Should I leave and go to Morgan?

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Jan 4, 2007 3:01 am

Okay, well here's the story:  I've been an F.A. for several months at a regional firm and doing relatively well according to the standards of the firm.  Actually, I have surpassed my benchmarks up to date (we all know that can change tomorow) and look pretty good in the eyes of my fellow F.A.'s new and old to the industry.


I am young and practically straight out of college, but my age has NEVER been an issue to my prospects and clients.  Perhaps its due to the fact that every 70 or 80 year old assumes that every young adult they meet are 35 years old or older.


I have about 600k AUM within 2 months.  Anyway, I have considered a move as a result of my fellow newer F.A.'s getting fired left and right of me.  There have been 10 layoffs in the last month.  The firings are absolutely warranted since those guys never showed any talent, effort, or interest in the biz.  Many have said that I am surely safe (for now, but who knows what will happen).


Naturally, with all these guys leaving it ignited a temptation to ponder about moving elsewhere not because I feared job security, but the fact that I think my firm does not have the recognition as a Morgan, UBS, or Merril.  I did not go to an IVY league college, but can easily put in a 10-14 hour work day and am a very personable guy which is why I have not been considered a waste yet.


So my question is... Would any of you guys think it would be worth it to move to Morgan or stay put in where I am at now?  The pros could be that I could potentially nab more clients with the branding I receive from morgan and the cons could be that Morgan has higher benchmarks for me to meet which would make it even more difficult for me to survive. 

Jan 4, 2007 8:34 am

At 300K AUM per month, you will wind up with 7.2 million AUM after 2 years.  This is about half of what you need at a national wirehouse.

Jan 4, 2007 1:02 pm

I cannot believe ANY firm would take a trainee who did not meet their benchmarks after two years.


And, didn't you sign a contract?


Most of the major firms are spending their money recruiting experienced reps. right now.

Jan 4, 2007 7:07 pm

Based on the details you have provided, I would stay. At a very minimum, stay one year before looking for an other B/D. And even then, considering looking only if you've greatly exceeded your benchmarks. If you signed an employment contract, then you have those ramifications to consider, as well.


If your firm is firing left and right, you may have the opportunity to pick-up some good accounts from those let go. Be sure to bring up acquiring those accounts to your manager.


Jan 4, 2007 7:37 pm

Just out of curiosity, young_gun, why do you think that MS will extend an

offer (or do you already have one)?



A $600K book and 2 months in the business is hardly a bell-ringer.

Jan 4, 2007 8:01 pm

I second doberman's advice...stay at least a year, keep throwing AUM on the

pile ($3.6m/yr pace aint bad, but you should see more momentum soon),

and you'll be amazed what MS (and/or others) will pay you to move in 12-24

months. Even if you don't think you're tearing it up, you're probably looking

at 100% of your last 12 months gross....then you can go back to gathering

assets and settle in for a long, nice career.

Jan 4, 2007 8:05 pm
young_gun:

Okay, well here's the story:  I've been an F.A. for several months at a regional firm and doing relatively well according to the standards of the firm.  Actually, I have surpassed my benchmarks up to date (we all know that can change tomorow) and look pretty good in the eyes of my fellow F.A.'s new and old to the industry.


I am young and practically straight out of college, but my age has NEVER been an issue to my prospects and clients.  Perhaps its due to the fact that every 70 or 80 year old assumes that every young adult they meet are 35 years old or older.


I have about 600k AUM within 2 months.  Anyway, I have considered a move as a result of my fellow newer F.A.'s getting fired left and right of me.  There have been 10 layoffs in the last month.  The firings are absolutely warranted since those guys never showed any talent, effort, or interest in the biz.  Many have said that I am surely safe (for now, but who knows what will happen).


Naturally, with all these guys leaving it ignited a temptation to ponder about moving elsewhere not because I feared job security, but the fact that I think my firm does not have the recognition as a Morgan, UBS, or Merril.  I did not go to an IVY league college, but can easily put in a 10-14 hour work day and am a very personable guy which is why I have not been considered a waste yet.


