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Jul 3, 2007 3:33 am

Hello, <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


This is my first post in this forum and I am glad to have an opportunity to share my experiences and gain insight from those who've played this game before.  I am a recent college grad. and am currently looking at positions in the Financial Advising role.  Having said that, I am having trouble picking out a firm, and I am starting to second guess whether I have been running into shady sales people, or if this is just the nature of the business throughout.  I was not a finance major, but have still had some very good success in the interview process...this is both exciting and troubling...either A) I'm not a half-bad interview, B) They'll take anyone with a degree and contacts that they can use long after you're gone, or C) Maybe a mix of the two.  I recognize that it is hard to judge entire companies via personal experiences with local groups...Clearly two groups that share the same company name could be very different.  Having said that, I recently interviewed at Northwestern Mutual and got an offer.  I do have a few reservations though...Red flags started going up when I heard that "the boss has never made an offer that quick to anyone before..." and after saying I would need time to consider, I was told "we'll definitely give you 24 hours to make a decision"...the training doesn't start for another 2 months however, making me feel like they want to rush the position onto me before I can 'figure out' what I'm getting into.  But I was reassured that even if I don’t take the position, they wish me the best of luck, BUT 'don't bother interviewing anywhere else because we're the best...' <?:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shape id=x0000t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"> @0 1 0">@1">@2 1 2">@3 21600 pixelWidth">@3 21600 pixelHeight">@0 0 1">@6 1 2">@7 21600 pixelWidth">@8 21600 0">@7 21600 pixelHeight">@10 21600 0"><v:shape id=x0000i1025 style="WIDTH: 12.75pt; HEIGHT: 12.75pt" alt="" ="#x0000t75">  I expect HR people to push their company, but this seems like a little much.  Also, answers to my questions about the company were vague...Q: "What is the turnover rate here?" A: "Lower than any other place..."  That tells me nothing.  To sum up, between some psychology courses in college and my gut feeling, this place sounds a little shady.  That is not to say that NW sucks, but maybe that this firm just isn't for me.  Also, this group appears somewhat limited to selling insurance, and I really don't want to go around telling people "If you get hurt/die/etc....." This is not the way I want to conduct business.  So, I am considering other companies now such as Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney.  I assume that non-finance majors are NOT discriminated against in this business simply because the business-aspect can be taught to most people.  So basically I am looking for any and all guidance that anyone might have...Company recommendations, career-path recommendations, and what to expect from a company support wise...I accept that some hardships of the business are unavoidable (prospecting FOR other FAs as a rookie in the business) but I want to minimize these hardships as much as possible, and I'm going to need to find the right company and the right firm.  So again, any experiences, advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated.  Another point of order; @ NWFN, you're not really an "employee" but rather a private contractor (so you do have to pay a large amount of health insurance, no 401K, etc...On the flip side you might get lots of tax write-offs on business expenses) I’m trying to find the happy-medium between complete independence and security of a company, and as a private contractor (financial rep. @ NWFN) I feel like security is a bit low.  Is this common among all companies?  My previous questions of company reputation, career outlook, and past experiences that may shed some light on this dilemma take priority though.  Thank you very much for the help, and I apologize for being long winded!

Jul 3, 2007 9:48 am

Stay away from the Ameriprises, Northwestern Mutual, etc.  They offer anyone a job who can fog a mirror.  Work you like a dog, and take all the accounts of your friends and family.


Stay with the major firms like RayJay, SB, MS, etc.  If you DONT get an offer from them, they did you a favor.  Move on.  It means they just really don't think you have what it takes to be in the business.  If you do get an offer, you will be given a good chance to succeed.


good luck.

Jul 3, 2007 10:34 am

Aggggh!! My eyes!  Wall of text.


Try it again with some paragraph breaks.


But for advice.....what maybeeee said.

Jul 3, 2007 11:49 am

Ah, sorry for the wall of text...Didn't see it comming out like that.  Let me try again.


