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Jul 11, 2007 11:44 pm

I am a career changer in my late 30's getting started in the business. I am coming from owning my own business. I was successful in my business and have sold it. I have read plenty of posts regarding what is required for success in the business and the idea of hard work doesn't scare me off. By starting my own business I realized that you need to put in the hours and the time to be successful.


All that said I want opinions on what the best way is to get started in the business. Keep in mind that I am not a new college graduate. Does that mean that the wirehouse or bank route is closed? If not what is the best way bank, independent, or wirehouse?


I appreciate all the experience here and I'm sure you guys will beat me up some. I have a thick skin. I only ask that you give me your honest opinion regarding the question. 


Jul 12, 2007 12:03 am

I'll answer your question if you answer mine.


Here's my answer:  Best way to get started in the business is to call every single brokerage firm in your city/town and ask for the manager.  Get them a resume and then get an appointment.  If you are as you say a successful business owner, then they will see that and hire you.


Here's my question:  If you sold your business, why are you looking to do this? Shouldn't you be retired and on a beach somewhere?

Jul 12, 2007 12:07 pm

I didn't sell a billion dollar software company. Most small businesses are not worth enough when they are sold to provide income for the rest of your life. As a matter of fact that is a mistake that many business owners make in retirement planning; they think their business will take care of them when they retire. In addition there were factors such as changing regulation and demographics that led me to want to make a change. I hope that answers the question you asked me.


Now, as to your reply. You seem to say that I should accept whatever position is offered to me and be grateful that they offered it. OK, say I am what i say and i am offered a position at an independent, a  wirehouse, and bank. Which is the best route to pursue?

Jul 12, 2007 12:16 pm

Shoredog, you should peruse through some old posts and get a feel for

what sort of lifestyle you want, etc. There is a BIG difference between

being independant and being in an y other channel. Being a former

business owner, that may have a big impact on your decision (owner or

employee).



However, understand that starting out independant with no experience

and no book is virtually impossible (unless you have contacts, developed

network, or latch on to an existing office to get your foot in the business),

especially if you don't really know the business yet. There is no "training

manual" like when you buy a franchise.



Jul 12, 2007 12:26 pm

Thanks Broker24


I know that the independent channel might be the most difficult with no training program. That being said what are the big differences between a bank and wirehouse channel?


As far as my lifestyle, I expect 3- 5 years of really hard work to be successful. I don't have a problem with authority and will work in any channel that allows me the greatest opportunity for success. I can't imagine any boss demanding more of me than I had to demand of myself when I worked on my own.

Jul 12, 2007 1:01 pm

I came from a similar situation to you.  Owned a business, then sold it and made the career change.  The only difference is that I'm a little bit younger.


The wirehouse and banking channels are definitely still open to you.  I think that you'd actually be more desirable having owned a business.  I know they asked me a lot about that during the interviews.  I work at a wirehouse now.


What Ferris said is correct, start calling every firm that you might be interested in.  Once you start interviewing, you'll get a better feel for what will be a better fit for you.  No matter where you go, prepare to work hard.  It's a lot like starting up a business.  Sure you are an employee, but if you don't find clients and generate revenue, you're done.  The pressure is the same.


One thing I would recommend is keeping in touch with your old contacts from your business.  Many of those people probably have money, and they can also be a valuable source of referrals.  It will help supplement your other prospecting. 



ShoreDog:

I am a career changer in my late 30's getting started in the business. I am coming from owning my own business. I was successful in my business and have sold it. I have read plenty of posts regarding what is required for success in the business and the idea of hard work doesn't scare me off. By starting my own business I realized that you need to put in the hours and the time to be successful.


All that said I want opinions on what the best way is to get started in the business. Keep in mind that I am not a new college graduate. Does that mean that the wirehouse or bank route is closed? If not what is the best way bank, independent, or wirehouse?


I appreciate all the experience here and I'm sure you guys will beat me up some. I have a thick skin. I only ask that you give me your honest opinion regarding the question. 


Jul 12, 2007 3:10 pm

ShoreDog - I would go the wirehouse route.  Make sure you get a good feel for the branch manager.  But keep in mind that manager may be on to another post sooner rather than later.


If you know someone in the business, teaming up may be a good way to start out as well. 

