dark wood.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


 


Everything here is a meritocracy.  You need to earn the right to anything other than a cubicle.  The production levels required to get into the offices varies with how the rest of the office is doing.  If you don’t grow at the same rate as the rest of the FAs in the office, you can be knocked down from an office to a cubicle.


 


It can get loud and you can hear nearby colleagues talking on the phone.  You get used to it very quickly and you learn to focus only on what you are doing.  It can be challenging when you are studying for the 7 and 66 but most of those trainees have purchased noise canceling headphones.


 


--WM

Jan 9, 2007 12:12 pm

Are you really being serious with this question? Im usually not rude on this forum but seriously who cares. Isnt every office different anyway.

Jan 9, 2007 12:40 pm

Well Keith, maybe new advisors should get started in the industry in an environment that best suits them. Do they still call it the bull pen?


Every day we find financial planning articles that say, "really listen to the client, and respond to their expressed needs".


If I was just getting started in the industry, I would ask to sit in the middle of the mother Merrill bullpen, and see how it feels.


I would also try to visit a few small "botique" planning firms, RIA or Independent b/d, and get a sense of how that feels.


Starting trainess in the right environment could double our industry retention, serve middle aged boomers better, and perhaps increase overeall demand for FA services in America.


Jan 9, 2007 9:01 pm
planrcoach:

Well Keith, maybe new advisors should get started in the industry in an environment that best suits them. Do they still call it the bull pen?



Every day we find financial planning articles that say, "really listen to the client, and respond to their expressed needs".



If I was just getting started in the industry, I would ask to sit in the middle of the mother Merrill bullpen, and see how it feels.



I would also try to visit a few small "botique" planning firms, RIA or Independent b/d, and get a sense of how that feels.



Starting trainess in the right environment could double our industry retention, serve middle aged boomers better, and perhaps increase overeall demand for FA services in America.







I like this guy are you saying the wirehouse environment is trash, if so I couldn't agree more.

Jan 10, 2007 1:50 am

The wire house asset accumulation model (for industry trainees) is basically unchanged over many decades.


Mass market retail sellers like Jones and Ameriprise also show little evolutionary creativity with regards to training and securing otherwise intelligent and motivated industry inductees, often recent college graduates.


The entire financial service industry is basically fragmented - because, on the one hand is it a profession, and on the other, it is a sales business that chases new clients.


Other professionals don't cold call prospects. They work by referral. Arguing that this is a sales profession is true (you have to sell your ideas and get people to take action) and ridiculous at the same time ( all we offer is commodities, the real value is how you put those commodities and professional knowledge together on an individual case basis).


The first time I walked into a stock broker "bullpen" was about thirty years ago. Considering how the world is changed, I think our industry is really lagging with the training models. Sitting around in a suit and necktie and cold calling, chasing money, versus learning from established mentors through client referrals, well, the first big company that figures out how to train smarter on a large scale could really grab a large chunk on market share, in my opinion.

Jan 13, 2007 5:54 pm

Cubes stink and should only be used for one year or two at the max.  If you make it you get an office.


But make sure you at least have an office or a conf. room to meet with clients in. 


Jan 13, 2007 9:06 pm
maybeeeeeeee:

But make sure you at least have an office or a conf. room to meet with clients in.


This sounds dumb, but its not unknown for a small studio apartment to cost less than renting an office.