Waddell & Reed

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May 23, 2006 6:52 pm

I would first like to introduce myself to the boards.  I've been lurking for about a week now and you guys are really helpful with the knowledge that is provided on a daily basis. 


I'm a recent finance graduate and I'm wondering which direction should I head in.  I know I have the opportunity waiting for me to work in operations as an analyst, but I don't know if I want the 60 hrs/week workload, with a base salary and additional quarterly bonuses.  I have been doing a lot of research on financial advising, I and I have a 2nd interview coming up with Waddell & Reed.  From the opinions of people who post here and also the research I have done on the industry, financial advising and planning seems like what I want to do.  The only thing is I don't see WDR talked about on here, so I was wondering what the general consesus is on the company itself?

May 23, 2006 7:26 pm

Blow on the mirror.  If it fogs up and you don't get an offer you should give up on the industry.


W&R is a resume killer for those who are, or might become, qualified to be in the big leagues.


On the other hand, if you don't have what the big leagues want, and probably never will, W&R is not a bad place to learn to flog product.


But hear me out, it is damn near impossible to parlay Waddell and Reed into a future move to Smith Barney.


Everybody considering this industry should listen for a clue.  Pay attention to the licenses that are going to be required.  If you're told that you'll be expected to get a Series 6 ask why they don't ask you to get a Series 7.


You'll probably hear that all you need to sell what they sell is a Series 6. That's screaming, "Limited Product Line!" and you're not going to be happy there in a year or less.


If you're told that they want you to get a Series 6 right away and that they will sponsor you for a Series 7 later you're in a place that is going to want you to sell to your friends and family right away--with full expectations that you won't be able to do much more than that.


The reality is that any firm that does not expect their representatives to have a Series 7 license cannot possibly be a full service firm.


That is not to say that all firms who requre Series 7 are full service firms either--just that it is impossible to be a full service advisor without a Series 7.

May 23, 2006 7:48 pm

I may need to seek professional help, because I am going to agree twice in a row with BEF.


W&R actually has some decent funds, which is a good thing because that's all you will sell there.  Proprietary funds are bad enough in general (just ask Morgan Stanley or Ameriprise), but you dramatically reduce your viability as an adviser if you can only sell your own funds.


This may sound like no big deal, but good luck getting high-end clients with that restriction.  Even if you get a decent client, they will be tough to keep once I can explain the conflicts associated with proprietary funds.


May 24, 2006 9:23 am

Dude, you'll still put in 60+ hours at first as an FA, too. 


Being an analyst is not a bad gig.  I work with a number of Portfolio Managers who started as analysts and worked their way into that role.  Salary at that point will hit $115-150k + bonus/profit sharing, etc.  Just depends on where you'd like to be. 


And I agree with BEF - WDR is not what most would consider a top tier BD.

May 24, 2006 9:31 am

Ameriprise and Waddell Reed are resume killers.  And they are right, anyone can get an offer.  You need to go to a quality firm with a quality training program.  Start pursuing the reputable firms for offers.

May 25, 2006 10:41 am

thanks for the info guys, not exactly the news I wanted to hear, but its a good thing I heard this before I got into deep.

May 25, 2006 11:53 am
Proton:

I may need to seek professional help, because I am going to agree twice in a row with BEF.


W&R actually has some decent funds, which is a good thing because that's all you will sell there.  Proprietary funds are bad enough in general (just ask Morgan Stanley or Ameriprise), but you dramatically reduce your viability as an adviser if you can only sell your own funds.


This may sound like no big deal, but good luck getting high-end clients with that restriction.  Even if you get a decent client, they will be tough to keep once I can explain the conflicts associated with proprietary funds.



  good one!

I generally agree with both of you.

Having said that, if you can be a top quartile/decile producer at @&R or Amerprise or just about anywhere for a few years, you'll most likely be able to step up to a desk at a wirehouse when you're ready.  (presuming, too, that you have accumulated sufficient assets and a clean u-4).  Branch managers will be happy to take a producer with a proven track record.

Having said that keep in mind that

1.)  It's the longer/harder way to end up working at a more established firm.

2.)  You're like to experience a bit of 'culture shock' making that transition to a wirehouse.  Not to mention, you'd be changing from the big fish/smaller pond situation to a much more competitive situation where your production may not put you as high in the pecking order.

May 25, 2006 12:13 pm

Not a resume killer IMO, just hard to move clients when they are all stuck in prop. products. WR funds are hot this year and last. Every MF has a time, well most do.

Jun 3, 2006 12:40 pm

Waddell and Reed is trash.  I understand their funds are doing well, and they will try and sell you on that when you interview, but what happens when these funds aren't hot anymore?  Who's to guarantee that they will have other hot funds to offer, and as stated above, that is all you will be allowed to offer. 


The main reason I speak so harshly of them is this: I decided about 2 months ago to try and break into the industry as a FA myself.  I had a fantastic interview with some great people at WDR (only there because my resume wasn't getting responses from the big boys like MS, UBS, SB, etc..) and was sold on the training and support they offer, thinking I could learn there, then move on.  I took the tests, scored well, and was never called back.  I called and the woman I interviewed with and she claimed she called and left a message, and there was some questions about the test she wanted to clear with the testing company.  She said she would call back within the week, with or without her answers.  Never called.  I called and left 2 different messages and am still waiting for the call back from that poorly managed and pathetically unprofessional organization who claimed they really liked me and seemed excited to move me along to the hiring process.


