Please HELP!

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Aug 18, 2006 12:21 am

Okay, thanks for your attention.  I need advice on my current situation:


A couple of months ago I was hired by a regional player, a subsidary of a bigger insurance company.  The management was great (still is) and the commission payout seemed pretty good.  I accepted the job offer without getting into too much talk about the salary like an idiot.  At the time it seemed like a good situation since they paid for all my material (books, cd's, dvd's), classes, and exams.  I didn't have to invest one penny of mine.  Now... I passed my series 7 and 63 (they said I wasn't ready for the 66.) I am not officially hired until I sign the paperwork tomorrow.


A little about me:


I am 24, just graduated college half a year ago w/ a degree in finance and obviously no brokerage experience.  I do, however, have great sales experience, several internships under my belt, and I also worked as a personal banker for almost a year at a well known bank.


The problem:


When they sent me the material for the series 7, they sent the offer memorandum which is jaw droppingly pathetic... $2k a month for two months and afterward the money is straight line depreciable for the remainder of the six months until it is only purely based on commission.  Even after receiving this, I decided to neglect it thinking that after the company pays for my classes and after I get licensed I could leave the firm for another if they don't give me the salary I feel I deserve.


The rumor:  I spoke to a colleague of mine who is also working toward the same position, only he is still going through the examinations.  He spoke to my manager and they have a new pay structure for new employees: $3k a month and you sign a 3 year contract.  My colleague is more assertive than me and wanted compensation for his studying.  Consequently, my manager offered him about a $1000 signing bonus after he gets his licenses.


Now onto a solution w/ your help:


I wanted to know if I was in a position of power to leave the firm and be able to keep my licenses to use at another firm (if the situation permits.)  To my knowledge I did not sign anything yet that prohibits this type of action... the only thing I did sign was my u4 form concerning the accuracy of my employment history.


I don't have intentions to leave them, but if they don't offer me a higher salary I will need to.  My friend says that it shouldn't be a problem to get the $3k a month, but thats a little under what I want.  I am content with starting out w/ $40k a year w/ bonus incentives.


Does anyone have any tips on how to negotiate a salary?  How would you bring this up to the manager?  How would you ask whether you get a bonus for your studying w/ out getting him pissed off? I would be more confident in doing this if I knew what range of power I have.  Because if I could actually leave w/ my licenses, then they would lose their whole investment. 


Lastly, disregarding pay.  I am not very confident signing a 3 year committment.  I KNOW if I want to succeed in this business thats the minimum committment to start your business and succeed.  My hesitation is only because the firm doesn't have the national recognition of a Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman and Sachs, etc.  I know if I have a recognizable name through the cold calling, it can be easier.  Your thoughts on this?


Any insights would be valuable to me.  Thank you very much!

Aug 18, 2006 12:33 am

It's the person who makes the business happen, not the name of the brokerage company.

Aug 18, 2006 1:06 am

Thanks brothak.  That's a little bit more inspiring.  But I know how hard it can be the first year.  I need some type of security for the first couple of years w/ a decent base salary.  So if they don't offer me a reasonable wage, can I actually leave and use my licenses elsewhere?

Aug 18, 2006 6:13 am
tsaem:

Thanks brothak.  That's a little bit more inspiring.  But I know how hard it can be the first year.  I need some type of security for the first couple of years w/ a decent base salary.  So if they don't offer me a reasonable wage, can I actually leave and use my licenses elsewhere?


In Series 7 you should have learned that your licenses remain valid for two years after you resign, and even if they lapse all you'd have to do is take the exams again.  If you passed them once you should be able to pass them again--right?


Your danger is this.


What I hear you saying is you want to coast.  I know you're actually saying you want the safety net, and who wouldn't--but that comes across as wanting to coast.


Put yourself in the mind of another manager.  Here comes a kid with no real experience who hasn't even worked a day and he's wanting to quit because he's not being guaranteed enough money.


There are approximately zero guarantees in this business, your clients do not get a guarantee why should you?


You could possibly--just possibly--catch on with a small bank or credit union.  They salivate at the idea of hiring people with Series 7s.


You could probably--better than possibly--catch on as a junior member of an established team at a wirehouse.  The fact that you have your Series 7 would be a definite plus.


The reality is that you don't have a lot of leverage.  Apparently you can get a bump to $3,000 per month by doing little more than asking for it, you should certainly ask for that.


Then you should stay put for the time being.  Work your butt off trying to find accounts while also keeping your ear to the ground regarding what else is available in your town.


If you know anybody--from college, high school, the YMCA, wherever--who works in a wirehouse get them to tell their manager about you.  It is always better to have a manager's assistant phone you and invite you to come in to meet  her boss than it is to send a resume and a poorly crafted--or even well crafted--cover letter.


