Whats a better move? Nat or Regional firm

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Apr 13, 2007 3:04 am

Okay, well i've been in the biz the last 8 months and have been doing relatively well and I am the lone survivor of "new" F.A.'s from my group (everyone both young and old has been let go since then.)


Before I move on, let me refresh my situation:


I am working at a small to mid sized regional firm that specializes in bonds or fixed income investments.  Apparently that is the niche, however, the firm is full service and my business plan has been centered more towards building traditional portfolios.


Most people within our cities are not cognizant of our name, therefore, prospecting new relationships is a difficult task.  We don't have a proper "brand," so in order to compete at all I brand myself first and have them trust the company I work for second... not the other way around.


The Dilemma:


I am in a quandry right now, very uncertain of the future. I feel that although I have been meeting or exceeding my goals to date, I don't think I am accomplishing much.  


For one, I feel the goals we have are very low in comparison to other national wirehouse firms.  But perhaps the lower goals are justified because new business is harder to find given the fact we are not nationally recognized and probably our resources aren't up to par with the big boys.  But make no mistake, there are some guys in this firm that are making a lot of money, but simply put, none of the new ones are.


I know that I am very safe as of now and am not on the radar to get the boot anytime soon.  The benefit of being here is that I will be given more time and patience to build my book. The problem is that I feel that perhaps with the proper branding, resources, and training of a national firm my $2.5 AUM I gathered so far could arguably equate to 4-5 AUM at a different outfit.  But the tradeoff is that if I don't produce as fast, the national firm will have less patience and I'll be kicked to the curb faster than I got in.


Furthermore, to expand on that idea my problem is that if I decided to stay here another 1-3 years and later on decide to go somewhere else, another wirehouse won't even open the door because I haven't been shown much in AUM as someone whose been in the industry as long as me.


With this in mind, would I be better off taking a chance to go to a nat. firm now while Im still considered "new" with potential and risk getting fired sooner or should I stay put and just try to build on what I have now.  Perhaps if I wait 3-4 years to reach at least a 20 AUM benchmark I might be able to move somewhere else.  Any advice would be helpful.  Thanks!

Apr 13, 2007 3:31 am

Btw, my main prospecting technique is cold calling.  I know that many new advisors at some point will do this, but I have been taught a different way.


I usually push product on my calls with the real goal of fact finding rather than actually believing I will close the deal (although that would be great.)  After several contacts, I try to set up appointments in order to close some time of deal in person. 


I have 3-4 advisors I used to work with that moved to the UBS's, Merril Lynch's, and Morgan Stanleys' of the world and say that my tactics would be laughed upon if I did it at their firm.  Mainly, they told me they have a "professional" approach and call for appointments rather than push product down their throats. 


My follow up calls usually are call backs to show something else to drive more interest.  If the interest is still present, I push for an appointment.  At the appointment I don't even talk about the product that merited me the invitation into their homes. I do a traditional approach by asking questions about goals, experience, time horizon, yada yada yada.  Rarely do I even sell the product, but rather try to bring the whole account over b/c I find a better solution.  So I guess, are my methods considered too "boiler roomish"?  I must admit, I do get aggressive on the phone and make responses to objections like I am in a boiler room.  Would this turn off a lot of advisors at your office?


Anyway, my point is that my techniques are surely different from what a new trainee at the bigger firms approach things.  Would this be a prelude to a bad reputation in the office?  The last thing I would need is to be considered a boiler room type of guy. 

Apr 13, 2007 10:11 am

I will keep this simple and to the point-



Don't get so caught up in whether or not your firm is known to
investors when you first call, especially if you're growing your assets
anyway.  Often an unknown firm gives you the opportunity to define
who they are in the prospect's mind.  OTOH, everybody knows about
the lawsuits that have been filed against SmithBarney, Morgan, and
Merrill over the years because they've read about them in the papers.



I think it would be unwise of you to change firms after 8 months on the
job.  It's just plain common sense.  You will lose a large
portion of your clients because you have not had the time to build a
strong bond with them.  Plus, many of them could be working with
you because they prefer to give their business to a smaller local firm
as opposed to a big national wirehouse.



If your approach is working and it is legal and ethical, why mess with
it?  It sounds like you are using a fairly logical and streamlined
process that should be effective for a new rep who needs to build
assets quickly.  Who CARES what your friends think?  Are they
bringing in new assets as quickly as you are?

Apr 13, 2007 11:31 am
young_gun:

Okay, well i've been in the biz the last 8 months and have been doing relatively well and I am the lone survivor of "new" F.A.'s from my group (everyone both young and old has been let go since then.)


Before I move on, let me refresh my situation:


I am working at a small to mid sized regional firm that specializes in bonds or fixed income investments.  Apparently that is the niche, however, the firm is full service and my business plan has been centered more towards building traditional portfolios.


Most people within our cities are not cognizant of our name, therefore, prospecting new relationships is a difficult task.  We don't have a proper "brand," so in order to compete at all I brand myself first and have them trust the company I work for second... not the other way around.


