Where to start as an FA

or Register to post new content in the forum

12 RepliesJump to last post

 

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Dec 1, 2010 6:54 pm

Hey Guys,

   I am a pharma rep, but have been flirting with the idea of becoming an fa for years. I know it is not exactly the best time to make the leap (to say the least), but I have already made up my mind. I was told to start out with one of the big guys to get decent training and small temp salary to help me get started. My question is, all aspects considered , if you were me right now, where would you try to get in? UBS? Morgan? Merrill? I just want to make sure I do this correct. I already know the risks and what it entails, but I want to give it a fair shot. Thanks guys.

Dec 1, 2010 10:07 pm

I'd work on the undergarment issue first.  But once you get that sorted out, I'd aim for ML.  They generally have the highest salary package during training.  Training is non-existant for the most part, as it is mostly web-based, but you are going to find that in most cases.   In the short, medium, and long run, it is all on you.  Your success won't be based on the firm you are with, so if I were you, I would do what I did a few years ago, and go with the company offering to pay me the most to build my business.  And that was ML.  Depending where you are geographically, and your level of education, you could get up to the 75-80k range (major metro, MBA, for example). 

Dec 2, 2010 7:29 am

Fly, thanks so much for the advice. I have a decent  'in" with ML and MS. Therefore, I will see abot interviewing with both, and going with the better fit. However, you are correct sir, the initial salary is important to me (Im not 21).

Dec 2, 2010 11:25 am

Most folks that don't make it in this biz could have clearly seen the cause of their failure long before they took the series 7. I'd suggest that you ponder the major reasons for failure, and how they may/may not relate to you. You brought up salary....

Most folks vastly over estimate how much money they will make in the first 5 years.

If you can't accept the idea that for several years, you'd make between 40-60k, then I'd suggest you consider another career. Major wires tend to really dupe people about their potential for earnings. Realize that many of these firms are hiring people knowing full well that virtually everyone they hire will fail inside of 36 months. They can still run a profit on the system, and giving the accounts of gone brokers, to their top brokers is a big part of that profit model.

Can I ask why you'd want to leave the Pharma biz?

Dec 2, 2010 11:29 am

no panties,

I really advise you to interview with them both as you stated.  Once you get to talk to the managers and people there you will get a general feel on how the office is.  Each branch is different then the next and as far as salary goes...basically the same.  It doesn't matter either way because you don't get paid on your gross until you get it passed your salary.  Meaning if you en up getting paid 50k which is most likely, you won;t receive anything till your gross commission is above 50k for the year.  That being said....both places you are able to earn incentives for each sales hurdle you reach which I know at MS, is up to about an extra 20k for the first year and about 70k in the last year.

Hope this helps

Dec 2, 2010 11:55 am

Bull, you make some great points.

You also reminded me that the specific culture/people in said office are of huge importance. Some places I've worked in this biz, the atmosphere has been very good, the other pure poison. As Bull states, true 20 yrs ago, true today, is that it really doesn't matter which one you go to work for, but the office itself is of huge importance. Your boss is also extremely important, and if that person really likes you, will go out of their way for you. If you have a boss that is bad, or doesn't like you, you might as well quit immediately. I've had managerial changes in my career and it's amazing how bad things can get if that person has some agenda that doesn't include you.

Dec 2, 2010 12:47 pm

Here is my 2 cents.

I would suggest trying to find a indy or RIA that is looking for a intern or junior rep! I know the salary will be far less but the strss will be to!

Just as pharma rep does not learn everything over night niether does a FA!

If you go the traditional rought through the wires. You may only be there 1-2 years max and feed the senior reps books, that is how they grow.

If you go to an indy they may take the time to mentor you. It takes 3-5 years for most people to even sart to get a handle on what we do. For my office no one handle account untill they have been here 5+ years!

And most reps do not get  full grasp untill after there 10 years or so.

The wires houses make it sound after 90 days you are financial guru. Not even close, you will hurt people and may even destroy there finances and  further demonize this profession.  

You and others may not like what I have said. But I have seen this play out many times over the years.

Good luck!   

Dec 2, 2010 2:25 pm

I'm relieved that you guys are being honest. I understand that I'm realistically looking at circa 50k for longer than most plan. Also, I'm taking into account the office atmosphere/boss as well. I've heard complete horror stories, not only about noone wanting to help you/every man for himself, but examples of fellow FAs being complete as$holes to one another because of the competiiton aspect. So , yes, I'm taking in everything you guys are telling me. Believe me, right now I'm a goddam sponge. I've really been mulling this one over for years and I want everything to fit as best as possible. (firm,boss,salary,help)... Leaving the Pharma industry because it's not my passion whatsoever. Also, it's a changing industry (thats a f$cking cliche which probably pertains to every industry lately, but this one is doomed). Investing, planning, and people skills are what I'm good at, so I figured I'd go for it now instead of waiting til I'm 45 with a mortgage, 2 brats, and a pair of boloney tits that are not my wifes. So, if you guys think of anything else here....just let me know. Remember, if you were me, and the canvas was completely blank, what things would you have liked to know before you started??

