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Oct 2, 2005 10:33 pm

I am currently a paraplanner for a small indy comprehensive financial planning firm and am ready to take the plunge into full service.  I do not want to go into production there since they are small and can not give me the support and training I want and need.  My resume is pretty solid - Series 7, 63 and Group I licenses, as I stated above 7 yrs exp and am a CFP candidate.


My dilemma is that I do not know whether to go to a larger comprehensive planning firm or to start in a wirehouse.  I want my cake and eat it too.  I want second to none training in financial planning and also very good training in prospecting and marketing myself.  I was all but decided to go to a Raymond James or AG Edwards, but one of my CFP teachers (who is also a top producer in the biz) said I would be better served starting at a wirehouse and letting them teach me the ropes and then one day taking that book with me either indy or to a more comprehensive firm.  He said probably the best wirehouses for me to go start at would be Smith Barney or  Merrill (Lynch, for those of you at AMEX...wait, excuse me AMERIPRISE!).  I raised the objection about higher AUM requirements, but he said that they have those goals because they have the name brand and can teach me to get those dollars.


So, do I go with a Raymond James or AG Edwards, a comprehensive planning firm, or a wirehouse?  And if a wirehouse, which one?  Also, what about taking over an orphaned Edward Jones office?  A classmate in my CFP program is trying to talk me into it and is hooking me up with an HR person specifically with that in mind.


Your input is greatly appreciated.

Oct 3, 2005 12:10 pm

If your CFP teacher's reference to learning the ropes meant training, then he doesn't know anything about Edwards or RJ.  Both firms (like the wirehouses) have full training programs for rookies.  (Caveat: the rookie training referenced for RJ would be for it's NYSE firm, Raymond James & Associates.  The RJ indy side (RJFS), like most indy firms ,doesn't directly provide rookie training, although there is the flexibility for an RJFS manager to send a rookie through the RJ&A training program if they pick up the cost for it.)


Re RJ, if your ultimate desire is to go indy you can start at RJ&A, build your book, & then when you're ready you can transfer to their indy side (RJFS).  Obviously that's a much smoother & hassle-free transition than going to Merrill, etc. and then having to change b/ds & fight them over your contractual obligations to them should you later want to go indy.

Oct 3, 2005 12:14 pm

Well, it is a simple question.  Can you prospect?  Do you have relationships?  NOONE anywhere is going to hand you a book no matter how smart you are.  The home office is full of CFPs who can't manage client relationships OR cannot cold call.  You need to bring at least $4m your first year.  If you can do that, go to RJ they have great management, products, and training.


If you can't, go to a bank.  Noone at SB or ML is going to hand their books over.  You would have to pay big for it.


good luck