Starting with MSSB

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Jul 24, 2009 5:10 pm

I'd like to thank everyone who gently encouraged me not to take a job with EDJ.  Yes, I am eating my words.  After careful consideration, I decided to rescind my Jones offer even without a guaranteed backup plan in place.  For me, I think the "recipe for success" would have been a "recipe for disaster"

Fortunately, I just got a call today with an offer from MSSB.  While both firms have their merits, (and are as different as night and day), I feel I am a much better fit with MSSB.  I must say that I am quite glad that I had the opportunity to interview with both firms, thus providing me with a basis to compare each opportunity.

I some ways, Jones offers more freedom and in other ways MSSB does.

For example, Jones has a proven system as to the best way to grow your business.  There is plenty of debate as to how manadatory adherence is, but nonetheless, the company wants people to do many things a specific way.  At the same time, Jones FA's enjoy incredible autonomy and an extremely flat management structure.  It seems Jones wants FA's to feel like they are running their own small business.

With MSSB, you have to show up to a big, fancy branch office and regularly answer to "da man" because you pass him in the hallway every day.  Just by the nature of logistics, they have a much closer eye on what you are doing (the office isn't really big enough to hide in).  My BM told me he is a big stickler for monitoring my activity.  At the same time, they had me complete a business plan which led to great discussions on how I want to structure my business.  I was challenged to create unique and creative ways to build my business.  It was not good enough to say I would call my contacts, create lists, ask for referrals, cold call, etc.  They really wanted out of the box thinking.

I will refrain from making predictions about my success or failure.  I just know that this is a very exciting opportunity and I am extremely optimistic about the future.  I think my chances of success are considerably better with MSSB than EDJ (I am referring to myself and nobody else).

I guess it's time to put my money where my mouth is and start studying for the 7.


Jul 24, 2009 5:25 pm

Good luck to you and keep us posted.

Jul 24, 2009 5:27 pm

Give us the specifics on your offer? Salary and for how long? What are the production expectations?

Jul 24, 2009 7:41 pm

That's awesome news - I've been keeping up with your posts.  I'm in the same boat - I just completed the background and credit check with MSSB after a few interviews and testing. 

 
I'm also curious about your base and production requirements as well - would also like to know about whether you are starting on a team or on your own.  Thanks!
Jul 24, 2009 9:01 pm

Congrats and best of luck!

 
Out of curiousity, did you interview at a legacy MS office or legacy SB office?
Jul 24, 2009 10:31 pm

Not sure how comfortable you are with posting salary and production requirements on here but a PM would be appreciated to compare apples to apples :-)

Jul 24, 2009 10:32 pm

Oh and as was mentioned... all the best and keep us posted! (Preferably in less than 7 paragraphs. Just kidding)

Jul 27, 2009 6:24 pm

By popular demand.... I'll give you a little more info on the offer.  It is with a former SB office.  During the interview, I used my impending EDJ start date to but a fire under the MSSB guys.  It was kind of a double edged sword.  I made it through the entire process with MSSB (from first interview to offer) in less than two weeks, but they based my compensation on Jones (very low) compensation.  They figured that if I was willing to work for Jones, why should MSSB offer a great deal more?

Anyway, MSSB offered me a starting salary 1.5 times that of Jones.  Jones salary extends to 12 months in production while MSSB keeps me at full salary through 24 months of production and then gradually declines declines.

Both companies have extra bonus opportunities for the new guys.  With MSSB, you can earn about $35k extra in the first three years as well as over $100k in deferred compensation over the first five years.

The minimum goals with MSSB are laughable.  I could basically open one account every other month and still keep my job.

I have no idea if everything is different for the former MS branches of for FA's being hired on a team.  I love the environment of my branch office and I am very excited to hit the ground running.  They gave me a very nice office with plenty of room to spead out.  I have several small children running around my house all day.  I don't think I could have ever survived working out of my home with Jones.

Jul 27, 2009 6:26 pm
MBA2FA:

By popular demand.... I'll give you a little more info on the offer.  It is with a former SB office.  During the interview, I used my impending EDJ start date to but a fire under the MSSB guys.  It was kind of a double edged sword.  I made it through the entire process with MSSB (from first interview to offer) in less than two weeks, but they based my compensation on Jones (very low) compensation.  They figured that if I was willing to work for Jones, why should MSSB offer a great deal more?

Anyway, MSSB offered me a starting salary 1.5 times that of Jones.  Jones salary extends to 12 months in production while MSSB keeps me at full salary through 24 months of production and then gradually declines declines.

Both companies have extra bonus opportunities for the new guys.  With MSSB, you can earn about $35k extra in the first three years as well as over $100k in deferred compensation over the first five years.

The minimum goals with MSSB are laughable.  I could basically open one account every other month and still keep my job.

I have no idea if everything is different for the former MS branches of for FA's being hired on a team.  I love the environment of my branch office and I am very excited to hit the ground running.  They gave me a very nice office with plenty of room to spead out.  I have several small children running around my house all day.  I don't think I could have ever survived working out of my home with Jones.


What are the minimum goals and what are your goals?  Have you decided what types of products you want to specialize in?
Jul 28, 2009 9:53 am

The minimum is the "absolute" minimum. The BOM can decide at anytime to can you if he/she thinks you aren't gonna make it.