I am a recent college grad. and am currently looking at positions in the Financial Advising role.  Having said that, I am having trouble picking out a firm, and I am starting to second guess whether I have been running into shady sales people, or if this is just the nature of the business throughout. 


I was not a finance major, but have still had some very good success in the interview process...this is both exciting and troubling...either A) I'm not a half-bad interview, B) They'll take anyone with a degree and contacts that they can use long after you're gone, or C) Maybe a mix of the two.  I recognize that it is hard to judge entire companies via personal experiences with local groups...Clearly two groups that share the same company name could be very different.  Having said that, I recently interviewed at Northwestern Mutual and got an offer. 


I do have a few reservations though...Red flags started going up when I heard that "the boss has never made an offer that quick to anyone before..." and after saying I would need time to consider, I was told "we'll definitely give you 24 hours to make a decision"...the training doesn't start for another 2 months however, making me feel like they want to rush the position onto me before I can 'figure out' what I'm getting into.  But I was reassured that even if I don’t take the position, they wish me the best of luck, BUT 'don't bother interviewing anywhere else because we're the best...' <?:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><?:NAMESPACE PREFIX = V /><V:SHAPE id=x0000t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"> @0 1 0">@1">@2 1 2">@3 21600 pixelWidth">@3 21600 pixelHeight">@0 0 1">@6 1 2">@7 21600 pixelWidth">@8 21600 0">@7 21600 pixelHeight">@10 21600 0"><?:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /><V:SHAPE id=x0000i1025 style="WIDTH: 12.75pt; HEIGHT: 12.75pt" alt="" ="#x0000t75">  I expect HR people to push their company, but this seems like a little much.  Also, answers to my questions about the company were vague...Q: "What is the turnover rate here?" A: "Lower than any other place..."  That tells me nothing.  To sum up, between some psychology courses in college and my gut feeling, this place sounds a little shady.  That is not to say that NW sucks, but maybe that this firm just isn't for me. 


Also, this group appears somewhat limited to selling insurance, and I really don't want to go around telling people "If you get hurt/die/etc....." This is not the way I want to conduct business.  So, I am considering other companies now such as Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney.  I assume that non-finance majors are NOT discriminated against in this business simply because the business-aspect can be taught to most people.  So basically I am looking for any and all guidance that anyone might have...Company recommendations, career-path recommendations, and what to expect from a company support wise...


I accept that some hardships of the business are unavoidable (prospecting FOR other FAs as a rookie in the business) but I want to minimize these hardships as much as possible, and I'm going to need to find the right company and the right firm.  So again, any experiences, advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated. 


Another point of order; @ NWFN, you're not really an "employee" but rather a private contractor (so you do have to pay a large amount of health insurance, no 401K, etc...On the flip side you might get lots of tax write-offs on business expenses) I’m trying to find the happy-medium between complete independence and security of a company, and as a private contractor (financial rep. @ NWFN) I feel like security is a bit low.  Is this common among all companies?  My previous questions of company reputation, career outlook, and past experiences that may shed some light on this dilemma take priority though.  Thank you very much for the help, and I apologize for being long winded!

Jul 3, 2007 12:49 pm

I recommend removing every 3rd sentence before you post.  Or keeping every third one - your choice.


Insurance sales is not a bad way to cut your teeth right after college.  You'll have a place at a wirehouse if you can succeed in insurance.  Consider New York Life, for instance.  Also, consider forums like TGP.

Jul 3, 2007 1:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback

Jul 5, 2007 11:12 pm
maybeeeeeeee:

Stay away from the Ameriprises, Northwestern Mutual, etc.  They offer anyone a job who can fog a mirror.  Work you like a dog, and take all the accounts of your friends and family.


Stay with the major firms like RayJay, SB, MS, etc.  If you DONT get an offer from them, they did you a favor.  Move on.  It means they just really don't think you have what it takes to be in the business.  If you do get an offer, you will be given a good chance to succeed.


good luck.



