Traditional SB wirehouse vs Citibank SB brokerage

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May 8, 2008 3:19 am

Here's the deal.  Im currently at a traditional Smith Barney wirehouse in FL and several months in production.  I haven't had much instant success with my asset levels and production levels, but better than average compared to everyone in my class.  I don't see any huge accounts in the near future, but who knows what might surface.


Recently, there was an opening in my region at a SB citibank brokerage in Tampa and I heard that the area manager is open to taking young person at the traditional SB wirehouse w/ the most latest and greatest training from our FA training program.  I believe I would fit that description.  If that was a possibility, I would be able to inherit a bank branch's current book of clients instantly (tens of millions of $) w/ relatively the same payout I have now w/out the bonus levels.
 

My questions:



Should I try approaching this oppurtunity through my branch mgr or the area manager? 
If this was a realistic option, is it a better one than I am in now?
If I were to take this position, does anyone know how difficult it would be to transition to the wirehouse years later from the bank brokerage side?
May 8, 2008 6:31 am
The proper way to do this is to speak with your BOM first, then WITH HIS OR HER PERMISSION, meet with the AIM (area investment manager). If you go directly to the AIM, without speaking with your BOM, who invested a lot of money in your training that comes off his bottom line, you will really piss him off
 
My opinion, only my opinion, is that its a great way to start in the business. Especially with Citi, since you will still be an SB FA with all the same platforms. But it doesnt mean you should get complacent. Dont count on the bank clients just falling into your lap. You need to work it, and you still need to be out in the community meeting business owners and other prospects. Also remember that the bank customer is very different from the wirehosue customer. They tend to be less risk oriented.
 
I think with the connection between Citi and SB, you can always go back, BUT, dont discount the possibility that Citi could sell SB, no matter what our NEW fearless leader says in public. But then you could transition anyway, and get a check to boot.
Good luck.
May 8, 2008 10:08 am

What types of synergies exist between Citi and SB?  Does the banking and lending side provide any leads/prospects to the wirehouse or is that all handled in the banking channel?  Are clients encouraged to "graduate" to SB once they reach a certain size or are the clients of Citi and SB separate and distinct?  Citi is huge and I was wondering what other advantages, if any, this would have for an SB advisor outside of product offerings.  The same question applies to Wachovia Bank and Wachovia Securities, if anyone is familiar with how they operate.  Thanks in advance for any insight.

May 8, 2008 8:42 pm

The synergies are the reverse of what you describel.

The lending is done by Citibank. SB FA's do mortgages, HELOCS, commercial lending, tailored lending, all kinds of lending, for their clients, thru Citibank. More precisely, they refer these clients to Citi for their lending needs and are paid what I guess you wouold call a finders fee.
Those are the synergies between SB and Citibank. If you are referring to Citigroup, then its other things. Alternative investments are one example.
 
May 9, 2008 3:34 am

One thing I forgot to mention was that I recently changed BOM a month ago and he has gone on an axing spree for new FA's and even put some old school underperforming producers on a warning.  He let us all know that the branch is unprofitable and that he's looking to reduce salary costs to increase the bottom line.  Pretty much cutting the fat.

 
With that said, I don't think he'd mind to get my salary off the books.  Yes, the branch paid for my training but those are already sunk costs.  He can't change those figures and can control what he does now with everyone else.  He's canned several sales assistants and had given the the ones left over more responsibility for other FA's in the office.
 
One thing I can say is that there is a chance I could go back to the traditional SB wirehouse, but definitely I can't go back and bring back the clients I had at the bank.  To my understanding those clients are "owned" by the branch and not the FA.  So the only way that I would be able to take them with me is go independent or to get a check some day from another wirehouse willing to write it.