Starting out Indy

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Jan 13, 2007 1:46 pm

I am considering starting my career with an Indy firm and would like some input regarding that choice. <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


I'll give you a little background. I am 27 years old and did not finish college, I left college to take part in a start up which over the course of five years became extremely successful and is now at the top of its respective market. I still hold a small equity stake but no longer work there. I have spent the past 2 years day trading and am fascinated by the financial markets. I feel like this may be the perfect time to begin my career, as I have absolutely no debt, have an excellent marriage with no kids and have a very low cost of living. I have interviewed with two wirehouses one of which immediately said no as a result of my lack of a college degree and the other brought me through four interviews only to say no. 


I do not require a salary and like the idea of building my business my way. I am smart, presentable and my sales ability was a major contributing factor to the success of my previous venture.


My question is whether you think starting out Indy is a viable alternative to the wirehouse for someone in my position.


Thank you very much for any responses and yes I have used the search button.

Jan 13, 2007 2:22 pm

Sounds like you have the perfect setup.  Like you, I too quit college to run my own business, I've found that with alot of firms the fact I dropped out of college is offset by the fact I ran a successful business for years.  I say you'd be foolish NOT to try it, you have a rare combination of factors that should allow you to try it stress-free, as long as you have the desire. 


 Some people make it because they have nothing to lose, others because they have EVERYTHING to lose if they fail.



Disclaimer:


I am a newbie, I do not have tons of AUM and I may be a little naive

Jan 13, 2007 6:18 pm

You have a lot going for you, but

1.)  Most indy firms will not sponsor you for the licenses without production.

2.)  You still will need to learn how to raise clients.

3.)  Your age MAY be a bit of a disadvantage if you look it...

4.)  You may find it challenging to deal with compliance issues without some industry experience.

Not to be a negative nelly, but these are all relevant issues.

Perhaps the best compromise would be if you could find an existing indy OSJ who would be willing to take you and and provide a little mentoring in exchange for an override.  I'd just start calling local offices if I were you.

Jan 13, 2007 6:59 pm

What Joe says, plus consider this.  It is very difficult to be an independent with no real support mechanisms. Most indy firms mean just that you are on your own. Sink or swim.  If you can partner with someone like Joe said that would be a good idea.


Failing that, there is always Edward Jones.  They will sponsor you, without a college degree, and train you.  There are a lot of downsides to Jones. (the search engine is your friend), but the upside is that you can get a pretty good start there and in a few years, when you are past your training commitment, decide if you want to stay or go indy.


Jan 14, 2007 12:01 pm
joedabrkr:

You have a lot going for you, but

1.)  Most indy firms will not sponsor you for the licenses without production.

2.)  You still will need to learn how to raise clients.

3.)  Your age MAY be a bit of a disadvantage if you look it...

4.)  You may find it challenging to deal with compliance issues without some industry experience.

Not to be a negative nelly, but these are all relevant issues.

Perhaps the best compromise would be if you could find an existing indy OSJ who would be willing to take you and and provide a little mentoring in exchange for an override.  I'd just start calling local offices if I were you.


1.) If I was in production wouldn't I already have my licenses?


2.) Yes, I do have a lot to learn about raising clients, however I do have a successful mentor who is willing to offer me guidance along the way.


3.) Everyone I have spoken with seems to think that my age will not be a factor. I don't look or act twenty seven, my peer group is made up mostly of small business owners in their fifties.(Golf buddies)


4.) I agree that compliance issues will be challenging for me but I am smart enough to know that I have a lot to learn.


I have recently submitted my application with Edward Jones and have read quite a bit regarding their business. I am not a big fan of Kool Aid parties but I also have no problem door knocking and agree that it may be a good way to gain some experience. I have also submitted my resume to Smith Barney and A.G. Edwards. I realize that if I struck out with UBS and Morgan Stanley my chances with Smith Barney are slim to none but it's always worth a shot, what's the worst they can say, no? I am meeting with my mentor next week who will be introducing me to a couple of local Indy outfits. Thank you all for your responses, I always appreciate any constructive criticism.

Jan 14, 2007 5:49 pm
12345:

1.) If I was in production wouldn't I already have my licenses?


7 years ago, when I went independent, as soon as I was serious about a company, the very first thing they asked, was what my 12 month production was.  You may be able to find a company that will work with you, but it won't be easy.