Jul 12, 2007 4:26 pm

I'll answer this way: 34 years ago I started a basement waterproofing company. Like most small business owners I worked my butt off. And it paid off big time. I managed to pay off the seed money providers and five years in found my self with a seven figure bank account. I did a few smart things with that money and one very stupid thing. The stupid thing I did was start another company, a contract helicopter charter service and flight school. It only took about 3 years to run through all the money. To keep things going over at Money Pit Copters and to prove that there is no hope for true believers,  I sold my basement waterproofing company. With six helicopters, 15 employees, and carrying costs of almost $40,000 a month, it didn't take long to run through that money. I then borrowed money for about a year, but still couldn't make it work. I folded the company and ended up penniless. I did have some real estate tied up in a limited partnership that would pay off big time years later, but at the time as far as spendable buy the groceries cash I was broke.


 I then proceeded to search for another business. A prime requirement was that it have no top end on income. Another was that it not require a capital investment. Capital, even to put gas in the car, was hard to come by. I found this business. And it is all those things, no capital, no limit. I was 31 years old when I started in this business.


Thank you for taking the time to read my story. It is my way of telling you that you are a no excuses top candidate for this business. You understand the work ethic needed to bring success. You are exactly what top firms are looking for.


As for where to start? I'd start at a major firm. A wirehouse, as we call them. Merrill, UBS, Smith Barney, and Morgan Stanley offer the industry's top training programs. The training combined with the high hoop demands these companys will require of you will give a solid foundation for success. Once trained and on stable ground, five to seven years out, you can look at other opportunities within the field, such as becoming an independent.


I would recommend against starting with a bank. Years ago banks were populated by those who had failed at wirehouses. This is no longer the case, yet the problem I see with the banks is the localized nature of the quality of training and support you'll receive. Banks operating within the same geographic areas will have training programs, support, training salary, and production requirements that range from excellent to horrible. And even the best are not as good as what you'll get at a wirehouse. There is no way to tell how good a bank program is from the outside looking in. Some banks require their Financial Reps  hand over any accoounts over a certain amount, $500,000 for example, to either their high net worth divisions or trust departments. This leaves the rep with a serious impediment to building a large practice. Another point to consider is that most banks pay less than the wires. For these reasons I'd scratch banks off the list.


Independent? I'm sure it can be done but next to impossible. No salary, no support, all the running a small business responsibilitites on top of trying to build a practice in an area you know little or nothing about. Sounds to me a lot like the beating blades of an under capitalized helicopter company. There will be opportunities later to become an independent.


To get started, Ferris gave you a way to go. Get out the phone book and start making calls. Have some short concise answers ready for the basic questions you might get on a phone call. For example: Why do you want to be a financial advisor? Answer; "I'm looking for a business where I'm in total control my income and that income is unlimited." It worked for me.


Good Luck!

Jul 12, 2007 5:05 pm

I'd have to say "That answers that question!"


Nicely done!

Jul 12, 2007 6:12 pm
BondGuy:

I'll answer this way: 34 years ago I started a basement waterproofing company. Like most small business owners I worked my butt off. And it paid off big time. I managed to pay off the seed money providers and five years in found my self with a seven figure bank account. I did a few smart things with that money and one very stupid thing. The stupid thing I did was start another company, a contract helicopter charter service and flight school. It only took about 3 years to run through all the money. To keep things going over at Money Pit Copters and to prove that there is no hope for true believers,  I sold my basement waterproofing company. With six helicopters, 15 employees, and carrying costs of almost $40,000 a month, it didn't take long to run through that money. I then borrowed money for about a year, but still couldn't make it work. I folded the company and ended up penniless. I did have some real estate tied up in a limited partnership that would pay off big time years later, but at the time as far as spendable buy the groceries cash I was broke.


 I then proceeded to search for another business. A prime requirement was that it have no top end on income. Another was that it not require a capital investment. Capital, even to put gas in the car, was hard to come by. I found this business. And it is all those things, no capital, no limit. I was 31 years old when I started in this business.


Thank you for taking the time to read my story. It is my way of telling you that you are a no excuses top candidate for this business. You understand the work ethic needed to bring success. You are exactly what top firms are looking for.


As for where to start? I'd start at a major firm. A wirehouse, as we call them. Merrill, UBS, Smith Barney, and Morgan Stanley offer the industry's top training programs. The training combined with the high hoop demands these companys will require of you will give a solid foundation for success. Once trained and on stable ground, five to seven years out, you can look at other opportunities within the field, such as becoming an independent.


I would recommend against starting with a bank. Years ago banks were populated by those who had failed at wirehouses. This is no longer the case, yet the problem I see with the banks is the localized nature of the quality of training and support you'll receive. Banks operating within the same geographic areas will have training programs, support, training salary, and production requirements that range from excellent to horrible. And even the best are not as good as what you'll get at a wirehouse. There is no way to tell how good a bank program is from the outside looking in. Some banks require their Financial Reps  hand over any accoounts over a certain amount, $500,000 for example, to either their high net worth divisions or trust departments. This leaves the rep with a serious impediment to building a large practice. Another point to consider is that most banks pay less than the wires. For these reasons I'd scratch banks off the list.


