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Jul 21, 2005 11:32 am

Hi, Advice on this forum seems diverse but respectable. Any opinions would be appreciated.


I am 45, retired, financially self-sufficient, and looking to get in this field for the long term. I will have my CFP this fall.


I like financial planning, but I also really enjoy wealth management and picking investments.


Any recommendations on getting started?


Thanks

Jul 21, 2005 11:52 am

You have two strikes against you at the start.  First, you are economically self-sufficient.  This is a very, very hard business to become established in.  Hunger is a great motivator.  Second, you want to pick stocks.  I have found over the years that you are either an asset gatherer or an investment manager.  It is extremely difficult to be good at both.  Asset gathering tends to pay better.


Now for your advantages.  You are 45.  Your age will give you credibility as will your life experiences.  You are economically self-sufficient.  You will be under no time constraint to fish or cut bait.  Also, you will not have to force a sale or be sucked into selling high commission products just to feed the family.  This will help in the long run.


Take your time and look for a firm that meshes well with your particular philosophy.

Jul 21, 2005 12:37 pm

I realize this is a customer/sales oriented business, but I think the contacts(physicians) I have developed over the years will make a big difference. I am pretty sure I can develop a good referral base over the next couple of years.


Office politics drive me crazy. I like to do things my way, even if its not the most profitable for the company. I believe in individual stocks and will not use any funds with front or back loading.


Should I start at a firm like Merrill Lynch or try opening my own office immediately.


If I open my own office, how do I get my series 7.


Thanks


Jul 21, 2005 12:54 pm

Check out Raymond James.  It is a great company with great management and a first class training program.

Jul 21, 2005 1:07 pm

Is a well known name like Merrill or SmithBarney useful.


Jul 21, 2005 1:53 pm

Not to be a wiseass- but what do you think??? Its my opinion that for someone just starting out that working for a widely recognized and respected firm is a nice advantage. It gives you credibility in the publics eye and can only assist you in building your business (unless of course your firm is facing lawsuits from AG's, SEC, etc, etc- then all bets are off)... Regarding your physician contacts, do you think you can have them make the transition from contact to client? I ask because I recently saw a "golden boy" new FA with TONS of contacts and a high profile in the community falter and ultimately get let go due to lack of production. He knew EVERYBODY but it simply did not translate into accounts being opened...

Jul 21, 2005 2:30 pm

quantum,


What part of the country your in?

Jul 21, 2005 3:32 pm

quantum - if you want to start up on your own you don't need the series 7 - it is only for employees of brokerage firms.


You could start your own Registered Investment Advisor firm and then use a discount brokerage (Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade are the major players) to custody your accounts and process your trades.  Basically the client has an account with this discount firm and you have a power of attorney over the account.  Your asset management fees get deducted from the client account quarterly and put into yours. 


Check any of their websites and look for the RIA or Institutional section of the site.  One problem you'll face is that these firms probably won't want to do business with you unless you've got $5MM or more in client assets.

Jul 21, 2005 7:39 pm

Thanks to those with constructive comments.


Are any of you on your own? I'm thinking it may not be worth the headaches to try and run my own office.


I met with SmithBarney manager today here in Orlando and am thinking of starting with them.  Is the revenue percentage negotiable? What % is normal for new hires?

Jul 21, 2005 7:48 pm
quantum:

Thanks to those with constructive comments.


Are any of you on your own? I'm thinking it may not be worth the headaches to try and run my own office.


I met with SmithBarney manager today here in Orlando and am thinking of starting with them.  Is the revenue percentage negotiable? What % is normal for new hires?



The only thing you can negotiate is your starting salary.  With no proof of production you have no leverage to negotiate the revenue percentage.  Even with proof of production you could really only negotiate bonuses, uses of a personal sales assistant, and certain overhead expenses.


Based on your previous post you might want to consider starting as a paraplanner with an independent rep.  Just a suggestion...

Jul 21, 2005 9:36 pm

I would be EXTREMELY careful about basing your entire book around
picking individual stocks.  You may want to rethink this.  I
don't know your background, but I firmly believe that a person has no
business managing a portfolio of individual stocks unless that person
has a PhD in porfolio theory, a CFA license, and at least 20 years on
the street.  Most big mutual fund managers have all of this, and
they still make some mistakes.  What makes you think you can do it?



Not trying to be a smart ass, I want you to realize that you can get
BURNED (SUED) really easily by doing business this way if you are ever
wrong.  You are taking on a huge amount of extra risk for no extra
reward.  Most mutual funds pay out to you annually, while a stock
sale is a one time hit.



I know stock picking is "fun", but this isn't recess.  Good luck and let us know what happens.

    

Jul 22, 2005 1:42 am
Scorpio:

I would be EXTREMELY careful about basing your entire book around
picking individual stocks.  You may want to rethink this.  I
don't know your background, but I firmly believe that a person has no
business managing a portfolio of individual stocks unless that person
has a PhD in porfolio theory, a CFA license, and at least 20 years on
the street.  Most big mutual fund managers have all of this, and
they still make some mistakes.  What makes you think you can do it?



Not trying to be a smart ass, I want you to realize that you can get
BURNED (SUED) really easily by doing business this way if you are ever
wrong.  You are taking on a huge amount of extra risk for no extra
reward.  Most mutual funds pay out to you annually, while a stock
sale is a one time hit.