Good luck sir and keep us posted.
Jul 28, 2009 12:47 pm

My goals (subject to change/modification) right now are as follows:

Year 1: $75k Production and $10MM AUM ($4MM Fee based)
Year 2: $150k Production and $20MM AUM ($8MM Fee Based)
Year 3: $225k Production and $30MM AUM ($12MM Fee Based)

I'm working on my prospecting/marketing plan now, but I'd be lying to you if I claimed I have it all figured out where I'm going to get the business from.

I want to focus on the pre-retirement/retirement market, but don't most people?  I see a lot of opportunity focusing on 401(k) rollovers.  I have also though about trying to become "Baby BondGuy"  He seems to be doing quite well (on the other hand, he would do well in any area).

What type of specialization has the most opportunity?  I don't want to be too broad or too narrow when I say, "I do this....."  I like working with HNW professionals like doctors, but don't necessarily want to focus just on them.  Are the investment needs of a doctor significantly different than a chemical engineer?  I have no clue.  Maybe I'll be able to tell you in a few years.

Jul 28, 2009 1:15 pm

I agree, 10mm AUM in today's market?  That's tough to do for a new guy, I think.  Especially since MSSB has account minimums.  You might want to re-think those 401k rollovers or put a good plan in place to target those.  I've personally only seen two rollovers 150k plus so far since folks seemed to be MUCH more aggressive than needed in these plans.  Lots of money in CDs and MMs though. 

I am raiding the cookie jar on my local MSSB guy.  This dude has about the whole town in just 1 mutual fund.  C class.  No diversification.  Guy in the top ten list for my state in production.  Guess it was easy to pitch?

Good luck ... you better come out running and gunning.

Jul 28, 2009 1:40 pm
voltmoie:

I agree, 10mm AUM in today's market?  That's tough to do for a new guy, I think.  Especially since MSSB has account minimums.  You might want to re-think those 401k rollovers or put a good plan in place to target those.  I've personally only seen two rollovers 150k plus so far since folks seemed to be MUCH more aggressive than needed in these plans.  Lots of money in CDs and MMs though. 

I am raiding the cookie jar on my local MSSB guy.  This dude has about the whole town in just 1 mutual fund.  C class.  No diversification.  Guy in the top ten list for my state in production.  Guess it was easy to pitch?

Good luck ... you better come out running and gunning.


What did you pitch his clients?  A-shares?
Jul 28, 2009 1:52 pm
MBA2FA:

My goals (subject to change/modification) right now are as follows:

Year 1: $75k Production and $10MM AUM ($4MM Fee based)
Year 2: $150k Production and $20MM AUM ($8MM Fee Based)
Year 3: $225k Production and $30MM AUM ($12MM Fee Based)

 
$10 million assets and $6 million is non-fee based, and the production goal is only $75k?  You planning on putting that $6 million in cash to pay for the fees on the other $4 million or something?  I'm trying to guess how $10 mil of assets will convert to that little of production.  Although you are at the point still where you have no clue what pays you what.
Jul 28, 2009 1:53 pm

Whats the grid like there?

Jul 28, 2009 1:56 pm
iceco1d:

Those goals don't look like a walk-in-the-park to me (except the fee-based AUM bogey)...

 
No kidding, if he can get it as a 1st year advisor then I'll stick my size 14's in my mouth, but if he gets a client per week they must average $200,000 in assets to reach $10 mil by years end. 
Jul 28, 2009 2:10 pm

Perhaps a year from now I'll look back on these goals and say, "What was I thinking?"  For now, I want to be unrealistic as long as I can.  When I started out in pharma, I set ridiculous goals and achieved them.  As I look back, I would never set such impossible goals if I knew then what I know now.

Based on what I know, these goals are highly aggressive.  My BM thinks I can do it.  Perhaps he's ignorant, or just blowing smoke.  It's just nice to have someone believe it you.  It's nicer when that person is your boss.

The good thing about these goals are... even if I only perform at 50% of these numbers, I will still have a job.

Jul 28, 2009 2:13 pm
MBA2FA:

Perhaps a year from now I'll look back on these goals and say, "What was I thinking?"  For now, I want to be unrealistic as long as I can.  When I started out in pharma, I set ridiculous goals and achieved them.  As I look back, I would never set such impossible goals if I knew then what I know now.

Based on what I know, these goals are highly aggressive.  My BM thinks I can do it.  Perhaps he's ignorant, or just blowing smoke.  It's just nice to have someone believe it you.  It's nicer when that person is your boss.

The good thing about these goals are... even if I only perform at 50% of these numbers, I will still have a job.

 
Do those numbers include mortgages? I had a friend at Merrill that had similar goals, but they included mortgage...
Jul 28, 2009 2:21 pm

i just purchased my series 7 study materials online today....looks like we are in a very similar boat.  I'm not with MSSB but another firm very similar in structure.  I've basically been told by my BM that he will be keeping an eye on me and as stated in an earlier post, will be able to detirmine if i will make it or not.  Opening up enough accounts fast enough is really one of my only few concerns going into this business.  I'm confident in my product and i'm a very hard worker, I just need to come up with a plan to pitch enough prospects.  Actually more than enough prospects!

 
Good luck to you, it'll be interesting to hear how it turns out
Jul 28, 2009 2:35 pm

If you want a marketing/business development plan, read Tested in the Trenches right now.