So my question is... Would any of you guys think it would be worth it to move to Morgan or stay put in where I am at now?  The pros could be that I could potentially nab more clients with the branding I receive from morgan and the cons could be that Morgan has higher benchmarks for me to meet which would make it even more difficult for me to survive. 



Dude coooool your jets.  If you think this is possibly a good idea I want a sample of what you're smokin' for myself.

You will likely face some sort of legal action from Morgan to recapture training expenses, and there is a HIGH likelihood that you will leave behind a large portion of your burgeoning "pamphlet" (as in "small book").  Most clients crave stability and reliability in a financial advisor.  Leaving the current b/d after two months licensed doesn't send that message, does it?

Get your nose back to the grindstone, keep building up your client base and book of clients, and learn how to manage your book like a business.  Keep what you do simple and streamlined and repeatable.  Don't fall into the typical rookie temptation to customize everything and try a little of this and that in every account.

Second, figure out where the local 'financial guys' hangout is in your town.  Just about every population center with over say 100k people has a bar where a lot of the folks in the industry congregate for happy hour especially on days that end in "Y".  (j/k, but especially at the end of the week....)  Often this is in a part of town where some of the bigger firms have their offices.  Ask your local wholesalers....they might likely know.  Make it a point to get by the place now and then, and see if you can get to know some of the guys that are at some of the majors, and let it be known that you're doing well and looking to 'trade up' in a few years.

Having said that-you can do just fine for yourself at a regional.  Name recognition ain't all it is cracked up to be.  Comes with a higher cost structure and more bureaucracy in many instances.  You can create your own 'brand name' by just getting out and networking and taking care of your clients.

Just my 2 cents...

Jan 4, 2007 10:11 pm

Take it easy killer...bust your a** where you are..if you are doing well then

keep it going..build a book and then morgan will be waiting to give you a fat

check to join up..im young as well and I understand your impatience..just

keep doing what your doing and stay where you are

Jan 4, 2007 10:19 pm

Well, thanks everyone for you insight.  I appreciate it very much.  I think I have some direction now on what I think I need to do.  But  I feel some people have over analyzed the production numbers WAY too much and I'll tell you the reason I am saying this.


First, someone estimated that I will have 7.2 million AUM in two years merely based on my first two months here.  But realistically, that is not accurate at all.  What if I had detailed that I generated $200k in one month and $400k my second?  Those are the black and white numbers.  But imagine if I had also mentioned that I am in the process of bringing in another 400k in the next two weeks and have been working on a $845k account that will maybe be ACATed in about 2 months?  I didn't mention this because it didn't happen yet, but it certainly will since it is on transit. 


My business is steadily growing and literally compounding by the month so it is almost impossible to quantify what will happen after year one or year two.  Not to mention that I will receive more referrals.  Furthermore, all of these accounts have been through cold calls!  I set up meetings w/ these people in person on several trips during the week and I haven't even tapped into my centers of influence yet.  But I must say my biggest account wasn't through a cold call, but rather a gentleman I met on the train to work.  So in all, I am bullish on my career and what money I can possibly generate.


And to answer another question, I have 2 friends at Morgan that have mentioned me to their branch manager and said he showed interest in talking to me to come over.  However, I did sign a 3 yr contract and don't know if my potential would merit a ticket to their firm.  But I had spoke to several people and they told me that those contracts won't hold up in court.  Im not sure, but does someone know how binding those documents are?


Also, I know many people have mentioned that the firm's name isn't  relevant to success or failure.  But I truly feel that when I make calls many don't take me serious since they are not cognizant of our name.  Only until I set a meeting face to face will they realize that I am "real" and not some telemarketer from the other side of the country.

Jan 5, 2007 1:31 am

you will do well wherever you go.


Perhaps you can get into the Rising Star Program at Morgan; lots of upside.

Jan 5, 2007 9:54 am

And when you go to the gin joint that Joe recommended, try not to tell the older guys that they don't know why its all different with you.


Yeah, we all had sure thing money coming in and ran hot periods and cold periods.


