Starting out at a bank?

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Jun 13, 2005 5:34 am

I am graduating in December at the age of 22 and would like to become and advisor/planner. I want to give myself the best chance to succeed in this industry and have been thinking of applying at banks (i.e. Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America) and going through their training programs. The reasons for these decisions are that they will give me a salary, some experience, pay for my education, and give me referrals. I figure after 5-10 years I can move on to ML, SSB, MS, or UBS and play with the big boys. I feel this way will give me the best chance to succeed in the long run rather than work for EJ or AMEX.

Please, any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Jun 13, 2005 8:44 am
Mario:

I am graduating in December at the age of 22 and would
like to become and advisor/planner. I want to give myself the best
chance to succeed in this industry and have been thinking of applying
at banks (i.e. Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America) and going
through their training programs. The reasons for these decisions are
that they will give me a salary, some experience, pay for my education,
and give me referrals. I figure after 5-10 years I can move on to ML,
SSB, MS, or UBS and play with the big boys. I feel this way will give
me the best chance to succeed in the long run rather than work for EJ
or AMEX.

Please, any comments would be greatly appreciated!





The "Big Boys" as you put it do not consider experience at a bank B/D
to be that transferable--for the reason you stated, referals are often
provided and banks have a captive audience of sorts.



I believe that what you'll find is that life in the banks is so
different--not necessarily easier, just different--that you'll never
get around to trying to leave.



I also think you'll find it somewhat difficult to get hired into a bank
program because they tend to look to their own people first--there have
always been relationship types and trust departments.  When they
do deign to violate their self-imposed "hire from within" policy they
have lots of resumes sitting around from people who already have
experience.  There is no shortage of lackluster brokers at the
wirehouses who would be more than happy to get one of those desks in a
bank lobby and flog mutual funds and various insurance policies.



A young person's best bet remains American Express or one of the traditional life companies.

Jun 13, 2005 12:00 pm
Put Trader:
Mario:

I am graduating in December at the age of 22 and would like to become and advisor/planner. I want to give myself the best chance to succeed in this industry and have been thinking of applying at banks (i.e. Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America) and going through their training programs. The reasons for these decisions are that they will give me a salary, some experience, pay for my education, and give me referrals. I figure after 5-10 years I can move on to ML, SSB, MS, or UBS and play with the big boys. I feel this way will give me the best chance to succeed in the long run rather than work for EJ or AMEX.

Please, any comments would be greatly appreciated!



The "Big Boys" as you put it do not consider experience at a bank B/D to be that transferable--for the reason you stated, referals are often provided and banks have a captive audience of sorts.

I believe that what you'll find is that life in the banks is so different--not necessarily easier, just different--that you'll never get around to trying to leave.

I also think you'll find it somewhat difficult to get hired into a bank program because they tend to look to their own people first--there have always been relationship types and trust departments.  When they do deign to violate their self-imposed "hire from within" policy they have lots of resumes sitting around from people who already have experience.  There is no shortage of lackluster brokers at the wirehouses who would be more than happy to get one of those desks in a bank lobby and flog mutual funds and various insurance policies.

A young person's best bet remains American Express or one of the traditional life companies.


You are only half correct, Put.


Banks tend to look externally for brokerage candidates.  They have realized the distinct differences between internal (salary only seekers) and external (commission whores).  Further, the "Big Boys" have also realized that the top sales professional in any sales profession has transferable sales skills.  Especially if that individual has sold intangibles.


The only thing that you got correct is that a young person's best bet is to start with AMEX or a traditional insurance company.


Jun 13, 2005 2:05 pm
Dewey Cheatham:

You are only half correct, Put.


Banks tend to look externally for brokerage candidates.  They
have realized the distinct differences between internal (salary only
seekers) and external (commission whores).  Further, the "Big
Boys" have also realized that the top sales professional in any sales
profession has transferable sales skills.  Especially if that
individual has sold intangibles.


The only thing that you got correct is that a young person's best bet is to start with AMEX or a traditional insurance company.





Banks have come around--somewhat--to the realization that they do not
"home grow" the type of personalities that excel as stockbrokers. 
However, they are still almost slavishly loyal to their belief that
they should promote from within whenever possible.