I know stock picking is "fun", but this isn't recess.  Good luck and let us know what happens.

    





Plenty of portfolio managers out there have plenty of degrees and
certifications and can't pick stocks to save their lives...their funds
still end up sucking.



Certifications have little or no bearing on one's ability to select good performing investments........

Jul 22, 2005 9:09 am
joedabrkr:



Plenty of portfolio managers out there have plenty of degrees and certifications and can't pick stocks to save their lives...their funds still end up sucking.

Certifications have little or no bearing on one's ability to select good performing investments........


I understand that hiring portfolio managers with college educations does not guarantee that the person hired will be a good stock picker.


What I cannot understand is the logic iin arguing that not having a degree is an asset in any business.


Please explain that to me.

Jul 22, 2005 10:07 am

Stock picking is definitely not a science. I'm not conceited enough to believe I'm better at it then everyone else, I am acutely aware of the liability risks in this industry, and at the age of 45 I have learned the folly of believing in 'the sure thing'.


As I am new to the industry, I have come to this forum for useful tidbits on questions to ask, pitfalls to avoid, and options that should be explored. At this point in my life, I can emotionally and financially afford to make mistakes, but it is stupid to make major decisions without using all the resources available.


I have a sister who is a CPA, and a cousin who works at SmithBarney in Raleigh. I have heard their 'pearls of wisdom', but I feel the diversity of experiences on this forum can still be useful.


Old School - Thanks for the useful info. I have decided not to go independent or join a small firm. I like having a name behind me.


Dewey Cheatham -  "The only thing you can negotiate is your starting salary.  With no proof of production you have no leverage to negotiate the revenue percentage.  Even with proof of production you could really only negotiate bonuses, uses of a personal sales assistant, and certain overhead expenses." Good to know.


What is the typical revenue percentage?


Do I negotiate bonuses now or after I have started?


I learn extremely fast on my own if given enough resources. I do poorly with micromanagers who are unable to do the job themselves. I hear SB is better then ML in these situations. Any agreements or disagreements?


There are 2 SBs here in town. What are the important considerations in choosing between the 2?

Jul 22, 2005 10:32 am

Point of privilege.


If you are being made an offer by the manager of Branch A in a city do NOT talk to that manager about going to work at any other branch in that city.


That insults the manager and paints you as being ungrateful.


Accept the offer and go to work.  Later, like a year later, not a week, you can jockey for a change in offices.


The point is get the job first.  In interviewing everytime you open your mouth you run a better than even chance of screwing up.

Jul 22, 2005 11:59 am

What is the typical revenue percentage?  PLEASE SEE THE ATTACHED COMPENSATION ARTICLE FROM RR MAG WITH THE PAYOUT GRIDS FOR EACH MAJOR FIRM.


http://registeredrep.com/mag/financepraise_pruning/index.ht ml


Do I negotiate bonuses now or after I have started?


If you think that you are going to hit the ground running and hit certain benchmarks you can negotiate like a sports agent and say "If I hit this level at this point and time I would like this incentive."  Of course each firm has their own benchmarks but if you think you can hit them sooner and would like a better incentive package for doing so you should negotiate that up front.


There are 2 SBs here in town. What are the important considerations in choosing between the 2?


Proximity to your home.


Branch manager's influence and management style.


Average length of tenure of producers and sales assistants in the office.


Proximity to clients in your target market.

Jul 22, 2005 12:44 pm

Melvin - Excuse me- how can I know which branch to go to if I don't see both managers. I never said I was pitting them against each other.


Dewey Cheatham - Excellent information. You seem to be an independent from your postscript. Did you work for someone prior to going independent, and if so, why did you go independent?


Thanks again

Jul 22, 2005 2:51 pm

Quantum, definitely do not hesitate to talk with both managers.  Just let them know up front that you plan to do so, so that neither is blind-sided & feels you're going behind their backs.  Perhaps even say something like, "I want to get the broadest perspective and appreciation for Smith Barney, so plan to also talk with Manager Y -- would you have any objection to that?"


They'll appreciate that candor & responsible approach (if they feel you're being "ungrateful" as Put -- ahh, as Melvin said, that's the kind of weak, insecure manager you wouldn't want to work for anyway).  They'll actually perhaps be more interested in moving the process along more quickly, since they know there's some competition for you, assuming you're an attractive rookie candidate.

Jul 22, 2005 3:50 pm

Quantum,



I work for one of the companies you have been mentioning, and I'm not
sure that you will be entirely happy working for them given your
described situation.  In their eyes you are nothing more than an
asset gatherer.  Sure, your business card will say Financial
Consultant/Advisor, but that is a bunch of bs.  Your sole purpose
there will be to bring in assets, and charge your clients as much in
fees as you possibly can without making them jump ship. 



If you buy a stock for your client at $14 and it goes to $36 you will
never receive a "congratulations", a "good job Quantum", or even a pat
on the back.  You will only receive praise when you generate a
large amount of revenue in commissions.  And this is much easier
to do when your business is annuitized.



Just trying to give you a heads up so you know what to expect. 
The song and dance they give you in the interview is at best half-way
accurate...   

Jul 22, 2005 5:03 pm

I will be concentrating on the high net worth clients and the 1% yearly fee, so I am not concerned about commissions on individual trades