While the eldsters here might have overanalyzed your trajectory, you are Willie Lomaning it big time. You are assuming that your best days are indicitive of your norm. While it may turn out to be true, the numbers are against it. We all have days when we ride the bull, and days when the bull rides us.


Go get 'em killer! (stay off internet chat boards)


Mr. A

Jan 5, 2007 10:15 am
mranonymous2u:

And when you go to the gin joint that Joe recommended, try not to tell the older guys that they don't know why its all different with you.


Yeah, we all had sure thing money coming in and ran hot periods and cold periods.


While the eldsters here might have overanalyzed your trajectory, you are Willie Lomaning it big time. You are assuming that your best days are indicitive of your norm. While it may turn out to be true, the numbers are against it. We all have days when we ride the bull, and days when the bull rides us.


Go get 'em killer! (stay off internet chat boards)


Mr. A



Good words.....

Is this the part where I should mention Chambelin and Churchill or some silly thing like that?

Jan 5, 2007 11:33 am

Youn Gun - where do you work?  What firm and what area?  I would suggest that switching right now might cramp your momentum.  If you are in fact in a "zone" right now, don't rock the boat.  Wait until you hit a cool period, then re-evaluate.  If things are going so well, why move?  It's far too early.  Besides, no firm is going to give you much to come over with a $2M book (if you can even get anyone to move).


As people have stated above, there are hot and cold periods.  I just scored a $1M rollover last week, but that does not mean I am going to get one every week, or every month.  I might get a few a year, sporadically.  Don't base your assumptions on a few good accounts.  If you do, you become lazy and cocky (assuming it all just rolls in...).

Jan 5, 2007 8:06 pm

if you've only been an FA for several months, i have some news that might shock you, The market doesn't go up 10% every quarter. Try selling through some terrible markets and get a little battle tested before thinking about moving on.

Jan 6, 2007 2:33 am

Okay, just to make it known... I don't think my career will be a fairy tale type of story.  I know that there are rough roads ahead and have not in the least ignored the fact that business will fizzle at some points.  But at the same time I haven't shut out the fact that it will climb as well and at THIS point it has momentum.


The true purpose of this topic is because I truly want to get out of this firm because I feel that name recognition at some point has been road block for me and has somewhat affected my penetration into my target market.  Management isn't the best and I can't stand some of my neighbors (and yes, this can happen anywhere).  I do not think Im a catch and merit a signing bonus, but just want to move out if it is possible and get to a Morgan branch closer to my house. 


So does anyone know how binding those term contracts are???  Once again, I want to know how well will this hold in court and if anyone knows whether firms would pursue legal action for someone who hasn't been with a firm as long as I have.  Thanks again everyone.

Jan 6, 2007 7:48 am
young_gun:

Okay, just to make it known... I don't think my career will be a fairy tale type of story.  I know that there are rough roads ahead and have not in the least ignored the fact that business will fizzle at some points.  But at the same time I haven't shut out the fact that it will climb as well and at THIS point it has momentum.


The true purpose of this topic is because I truly want to get out of this firm because I feel that name recognition at some point has been road block for me and has somewhat affected my penetration into my target market.  Management isn't the best and I can't stand some of my neighbors (and yes, this can happen anywhere).  I do not think Im a catch and merit a signing bonus, but just want to move out if it is possible and get to a Morgan branch closer to my house. 


So does anyone know how binding those term contracts are???  Once again, I want to know how well will this hold in court and if anyone knows whether firms would pursue legal action for someone who hasn't been with a firm as long as I have.  Thanks again everyone.



Your words don't make sense.  First you say that you've been there only a couple of months, but then you talk about your production numbers.  However, a new FA can't go into production until he has been at a firm for 4 months. (the 120 day rule)

Second, you chose to accept an offer from your current firm a couple of months ago.  You knew what their name was at that time.  How is it possible that you didn't consider the problem with their name recognition prior to signing on the dotted line?

Third, they will go after you for training costs.  You can count on that for sure.

Jan 6, 2007 1:08 pm

Second, you chose to accept an offer from your current firm a couple of months ago.  You knew what their name was at that time.  How is it possible that you didn't consider the problem with their name recognition prior to signing on the dotted line?"