They have also come to realize that when they want to go outside they
can find brokers at wirehouses who are more than happy to make the
switch--brokers see banks as a place where they won't have to prospect,
and the reality is prospecting is anything but enjoyable.



From the brokerage side of the fence banks are thought to be refuges
for brokers who cannot make it at the wirehouses.  Wirehouse
managers who have any experience with their local bank B/D have
probably seen that bank hire a lackluster broker from their bullpen,
and as a result the manager decides that banks are not good training
grounds.



It is true that a manager at a wirehouse will be attracted to a
successful sales person from almost any discipline--especially
intangibles--but the wirehouse manager does not consider taking orders
for mutual funds and/or an annuity of some flavor as being a selling
challenge.



It is relatively easy to move from a wirehouse to a bank, and almost impossible to go the other way.

Jun 13, 2005 2:50 pm

Put,


You are wrong, again.  Brokerages DO hire bank brokers, especially when they have large books that can move along with them.  Why anyone would want to go from a bank to a wirehouse is beyond me however.  I am just as autonomous (or lake thereof) at the bank as I was at Merrill Lynch.  Did we have mandatory meetings at ML?  YES.  Have I had a mandatory meeting here?  YES.  Did I "own" my book at ML?  No.  Do I own my book here?  No.  Could I move it from either?  Yes.


Isn't Rightway a former bank broker?  I think you should ask him how much ML looks down on him, seeing as how they made him head of POA and all.

Jun 13, 2005 2:54 pm

Thank you Put and Dewey.  That is exactly what i was looking for.  I guess that AMEX would be a place for me to consider.  Nancy Jones wrote this in her book also but I hear so many bad things about them on this site.  I appreciate all of the input.

Jun 13, 2005 3:11 pm

AMEX Financial Advisors doesn't exist anymore.  It's now Ameriprise.

Jun 13, 2005 9:28 pm

Why is AMEX, now Ameriprise, such a good place for college grads to start?  I am trying to look at a situation from a consumer.  If a 22 yr old came to me right after high school and was trying to convince me that he had a plan for my future they better be from a company with integrity.  If AEFA just got phased out and then AMEX made them change their names, this does not seem like the kind of company that is stable.  If I were to go to a bank I can at least sell my bank since most people will not be sold on me.  While their I can get CPF, CHFC, CLU online and maybe even an MS Tax and MBA to go along with my undergrad in Finance.  Now if when I am about 30 I can go to people/firms with BABA, MBA, MS Tax, CFP, CHFC, CLU and about 8 years of experience as an advisor and sell myself as well as my firm.  This whole time I figure with a bank job they only work 40 hrs./week so I can try to get out in my community (Sacramento, CA) and do charity work as much as I can trying to establish a network of clients.  Maybe I am just some young 21 yr old who knows nothing, but to me this is a good plan!<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


By the way I would like to thank Put for his insightful comments, sometimes I believe they are a little malicious, but the good outweighs the bad.  I would also like to hear more from BankFC and also say thank you for your comments.


Jun 13, 2005 11:04 pm
Put Trader:





It is relatively easy to move from a wirehouse to a bank, and almost impossible to go the other way.





Its hard, but not impossible.  If anyone thinks they are going to
move 100 Mil. of mutual fund and annuities with average account sizes
of $150K from a bank to a wire...they are in for a very rude reality.



If they have larger client bases, and wish to compete with Trust Depts more than the retail arm...it can work.



The bank is good to get started, but my experience is that it was just
so limiting in so many ways.  They want to think this is changing,
and perhaps it is, but it is a slow moving process.  I think it is
the same old problem they were facing 15 years ago- the brokerage and
bank management cultures are too different.

Jun 14, 2005 4:57 pm

I've known some brokers who started at AMEX and then moved to other firms like Morgan or Merrill and they still say that AMEX had the best training program.


From what I've heard, it is more difficult to move clients from a bank book to another brokerage firm just because the 'relationship' issue is hard to overcome.  But, if you want to really learn the brokerage business, I don't think a bank can teach you that...unless you want to know more about fixed annuities.