I stopped reading after the first paragraph.  To compare Ameriprise to NWM is like comparing dog crap to filet. 


Being as you are recently graduated, IMO you would be better off at a career agency like NWM, MassMutual, NYLife, or Guardian.  Even though you don't like the idea of selling insurance because of the supposed "scare factor", any planner worth their weight will tell you insurance is the backbone of any good financial plan. 


Not everybody (especially your peers) needs investments.  Almost everybody (including HNW individuals) need life/DI/LTCi.  You'll be compensated on insurance better than you would at a wire, and like it was mentioned, if you are successful at the agency, you'll be able to get a job at a wire no problem.  Plus you can still do investments like you could at a wire/regional and get about the same payout.  Before you dismiss the insurance route, I would seriously take a second look if I were you.

Jul 6, 2007 12:46 am
Dust Bunny:

Aggggh!! My eyes!  Wall of text.


Try it again with some paragraph breaks.


But for advice.....what maybeeee said.



I wonder if he talks like that, too!

Jul 6, 2007 5:38 pm


NWM will teach you to sell, and to ask your friends for referrals by writing 1-5 on a yellow pad and turning it around and saying "hey Joe, do you know 5 guys I can help?", or something like this. 

The response from your buddy will be, "i know the same guys you know dumb ass" and "No, I don't need a $250k whole life policy for $500 a month, thats my drinking money".

Just be prepared to sell your friends.

Would recommend a wirehouse if you can get it.  Much better training and a LARGER PERSPECTIVE of accumulating, protecting, and transferring wealth.  Best way for a rookie.

Jul 6, 2007 5:54 pm
GoingIndy????:


NWM will teach you to sell, and to ask your friends for referrals by writing 1-5 on a yellow pad and turning it around and saying "hey Joe, do you know 5 guys I can help?", or something like this. 

The response from your buddy will be, "i know the same guys you know dumb ass" and "No, I don't need a $250k whole life policy for $500 a month, thats my drinking money".

Just be prepared to sell your friends.

Would recommend a wirehouse if you can get it.  Much better training and a LARGER PERSPECTIVE of accumulating, protecting, and transferring wealth.  Best way for a rookie.


While I'm sure there are alot of wirehouse reps who do a good job in this department, his main focus will be to gather AUM.  He will get cursory training in insurance and estate planning.  In other words, if he wants to be an asset gatherer, a wire is good.  If he wants to do complex planning for wealth protection and transfer, the best training will be at an insurance agency. 

Jul 6, 2007 6:53 pm

DEEKAY- while I would agree with most of your comments, you statement above about being able to do the same investments as a wire is way off...


I would bet that NWM cannot provide SMA's, structured products, an ETF wrap program, Alternative Investments, etc. If they can- then I will shut my mouth on the subject, but I thought all NWM offered was the typical MF accounts and standard investment fare.....

Jul 6, 2007 7:10 pm

Don't forget with the wire you can use an outside general agent who represents multiple lines of insurance companies and products.  They only do insurance. 

As long as you have the license, these guys will do most of the work once you put them in front of the prospect.  Find one you trust, present them as your insurance specialist and you won't have to be the expert. 


Jul 6, 2007 7:29 pm

Don't forget with the wire you can use an outside general agent who represents multiple lines of insurance companies and products.  They only do insurance.


If you want to give your business to someone else, sure you can do that.   But you can't be involved in it or receive commissions.  Why would you want to do THAT?  


As long as you have the license,  What are you talking about? If you give the business away it doesn't matter if you are licensed or not. these guys will do most of the work once you put them in front of the prospect.  Find one you trust, present them as your insurance specialist and you won't have to be the expert. 


At a wire, either you do the insurance business yourself using approved companies that you have a selling agreement with or you walk away from the business and/or refer it to an outside agency.   You would be potentially exposing your clients to EIA sharks. Again I ask why would you want to do that?