12345:

2.) Yes, I do have a lot to learn about raising clients, however I do have a successful mentor who is willing to offer me guidance along the way.


If the mentor is in a different office, it will be very difficult for you to work with him as much as you will likely need to.  You can't go to work where the mentor works? 


Your day trader experience is helpful, but there is a LOT to learn about running an investment business. 

Jan 15, 2007 1:22 pm
OldLady:

1.)7 years ago, when I went independent, as soon as I was serious about a company, the very first thing they asked, was what my 12 month production was.  You may be able to find a company that will work with you, but it won't be easy.


2.)If the mentor is in a different office, it will be very difficult for you to work with him as much as you will likely need to.  You can't go to work where the mentor works?


3.)Your day trader experience is helpful, but there is a LOT to learn about running an investment business. 



1.) If I wanted easy I would be pursuing a different career


2.) Unfortunately my mentor is about one hour away so it is not an option at this time.


3.) When I mentioned my day trading experience  it was to express my interest in the financial markets, not to say that I am qualified to be offering investment advice. I believe my entrepreneurial experience is more apllicable to running an investment business than my day trading experience is.


Jan 15, 2007 2:07 pm

1.) If I was in production wouldn't I already have my licenses?


This is sort of a catch 22 situation.  If you don't already have a Series 7 or Series 6 most independent firms don't want you.  They do not take the time to train you.  You are pretty much on your own. This is the definition of independent.  So if you don't have a Series 7 you won't have any production figures to show them.


A wirehouse, might take you on and train you.  You must have a sponsor to get your Series 7.  You can study on your own but you need a sponsor.  Most of the larger wirehouses want you to have a college degree, but given your entrepenureal history, that could be moot.   Firms such as Jones will take you in and train you, but you are then obligated to stay with them for several years so they can recoup the training costs. 


You will want an insurance license to be able to offer annuities, life and long term care insurance, especially if you plan to go independent.  Wirehouses will also want you to have an insurance license.  You don't need a sponsor to get an insurance license, so you might want to start there if you are some time away from going with a firm.

Jan 17, 2007 7:52 pm
babbling looney:

1.) If I was in production wouldn't I already have my licenses?


This is sort of a catch 22 situation.  If you don't already have a Series 7 or Series 6 most independent firms don't want you.  They do not take the time to train you.  You are pretty much on your own. This is the definition of independent.  So if you don't have a Series 7 you won't have any production figures to show them.


A wirehouse, might take you on and train you.  You must have a sponsor to get your Series 7.  You can study on your own but you need a sponsor.  Most of the larger wirehouses want you to have a college degree, but given your entrepenureal history, that could be moot.   Firms such as Jones will take you in and train you, but you are then obligated to stay with them for several years so they can recoup the training costs. 


You will want an insurance license to be able to offer annuities, life and long term care insurance, especially if you plan to go independent.  Wirehouses will also want you to have an insurance license.  You don't need a sponsor to get an insurance license, so you might want to start there if you are some time away from going with a firm.



Thank you for your advice. I will look into acquiring my insurance license in the meantime. 


What are your thoughts in regards to Wachovia Securities? I have read on this site that they sometimes offer placement as a "junior broker" on a team. It seems like that may be a good environment for any rookie. I have an interview with them in a couple of weeks, and would appreciate any insight on that position.


Its amazing how much information can be gathered from websites like this. My perception of what a F.A. does has changed quite a bit over the past few months. Fortunately for me, it has made me more interested and confident in pursuing this as a career choice.


Thank you all for your comments. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate all of the advice I receive here.

Jan 18, 2007 10:23 am

Man took me about 18 months to get the paperwork right with an indy. There are always challenges even if they want you it seems the B/D does not. Or at the minimum the B/D has a lot of questions. If the indy is successful they are pulling on a lot of liability. If they are busy how can they take time to help you? More then likely its a one man/woman shop... So it is much more easier for them to pick up an experienced RR with a few years under their belt.



Good thing I kept my job or else I would have been the McDonalds manager for a while.

Jan 18, 2007 12:23 pm
AirForce:

Man took me about 18 months to get the paperwork right with an indy. There are always challenges even if they want you it seems the B/D does not. Or at the minimum the B/D has a lot of questions. If the indy is successful they are pulling on a lot of liability. If they are busy how can they take time to help you? More then likely its a one man/woman shop... So it is much more easier for them to pick up an experienced RR with a few years under their belt.