The Dilemma:


I am in a quandry right now, very uncertain of the future. I feel that although I have been meeting or exceeding my goals to date, I don't think I am accomplishing much.  


For one, I feel the goals we have are very low in comparison to other national wirehouse firms.  But perhaps the lower goals are justified because new business is harder to find given the fact we are not nationally recognized and probably our resources aren't up to par with the big boys.  But make no mistake, there are some guys in this firm that are making a lot of money, but simply put, none of the new ones are.


I know that I am very safe as of now and am not on the radar to get the boot anytime soon.  The benefit of being here is that I will be given more time and patience to build my book. The problem is that I feel that perhaps with the proper branding, resources, and training of a national firm my $2.5 AUM I gathered so far could arguably equate to 4-5 AUM at a different outfit.  But the tradeoff is that if I don't produce as fast, the national firm will have less patience and I'll be kicked to the curb faster than I got in.


Furthermore, to expand on that idea my problem is that if I decided to stay here another 1-3 years and later on decide to go somewhere else, another wirehouse won't even open the door because I haven't been shown much in AUM as someone whose been in the industry as long as me.


With this in mind, would I be better off taking a chance to go to a nat. firm now while Im still considered "new" with potential and risk getting fired sooner or should I stay put and just try to build on what I have now.  Perhaps if I wait 3-4 years to reach at least a 20 AUM benchmark I might be able to move somewhere else.  Any advice would be helpful.  Thanks!



I agree with Joe's take. The name on the front door is not a major factor. I spent most of my career at a major wirehouse and can tell you for a fact that the help you'll get from "Branding" and name recognition is overated. It's also a double edged sword when the big name company gets caught doing something boneheaded, like cheating clients. At the end of the day success at a large wire resides in exactly the same place as a small regional, with the FA.


As you move forward your asset gain should pick up as critical mass is reached. You're not there yet. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with your prospecting technique, as you've discribed it. Some of the biggest producers in our industry, Martin Shafiroff, Ira Walker to name just two, did it exactly the same way that you are doing it.


Use the unknown status of your firm's name to your advantage by creating an air of exclusivity. If the no name status of your firm comes up say this "My firm is a wealth management firm that deals only with the wealthiest people in the country. Frankly, we have no reason to advertise." And only to any real jerks add this" Tell me Mr. Jones, for the right investment situation, how long would it take you to raise a million dollars?" When the jerk stutters, tell'em "Sorry Mr. Jones for taking your time, apparently you don't qualify for our services or expertise. have good evening." Click dialtone.


Have fun!


Good luck!

Apr 13, 2007 7:08 pm

Bondguy:


"And only to any real jerks add this" Tell me Mr. Jones, for the right investment situation, how long would it take you to raise a million dollars?" When the jerk stutters, tell'em "Sorry Mr. Jones for taking your time, apparently you don't qualify for our services or expertise. have good evening." Click dialtone."


-----------------------------


   Sweet!

Apr 13, 2007 10:40 pm
young_gun:

Btw, my main prospecting technique is cold calling.  I know that many new advisors at some point will do this, but I have been taught a different way.


I usually push product on my calls with the real goal of fact finding rather than actually believing I will close the deal (although that would be great.)  After several contacts, I try to set up appointments in order to close some time of deal in person. 


I have 3-4 advisors I used to work with that moved to the UBS's, Merril Lynch's, and Morgan Stanleys' of the world and say that my tactics would be laughed upon if I did it at their firm.  Mainly, they told me they have a "professional" approach and call for appointments rather than push product down their throats. 


My follow up calls usually are call backs to show something else to drive more interest.  If the interest is still present, I push for an appointment.  At the appointment I don't even talk about the product that merited me the invitation into their homes. I do a traditional approach by asking questions about goals, experience, time horizon, yada yada yada.  Rarely do I even sell the product, but rather try to bring the whole account over b/c I find a better solution.  So I guess, are my methods considered too "boiler roomish"?  I must admit, I do get aggressive on the phone and make responses to objections like I am in a boiler room.  Would this turn off a lot of advisors at your office?


Anyway, my point is that my techniques are surely different from what a new trainee at the bigger firms approach things.  Would this be a prelude to a bad reputation in the office?  The last thing I would need is to be considered a boiler room type of guy. 



Young Gun, I can't answer your question about having more success at a national firm, I'm not even in production yet. However, I want to address the question you asked about your cold calling approach fitting in at one of the big wirehouses. I am in a training program at one of the firms mentioned above and I believe any manager worth his salt is not going to look down on your cold calling techniques as long you are bringing in the money. "Professional Approach"? How is calling with a product and trying to close on the phone any less professional than calling and closing for a meeting? I don't think one is any less professional than the other as long as you approach it in a professional manner. As far as the boiler room tactics, if they help you increase your sales, more power to you. Just remember, everyone in the wealth management business is a salesperson. It doesn't matter if you use a commission, fee-based, or fee-only model. We are all selling something.