That scenario plays out all the time. A young guy gets his first interview at a brokerage firm, with little experience and none in the industry. He gets some smooth talker who is polished and knows how to sell the company line and exaggerates the firms capabilities.


"We compete with the big boys... Our smaller size enables us to deliver more persoanlized client service... Bllah blah blah..."


The young guy is eager to get going in this business, probably doesnt do as much homework and research on the industry as he should, is excited about the salary money and opportunity, and signs on the dotted line.


I am not saying this is what happened, but that scenario seems fairly realistic yes? If this firm is truly NOT where he wants to be 3-5-10 years down the road, then he should consider moving to a better option.


Young Gun- Stay there for a year, get more experience, develop your client base, stuff your prospect line with hundreds of qualified people, bring in the assets, and THEN start exploring other opportunities. Meet with the branch managers in your area. Negotiate for the best offer (money, opportunity, firm culture/capabilities,etc), and then go. You will be able to bring a core group of good clients, immediately have assets on the books, and, most importantly, have an immense piepline of people who you have been courting for months. Hit the ground running and dont look back....

Jan 6, 2007 1:11 pm

One more thing- if you are ultimately planning on movign firms, do not stuff your clients in proprietary products. If your firm is pushing SMA or MF wrap programs, and you place your clients there, know that it will be that much more difficult to move your clients when/if you decide to jump.

Jan 6, 2007 5:28 pm
blarmston:

Second, you chose to accept an offer from your current firm a couple of months ago.  You knew what their name was at that time.  How is it possible that you didn't consider the problem with their name recognition prior to signing on the dotted line?"


That scenario plays out all the time. A young guy gets his first interview at a brokerage firm, with little experience and none in the industry. He gets some smooth talker who is polished and knows how to sell the company line and exaggerates the firms capabilities.


"We compete with the big boys... Our smaller size enables us to deliver more persoanlized client service... Bllah blah blah..."


The young guy is eager to get going in this business, probably doesnt do as much homework and research on the industry as he should, is excited about the salary money and opportunity, and signs on the dotted line.


I am not saying this is what happened, but that scenario seems fairly realistic yes? If this firm is truly NOT where he wants to be 3-5-10 years down the road, then he should consider moving to a better option.


Young Gun- Stay there for a year, get more experience, develop your client base, stuff your prospect line with hundreds of qualified people, bring in the assets, and THEN start exploring other opportunities. Meet with the branch managers in your area. Negotiate for the best offer (money, opportunity, firm culture/capabilities,etc), and then go. You will be able to bring a core group of good clients, immediately have assets on the books, and, most importantly, have an immense piepline of people who you have been courting for months. Hit the ground running and dont look back....



Blamstorm,


Wow I am very impressed.  You hit it on the nail and I guess this story is not new to you.  You've quite well painted a picture extremely close to what happened to me.


I'll explain why I was nieve and made a rather hasty decision.  After college I went into Accounting for a year until my collegue at the firm gave me a call for the oppurtunity.  He was doing well and I trusted him.  He was able to coordinate an interview with the branch manager (the sharp guy exaggerating on the firms capabilities) who I considered the smoothest talker I have EVER met.  He's a great producer and I still think he's good. 


Moving on... Im young and don't have experience in this business, so I was anxious to get started and accepted the offer so I could study for my licenses.  And your right, I didn't do much homework as I should have since I was dying to get away from doing my accounts receivable work.  The only real investigation I did was ask a couple of friends their thoughts and I found this forum (which can offer very useful advice and sometimes not.) 


From what I've read and learned a " big name" should have no affect on results.  This is something that is true in some aspects and not so much in others.  I believe that only true hard work and dedication can make wonders, but there will be times that I can't control someone's desire to work with a firm that they aren't familiar with.  Im not saying that I work in a boiler room, but national recognition is something that we don't have and can be useful.


But I guess at this point its a consensus that the best decision would be to just build my book and hope to get "discovered" by big brother watching out in the sky and see if I qualify to get drafted.  Thanks so much.

Jan 10, 2007 11:52 pm

Good luck!



Grass is always greener!