Good thing I kept my job or else I would have been the McDonalds manager for a while.


Excellent points, I can see what you mean about them not wanting to train a "new new" when they could just go out and hire an experienced RR. Thank You for your input.

Jan 18, 2007 8:03 pm

On top of this I find the INDY's if they are still in bullish mode at age 30-40... They are not the best managers for a new RR. Many have left their wirehouse firms within 5-10 years and are in the 200-800k range (New England). They know how to do well as an indy, but probably did not specialize in managing a new RR.



Now if the individule has loyal clients and is 40-60 maybe they have lost a bit of that bull attitude and are focused on a transition. So then they think more about mentoring and management then the bull. Maybe they want someone who they know and trust with their wife... Well not that far, but you understand...



They spend a year or two having you do a lot of crap for them.. Crap being paperwork, meetings and other stuff related to the industry. Then they take a bit more time off and you manage the office. Then you start working with some of their lower end clients and the transition is in full action..



Either way starting out indy is a challenge. I know since I have worked with a few and it was a challenge to get just the tests complete...



Now at the same time I got some great offers with solid salaries and other small kickers, but the indy freedom and mindset, similar to my small business background works for me. So far things are fine and it looks like I will do well, but it is not easy.

Jan 20, 2007 8:35 pm

AF, what firm did you go with? I don't think I ever got that from your

previous posts.

Jan 20, 2007 10:49 pm

This may be totally in a different direction, but if you can afford to
live without a salary for a while, why not finish your degree.  To
this date prospects want to know what my education background is. 
Most, but not all, successful executives, doctors, lawyers, etc. want
to work with someone with at least a four year degree.




Jan 21, 2007 12:04 pm

I agree with illinoisrep, the Penn State degree on my wall has paid off -- and I got it going part-time.  If you don't mind putting in a couple years of grunt work for medium pay, you can easily start out at Ameriprise, they'll pay part of your licensing and sponsor you. Just quit and go indy when you figure out how to run your own business. At least you'll have the fringe benefits of being an employee, and a draw to work from while you learn the sales part.

Jan 21, 2007 3:11 pm
illinoisrep:

This may be totally in a different direction, but if you can afford to live without a salary for a while, why not finish your degree.  To this date prospects want to know what my education background is.  Most, but not all, successful executives, doctors, lawyers, etc. want to work with someone with at least a four year degree.



Lawyers? Why the hell would I want to do business with them in the first place.


I agree that doctors and successful executives would more than likely weigh heavily on a degree being that they were required to get one in order to get where they are however I feel that I could successfully build a book without them.


My target markets would consist primarily of small business owners. You might be surprised to know that a large percentage do not have degrees and don't give a sh*t what you have hanging on the wall. Having been a small business owner I never cared what a person's degree read, they were either smart or not and no amount of education can help that. The year and a half I spent at college with a 3.79 GPA was no match for learning business from the trenches. I think those of you that believe that the degree got you where you are should start giving yourself a little more credit especially in a sales job, no amount of college can create a salesman, you were born with it. If it could be attained through schooling they wouldn't pay you half as much.


Again you all make valid points and I greatly appreciate all of your input. Thank You.


"Don't let school get in the way of your education." - Mark Twain

Jan 21, 2007 3:43 pm

If you ever want to get your CFP license you will need the bachelors.  It might not seem like a priority now but getting your degree now  will allow you to pursue the CFP whenever you want.  You may find that later on you will be much busier with life than you are now.  Just a thought.

Jan 21, 2007 10:24 pm
DodgerDraftpick:

If you ever want to get your CFP license you will need the bachelors.  It might not seem like a priority now but getting your degree now  will allow you to pursue the CFP whenever you want.  You may find that later on you will be much busier with life than you are now.  Just a thought.



I thought that if I received my C.F.A I was not required to have a Bachelors. I maybe wrong.Not sure.

Jan 21, 2007 11:33 pm
DodgerDraftpick:

If you ever want to get your CFP license you will need the bachelors.  It might not seem like a priority now but getting your degree now  will allow you to pursue the CFP whenever you want.  You may find that later on you will be much busier with life than you are now.  Just a thought.



Hate to disagree but you do not have to have any college for a CFA, here is more info https://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprog/requirements/index.html


Jan 21, 2007 11:59 pm

You two must be alphabetically challenged...