Wachovia vs. merril,ubs, smith, ms

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Dec 14, 2008 1:04 pm

i was curiou as to what you guys thought is a better situation. do you guys think its better to be with wachovia in the branch where the clients would basically be provided or with a firm like merrill, ubs, ms, smith where you would have to prospect but you would get a higher payout. ive talked to some fa's in the industry and they have told me that in todays market it is extremely difficult to gain new clients and that they thought that working at a bank with a lower payout but having a good channel at clients would be more beneficial. your thoughts?

Dec 14, 2008 1:22 pm

If you want a job, go to the bank branch. If you want to build a business, don't go to the bank branch. 

Dec 14, 2008 1:23 pm

hey thanks hank....why do u say that? wouldnt i still be able to build a book at the bank?

Dec 14, 2008 3:29 pm

Oh that's a good point. I was thinking that during the interview but figured that this is a relationship business so if they trust me which they should then it wouldn't be a problem. Aside from that, do u see any other differences that u can point out for me

Dec 14, 2008 3:59 pm

What about the payouts

Dec 15, 2008 5:27 pm

"they have told me that in todays market it is extremely difficult to gain new clients"

 
THEY always say that, THEY say cold calling doesn't work. THEY wash out of this business 9 of 10 times.
 
If you are ready to fight to the death go to the wirehouse. If you want to wear gloves go to the bank.
Dec 15, 2008 5:35 pm

that is true. its also funny how the recruiters exagerate earnings and the ease in which to gain clients working at the branch

Dec 15, 2008 11:29 pm

Why would you go work for a company that couldn't manage it's own assets?  How would you gain a client's trust with a company that needed billions from the FED to cover thier own mis-managed money?

Dec 15, 2008 11:52 pm

that's a good point and I was thinking about that cuz I know that would be a concern of mine as a client but the fact of the matter is that ever firm had to take the money from tarp, even Goldman sachs.

Dec 20, 2008 5:38 pm
Hank Moody:

If you want a job, go to the bank branch. If you want to build a business, don't go to the bank branch. 

 
airisthere,
 
Hank Moody makes a tremendous point.  One that I have come to ascertain in my decade in the business.  Up to now, I have worked for others, making them money hand over fist.  I am at a point in my career when I am tired of making large, nameless, faceless corporations rich on my back and want to start pocketing the money for myself. 
 
Which brings me to the current fork in the road I am at in my career.  I have narrowed it down to going to a bank, or going to the wirehouse.  Initially I favored going to the bank and building a book with the bank clientele, then going indy and poaching said established book of clients for myself. 
 
I currently work in a pseudo-wholesaler capacity, so I work with very successful wirehouse and indy brokers on a daily basis.  Lately, I've told some of them of my intentions and picked their brains (heck, some of them might be reading my words right now!  If so, thanks guys!).  No better way than to become successful than to begin thinking like those who are successful by learning from them and their years and decades of experience. 
 
They basically said the same thing Hank Moody said.  Their main argument is twofold:
 
1.)  You don't want to burden yourself with too many clients that you either can't adequately service and become too much work and headache for yourself, or aren't as profitable.  So, you want fewer, larger ($$$) clients so you don't have to have as many clients to be profitable.  In other words, would you rather have 1,000 clients or 100 clients to make the same amount of money?  Obviously the latter.  Less work and service for the same money...or potentially more. 
 
With a book of bank clients you will have loads and loads of elderly clients with $50,000 in annuities.  I know, I used to work in a bank as a personal banker, so I saw the type of clients our investment rep had.  Or you can tighten your belt and start from scratch at a wirehouse or independent firm and court the RIGHT type of client that you would enjoy working with, and require fewer of to have the work environment (read: less hours) and income that you want.
 
2.)  Like someone else on this thread said - client loyalty.  At a bank, the bank customers will see you as a bank employee.  Should you leave....WHEN you leave...they will not feel the loyalty to follow you.  Sure, SOME will, but not many.  Industry average for reps leaving a firm and taking their clients is about 70%.  I've seen some levels as high as 90+%.  You'll be lucky to get 50% with bank clients, and that's very good!  Think more in line with 25-33%.
 
In my opinion, it boils down to YOU.  Do you want to just work a little and build a book that you can take with you to provide a foundation for future endeavors?  If so, take the bank route.  If not, if you are hungry and don't mind rolling up your sleeves and busting your ass for a few years and doing it RIGHT and building your very own business, then look at starting from scratch. 
 
That is where I find myself, asking myself the question - how badly do I want this?  Do I want to take the easy route and just take what I can get, or do I want to do it the right way with a lot more blood, sweat, tears, rejection and frustration for the chance at so much more?  I am tired of working for whatever income my employer is "generous" enough to give me, but I am also very lazy, so taking the bank route (the easy route) is appealing too.
 
Like I said, this is a very personal decision that none of us can't make for you or guide you toward.  We can only share our experience and knowledge to help you make the best decision for yourself. 
 
Hope this helps.  Merry Christmas and a Happy (and prosperous) New Year!
 
Dec 20, 2008 6:06 pm

I'm at ML and I've seen them cut the training program to just about nothing. We had 25-30 trainees and now have 5. Many of the ones that have been let go made their numbers but were behind because of the markets. I would suggest going to a different firm I don't think you can build a book at Merrill anymore they are looking to hire (recruit) million dollar producers and not trainees anymore.

Dec 20, 2008 6:12 pm

Interesting post, MerrillBanker.  I have a standing offer with ML and SB, and had been considering ML, however, with the BOA merger I have taken ML off the table.  I don't see anything good coming from the BOA acquisition and have a personal disdain against 'em. 

 
I would be interested in a similar post from some SB folks.  What's the culture like there during this market downturn toward newbies?  Are they shedding rookies?  Any insight from SB rookies is greatly appreciated!
Dec 25, 2008 12:22 am
MERRILLBANKER:

I'm at ML and I've seen them cut the training program to just about nothing. We had 25-30 trainees and now have 5. Many of the ones that have been let go made their numbers but were behind because of the markets. I would suggest going to a different firm I don't think you can build a book at Merrill anymore they are looking to hire (recruit) million dollar producers and not trainees anymore.

 
I just finished up with the final interview at ML and anticipate an offer soon.  I asked about the training program during my interview, and how they announced last week that they cut 400 trainees.  I was told, as I anticipated, that it would most likely not have an affect on this particular office.  "They wouldn't waste their time interviewing me if they didn't think they could hire/keep me."  However, no one knows anything anymore with this economy.  If a phone call / email comes across that all trainees must go, then "whoops," I guess, will be their answer.
 
Part of me really wants to work there.  The other part of me says, "Are you expletive crazy?!"  Sort of stuck right now...