Lucky for me, I got smart in the last 2 months, got on the horn and sold myself to the big companies, and have unoffically been offered a position with one of them, pending my background check.  I would suggest you do the same if you are really interested in becoming a FA, since you will have to put in 60+ hrs/wk no matter where you start.

Jan 25, 2007 2:26 am

Just to clear things up BEF you do need a 7 to work at W & R if you are starting from scratch in the industry.  The biggest issue is the limited product selection.  To compound matters they don't have any fee based capabilities as in 0.  What everyone has said so far is very accurate.  I know  because a good friend of mine started and is still there.  If you think that you can land any kind of HNW client then you would probably be better finding a LPL or Commonwealth office looking for rep to come in and learn.  You would just have to make sure that you got solid training.  Another huge drawback at WR is your insurance situation.  Their strategic partner is Nationwide not my idea of a top tier insurance company.  And for a GA they run their business through Bisys which from what I understand can be quite a zoo.  Hope that helps anyone looking for some info.

Jan 26, 2007 12:35 pm
joedabrkr:
Proton:

I may need to seek professional help, because I am going to agree twice in a row with BEF.


W&R actually has some decent funds, which is a good thing because that's all you will sell there.  Proprietary funds are bad enough in general (just ask Morgan Stanley or Ameriprise), but you dramatically reduce your viability as an adviser if you can only sell your own funds.


This may sound like no big deal, but good luck getting high-end clients with that restriction.  Even if you get a decent client, they will be tough to keep once I can explain the conflicts associated with proprietary funds.






Having said that, if you can be a top quartile/decile producer at @&R or Amerprise or just about anywhere for a few years, you'll most likely be able to step up to a desk at a wirehouse when you're ready.  (presuming, too, that you have accumulated sufficient assets and a clean u-4).  Branch managers will be happy to take a producer with a proven track record.



Good point. AGE has a history of taking brokers from penny stock firms.

Jan 26, 2007 12:51 pm

I'm not an FA, but I have some experience in dealing with W&R.

They invited me to interview, and I accepted.  The day of the interview, I get a call from the guy who says "hey, I never got a confirmation call from you, so I'm gonna assume you either don't want the position or couldn't make it."

I was never told I had to give a confirmation call.  Supposedly his "secretary called me and told me to call the week of the interview to confirm," which never happened.

So anyway, I let that go and rescheduled for the next week.  We agree to meet in a parking lot outside of Bennigans, cause he was passing through my area.  I wait in the parking lot for 30 minutes, call his cell twice, called again and left a message saying I was there waiting and wondering where he was.  He never even called me back to explain anything.  Just cut off communication.

It was very unprofessional on his part and sure gives me a bad impression of his company.

Jan 26, 2007 2:42 pm

   Just to clear up the misinformation, you MUST obtain the insurance license, series 7, and the series 66 to work for Waddell & Reed.  They carry over 50 non-prop funds (looks like all but Vanagard for some reason).  They sell a full line of insurance products, and 90% of the brokers on this forum hate them.  It's kinda like in high school when all the jocks pick on the nerd, and everyone knows how that story plays out over the long run.  Granted they are not upper-echlon in the business, but from a fundemental stand point W&R is a very efficiently run company. 

Jan 30, 2007 4:00 am

Efficient for them as a company.  I am not so sure I would say they are efficient for a FA.  Then again if you are planning on just getting prospects that are middle class you can probably do good.  If you ever plan on getting big clients though you will find out how tough it will be with them.

Jan 30, 2007 12:17 pm

   Well, being only 24 it is going to be hard to get "big clients" any place you work.  No, Waddell and Reed is not even in the top half of brokerage firms and they do have limitations on what they offer, and no one has heard of them.  For me though it's a start, it gets me out of the retail world were I sold Lawn Mowers for a living.  I do not plan on being at Waddell forever but I am thankful that I have this opportunity now. 



Jan 30, 2007 12:36 pm

http://www.waddell.com/jsp/index.jsp?top=8&side=4&in ner=1&subinner=0&supersub=0&pagetitle=Compensati on&wdrid=waddell


They advertise their frequent use of c-shares on their Careers>Compensation page. Bad company.

Jan 30, 2007 12:51 pm
WADRED:

   Well, being only 24 it is going to be hard to get "big clients" any place you work.  No, Waddell and Reed is not even in the top half of brokerage firms and they do have limitations on what they offer, and no one has heard of them.  For me though it's a start, it gets me out of the retail world were I sold Lawn Mowers for a living.  I do not plan on being at Waddell forever but I am thankful that I have this opportunity now. 



Former lawn mower salesman?

Have you ever considered a career with Edward Jones?

Jan 30, 2007 2:24 pm

No, he would have had to own his own lawn mowing biz for us to be interested.

Jan 30, 2007 2:28 pm

Joe that was too funny.       Seriously though at least he is in the industry and started on the right direction.

Jan 30, 2007 2:54 pm
DodgerDraftpick:

Joe that was too funny.       Seriously though at least he is in the industry and started on the right direction.



The right direction would be when he posts that he's LEAVING W&R to go just about ANYWHERE else....