Be prepared to answer why you didn't know what you were accepting when you accepted it--nothing screams FLAKE! more than that.


What you really should do is transfer over to the insurance side of your employer--sell insurance until you're thirty-five then transfer back to the investment side.


So many of you kids read in some magazine that being a financial planner was a great career--and it is.  But it's for the big boys and girls not the kids.


Come back when you've grown up and it's a whole different ballgame.

Aug 18, 2006 6:14 am

By the way, you laid your story out at the top very well.  You obviously have a head on your shoulders--now use it!

Aug 18, 2006 7:13 am

If you are looking for a salary, you are in the wrong business.  This is a commissioned sales job.   The higher your salary, the lower your commissions will be.  There's no free lunch.  Look beneath the salary numbers and you'll find that if you and your friend sell the same amount, you will make around the same income.  In fact, usually the person with the lower salary makes a little bit more.

Aug 18, 2006 9:51 am

Nice post Newbie. How 'bout that youngins' grasp of proper grammar and sentence structure!

Aug 18, 2006 10:50 am
NASD Newbie:

By the way, you laid your story out at the top very well.  You obviously have a head on your shoulders--now use it!



Hey Newbie you feeling ok?

Aug 18, 2006 5:01 pm

Thanks Newbie.  That is great advice.  Everything you said makes sense.  In about 30 min I will have to drive down there and discuss this whole thing. 


I know that since I am going into this business essentially handicapped with my young age I will be at a clear disadvantage than the other guy with more wrinkles under his eyes.  So maybe what your saying is that beggers can't be choosers?  Actually, I don't really consider myself a begger since I can find any other job that will pay me more.  But I want to make a career in this business that is why I chose it. I guess I would have to sacrafice a lower salary initially to get started.


Furthermore, I did explore the idea that in the event I actually had to leave to another firm, I know the other manager would interogate me on the reason I left.  In otherwords, explain why I was a flake to the other firm.  Either way, I feel a little better coming into this situation.  Thanks a lot! I really appreciate your help

Aug 18, 2006 6:38 pm
tsaem:

Thanks Newbie.  That is great advice.  Everything you said makes sense.  In about 30 min I will have to drive down there and discuss this whole thing. 


I know that since I am going into this business essentially handicapped with my young age I will be at a clear disadvantage than the other guy with more wrinkles under his eyes.  So maybe what your saying is that beggers can't be choosers?  Actually, I don't really consider myself a begger since I can find any other job that will pay me more.  But I want to make a career in this business that is why I chose it. I guess I would have to sacrafice a lower salary initially to get started.


Furthermore, I did explore the idea that in the event I actually had to leave to another firm, I know the other manager would interogate me on the reason I left.  In otherwords, explain why I was a flake to the other firm.  Either way, I feel a little better coming into this situation.  Thanks a lot! I really appreciate your help



You're welcome.  I have a lot of experience and am more than willing to share it, all you have to do is be civil.



And I now have the hat trick again--twelve hours later, and I'm going to go to Rachels for dinner.


If you're ever in NYC you need to try this place--it's wonderful.


http://www.rachelsnyc.com/


Brutus goes too, in his bag.  Nobody knows he's there.  After dinner we'll walk up Broadway to 96th and then ride the subway back to midtown.


This is the most wonderful city in the world.

Aug 18, 2006 7:13 pm
NASD Newbie:

You're welcome.  I have a lot of experience and am more than willing to share it, all you have to do is be civil.



gee........... what happened to:


NASD Newbie:

Manners?


Why do so many of you have chips as big as Dallas on your shoulders?


Are you incapable of hearing truths?  Do you really get all pissy just because somebody makes fun of the fact that you appear to be a moron?


One of the joys of message boards is the ability to say things that are true, but not necessarily polite.  If you can't deal with that reality perhaps you should just sit in the corner and mutter "My my, but that was rude" to yourself.



Aug 19, 2006 12:33 am
TexasRep:
NASD Newbie:

You're welcome.  I have a lot of experience and am more than willing to share it, all you have to do is be civil.


gee........... what happened to:


[quote=NASD Newbie]


Manners?


Why do so many of you have chips as big as Dallas on your shoulders?


Are you incapable of hearing truths?  Do you really get all pissy just because somebody makes fun of the fact that you appear to be a moron?


One of the joys of message boards is the ability to say things that are true, but not necessarily polite.  If you can't deal with that reality perhaps you should just sit in the corner and mutter "My my, but that was rude" to yourself.


[/quote]




I think the doctor finally adjusted his medication!