Dec 2, 2010 3:20 pm

You're getting some of the stuff that we all wish we'd known. Dig through the archives here, would help a ton.

Really, ask yourself if you're willing to throw away your entire current life, to pursue a passion?

Your lifestyle, marriage, where you live, all of that stuff is on the table.

Hey, enlighten us, for our benefit. Tell us a bit about your current career, and what's wrong out there in being a pharma rep? I'm actually pretty loaded up right now in all things healthcare. Some of the cheapest stocks out there are health care. No insideer info of course, but what's going on in that world would be nice for me to hear.

Dec 2, 2010 5:58 pm

Mr. Power,

    You should have just asked in the first place my man. You didn't need to dance around what you really wanted to know. Hmmmm. Let me sum it up for you. Managed care is turning into a complete nightmare regarding reimbursement. They are not paying for anything anymore , and its only going to get worse. At this point, it doesnt matter if Obamacare is passed or not. What has happened with every corporation the last 3 years? They have become less profitable from the financial crisis. So , most companies have and are currently cutting jobs in order to reduce their cost basis. Managed care is doing this as well, but they are also getting more stingy with what drugs they are actually willing to pay for and putting a premium in the form of higher copays on the drugs that they do cover. They have started to see that doing this allows them to take in more profits. So , regardless of whether obamacare is passed or not (because they have already started doing this without the reform) this is the new norm. Long story short, stay the hell away from the RX companies that do not have Diabetes, COPD, Cholesterol lowering...etc... Focus on the disease states that arte projected to triple in the next 20 years, but more specifically, the companies that have COMPLETELY NEW MOLECULES in the pipeline. The days of brand new "me too" drugs aka statins for Cholesterol besoming blockbusters are over. This is because the first to market statins are all going generic, and the insurance companies will not pay the reimbursement at the pharmacy level if a way cheaper generic is available. So brand new molecules for money making disease states is the play for the next 3-5 as well as generic companies with good balance sheets.

Ps...your turn....brainstorm and give me more

Panties

Dec 3, 2010 10:25 am

panties - you made a comment earlier that "Investing, planning, and people skills are what I'm good at."  I'm curious as to what makes you think that?  The people skills part I get.  You're in sales.  No worries there.  But what makes you think that you're good at investing and planning? 

I'm not trying to be snarky, but we hear people say stuff like that all the time, but when the rubber meats the road the amount of investing and planning you actually get to do is pretty small in the beginning.  Prospecting and gathering assets is what you have to be really good at in the beginning to make it in this business.  Until you can do that well, it really doesn't matter how good you are at investing and planning.  And if you spend all of your time investing and planning, because you're good at it and you like it and it's comfortable, you're not going to survive long enough to matter.  

So why is it that you say you're good at investing and planning?   

Dec 3, 2010 11:23 am

NoP, I'd echo the sentiments of Spaceman.

Just like being a pharma rep, the factor of success had nothing to do with education background, product knowledge, strategical thinking/planning... No, as you know, the most successful pharma reps is the person that could get in the door, close the deal. Exactly the same thing in our biz.

You have very negative views of your own industry, and that certainly is reflected in stock prices of Pharma, Biotech, and managed care stocks. Leaving your industry now, don't you think it might be like selling a stock at the low? That entire field has sucked wind since 2001/2002, and personally I'm thinking it's just about time for things to get better? I know, hard to believe, and I understand the points you've made for sure. But, that is the way it works..

But, I'll tell you this, everyone here could give just as many reasons why our biz is a terrible place to be today. But, you've come here, not to be talked out of it, hear our doom and gloom...

If you have skills at getting into Dr. offices, then you have a tangible assets a firm is interested in. You know how to get in, and if you can still get in, as an advisor instead of a drug dealer, that's super important. The two biggies that kill people in our biz, is they cannot afford the low entry level income, and the other reason is that they cannot stomach the grueling intensity of cold call prospecting. You really have to have a prospecting business plan that you will be able to work hard on for several years, and not give up. AND, everyone thinks they can handle it when they start in this biz... 4 weeks into the biz, then they realize that cold calling sucks, and then they start to unravel...