Independent? I'm sure it can be done but next to impossible. No salary, no support, all the running a small business responsibilitites on top of trying to build a practice in an area you know little or nothing about. Sounds to me a lot like the beating blades of an under capitalized helicopter company. There will be opportunities later to become an independent.


To get started, Ferris gave you a way to go. Get out the phone book and start making calls. Have some short concise answers ready for the basic questions you might get on a phone call. For example: Why do you want to be a financial advisor? Answer; "I'm looking for a business where I'm in total control my income and that income is unlimited." It worked for me.


Good Luck!



Cool story, BG.

Jul 12, 2007 8:06 pm

My sentiments also.  Bond Guy is one of those obvious no-bullsh*t success stories.  You can just tell when some are telling the truth and others are, well...full of sh*t.


BG...your posts here are my required reading...thanks for your contributions...

Jul 12, 2007 9:27 pm

Thanks to BG, Shadow, Broker and anyone else who replied and/or PMed me. I was a little hesitant to post because of some of the replies I've seen to some of the posts in other subjects. Most of you are no BS and I know that is where your replies usually come from. So, it makes me feel good to be taken seriously by you.


I look forward to keeping you posted on how things go.

Jul 13, 2007 8:14 am

I think this fourm has some very genuine people who have been in the trenches.


Thanks, this thread has been informative.


Jul 13, 2007 11:07 am
ShoreDog:

Thanks Broker24



I know that the independent channel might be the most difficult with no training program. That being said what are the big differences between a bank and wirehouse channel?



As far as my lifestyle, I expect 3- 5 years of really hard work to be successful. I don't have a problem with authority and will work in any channel that allows me the greatest opportunity for success. I can't imagine any boss demanding more of me than I had to demand of myself when I worked on my own.





Shoredog - you're likely to make the most money at the bank in the early years & the most money at the wirehouse/Indy after 7 - 10 yrs in the biz(although banks are getting more competitive & you'll be able to work 40 hrs a week after a time). Banks in general don't have as good of training programs as wirehouses do, but they are not as cutthroat & the number of people you see often makes up for the lack of training.



In a bank you are 100% an employee & there is a lot of politics. You don't call the shots - a branch manager who makes 50% of what you do, doesn't understand your business, feels they work harder than you & will likely be gone by the end of the year, does. You will likely work 60 - 70 hrs per week for 1 yr & then 55 - 60 hrs afterwards.



In the wirehouse you should expect to meet people at their homes and at night. If you're not working 65 - 75 hrs / week for 3 yrs you are not going to make it. You will be significantly underpaid for your effort & then you'll begin to make good money($100K+)



Where do you feel you'll be able to leverage your contacts?

Jul 16, 2007 12:25 pm

[/quote]

Shoredog - you're likely to make the most money at the bank in the early years & the most money at the wirehouse/Indy after 7 - 10 yrs in the biz(although banks are getting more competitive & you'll be able to work 40 hrs a week after a time). Banks in general don't have as good of training programs as wirehouses do, but they are not as cutthroat & the number of people you see often makes up for the lack of training.

In a bank you are 100% an employee & there is a lot of politics. You don't call the shots - a branch manager who makes 50% of what you do, doesn't understand your business, feels they work harder than you & will likely be gone by the end of the year, does. You will likely work 60 - 70 hrs per week for 1 yr & then 55 - 60 hrs afterwards.

In the wirehouse you should expect to meet people at their homes and at night. If you're not working 65 - 75 hrs / week for 3 yrs you are not going to make it. You will be significantly underpaid for your effort & then you'll begin to make good money($100K+)

Where do you feel you'll be able to leverage your contacts?[/quote]


If you make the most money at a bank in the early years why not use the number of people you see as a way to build a big book and then go independent in 5-6 yrs? It might be harder to pull clients from a bank to an indy but, if you have a big enough book, even losing a good number of clients should leave enough for a good start.

What is so different about the wirehouse training that makes it more valuable than bank training? I had heard that wirehouses expect to wash out a high percentage so that they can split whatever book the newbie has developed among the established brokers. It seems that a wirehouse doesn't have that much more to offer than an independent except a name brand. Is the reduced payout worth it?


I get the feeling that most of the posters here who have answered could sell if they were from ABC financial in Oshkosh WI. Was it the wirehouse program that made you good, or was it just drive, determination, and ability?


I could leverage my contacts through any pathway. I don't think that is a factor.