Aug 19, 2006 4:57 am

You know, I actually went today and my branch manager didn't show up even though I confirmed the appointment yesterday.  I did, however, pick up the preliminary paperwork that I need to fill out for my hire.


After reviewing the contract (geeze, I HATE contracts) I did notice the 3 year agreement and the $25,000 penalty if this contact is breached.  This is not the surprise, the real surprise is that the new pay structure allows me to receive a salary for a limited amount of time and thereafter I will only survive off of commissions and bonuses.


Does anyone know if this is a typical pay plan for brokers whether your at a small firm or a large firm?  I just won't have a good peace of mind if I will be living off of commissions and bonuses starting out as a rookie ESPECIALLY if I am obligated to do so for at least 3 years.  I know that once my network and client base grows salary won't be an issue, but it is for me now. 


Furthermore, there is no vacation pay for account executives... only those with hourly pay.  Do the "big player" firms pay a half month salary for those on vacation?  I just would think that any respectable firm would offer this type of benefit so that their employees can feel more secured at their company. If anything, these types of options will keep employee retention higher.  I do recieve other usual benefits like health and 401k options.  But does anyone think that this type of structure represents a poorly packaged firm? 


Any insights would be helpful. Thanks everyone!

Aug 19, 2006 6:56 am

This is the wrong career for you.   Quit before you start.


You have the mentality of an employee.  You need to have the mentality of an employer.


This is not meant to be an insult.  Employer mentality is different than employee mentality.  The job of financial advisor is only appropriate for people with the mentality of a business owner.


You are building a business and you are worried about paid vacation time?   Do you know of any successful business owners in any field who built a business from scratch and took vacations in the beginning of their career? 

Aug 19, 2006 9:06 am

Much less whined about not getting paid while on vacation.


When your dentist goes on vacation who pays him?  How about a lawyer?  An accountant in private practice?


Only drones expect a paid vacation.


The advice to not even bother to try is 100% accurate--this business is not designed for the type of person who should be employed by government.


You never use the word government worker or work for government because neither is accurate--government employs and those who are employed are employed.  Nobody actually works.

Aug 19, 2006 1:11 pm

I have to agree with Newbie and Anonymous with their comments. Building a business from the ground up takes a lot of effort, money and committment. It is very rewarding at the end if you are successful but it takes time and a lot of patience to do this. When I helped my brother open up his optometrist office two years ago neither one of us took a day off for two years. Also, during this time I had to help him without getting paid! It took two years to pay off all the debt we accumulated because we had no help from others. Now he is very successful and planning on taking two vacations every year. He even can afford to hire an assistant to help out around the office.

Aug 20, 2006 3:41 am

Hey, appreciate all the advice, but after draining my time, body, and mind for my licenses its not something Im going to back out of merely on the fact that vacation time isn't compensated.


Actually, this was only brought up because I wanted to know whether this type of practice is exemplified throughout the whole industry including the bigger firms.  Having paid vacation is not a contingency for my employment.  I absolutely understand the entrepreneurial mindset I need to have in this type of business.  I like the comparison about those in this field vs. those who are doctors, lawyers, etc.  Its only that the financial consultants at the bank I used to work for had the luxury of having mandortory paid holidays and accrue their vacation hours quarterly. 


Since I am entering this business I don't know what is the "standard" and therefore I am taking the initiative to educate myself through any channel whether its through another worker or through the knowledge of this forum.  I guess I can conclude that everyone doesn't receive this type of benefit.

Aug 20, 2006 7:33 am

tsaem, Forget about standard.  You have to have the mindset that you are building a business.  Even if paid vacation was offered, you still can't take it.


Imagine that you own a retail store and it is the week before Christmas.  Could you imagine locking your doors and going on vacation?  It is the same thing.


If you are building your business correctly, you will spend all of your time during the day fighting to get new clients.  This means that you won't get your "work" done and you will also need to work evenings and weekends.


Aug 20, 2006 8:25 am

Young man, what do YOU bring to the table? All I see from you is a self-centered concern about what others will do for YOU. To them, you're just another snot-nosed punk who just finished college and thinks he has something to offer the world. People like you are a dime a dozen.


Take your dime and get to work.

Aug 20, 2006 9:48 am
NASD Newbie:

Much less whined about not getting paid while on vacation.


When your dentist goes on vacation who pays him?  How about a lawyer?  An accountant in private practice?


Only drones expect a paid vacation.


The advice to not even bother to try is 100% accurate--this business is not designed for the type of person who should be employed by government.


You never use the word government worker or work for government because neither is accurate--government employs and those who are employed are employed.  Nobody actually works.



Newbie-  When you were in "Upper Middle Management" at the "National Wirehouse" were you provided paid vacation?