In the independent set up, you must use the insurance companies contracted with your BD for variable products and you choose the companies you want to do business with yourself for the fixed life products.


I'm beginning to think that 1.) you are not a financial advisor and are a troll giving bad advice to people or 2.) you are a financial advisor and you don't know what you are doing.


I'm leaning to the first.  A troll.  A better one so far, but troll none the less.

Jul 6, 2007 7:50 pm

Blarnstorm,


Deekay is completely on target with his comments.  Sure, NML reps have a strong emphasis on insurance, but don't forget that NML reps are associated with the 5th or 6th largest Indy B/D and they have the ability to do everything that everyone else does.

Jul 6, 2007 7:57 pm

Mr. Smith,


Starting with an insurance company will give you a much better chance of succeeding in this business.  I actually struggle to see any advantage to starting with a wirehouse except that it may sound more prestigious and your cube may be in a nicer office. 


Do not accept a position with Northwestern Mutual without also talking to New York Life, Guardian, and Mass Mutual.   All else being equal, there are advantages to Guardian and Mass Mutual over Northwestern Mutual and New York Life.

Jul 6, 2007 8:16 pm

Blarnstorm,


Deekay is completely on target with his comments.  Sure, NML reps have a strong emphasis on insurance, but don't forget that NML reps are associated with the 5th or 6th largest Indy B/D and they have the ability to do everything that everyone else does.


Well, than I stand corrected... I guess I truly have no idea the NML capabilities- I have NEVER had to compete against them, let alone knew of a qualified prospect who had them...

Jul 6, 2007 10:55 pm

Sorry Dust Bunny, no troll here. As an AGE FC we have agreements with outside agencies that link us up with the insurance companies (hartford, transamerica, metlife, ing, etc.).  Maybe you've heard of a Capitas, or Time Financial or any other third party that has an agreement with AGE/SB/ML/LPL, etc.  Not too mention Hartford and the other bigs come directly in as well.  We can get basic term quotes right on our system, and the harder stuff can call in back up.

Did an insurance review recently for a client, came across a nearly paid up older WL contract and 1035'd the cash value to the new policy with a much higher DB to fit a more modern need, not one of 20 years ago.  Got paid on it, target production hits the AGE run and then normal split after that.  Sat on the same side of the table with client as we "interviewed" the insurance rep as he presented 3 different company rates.  Did they get paid, of course, but I got the same as I would have if I did all the work.  So, no troll here bunny.  I am looking to go indy and using this board to answer questions on the indy side, Obviously you're base is a little weak on the wire side. 

Jul 7, 2007 12:18 am

Sorry Dust Bunny, no troll here


Glad to hear it.


Obviously you're (you're/your.... learn the difference )base is a little weak on the wire side.


I do agree my base maybe is a little weak on the wire side since I have mostly been an independent.


If you are not a troll I do apologize. 


You have to remember we are inundated by idiot trolls and sometimes its hard to weed out the crap from the real stuff. 


However, as a future independent, I strongly suggest you don't farm your client's out to insurance agencies.  Going Indy...meet Annuity Shark.


Jul 7, 2007 1:45 am

no problem bunny, i see the other posts of idiots on this site. no troll here.  apology accepted.  no foul. 

Jul 7, 2007 6:44 am

Did an insurance review recently for a client, came across a nearly paid up older WL contract and 1035'd the cash value to the new policy with a much higher DB to fit a more modern need, not one of 20 years ago. 


1) What does it mean for the policy to be "nearly paid up"?  Does this mean that the client was "nearly 100"?


2) It is almost never in the client's best interest to 1035 the cash value of an existing WL policy into a new policy.


The problem with many reps who concentrate on investments, but sell some insurance, is that their knowledge level is just enough to hurt clients.


How did both you and the insurance rep get paid?