Wirehouse or Bank

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May 2, 2009 12:08 pm

Knowing what you know now, if you had to start over, would you go to a wirehouse FA training program (like SB) or to a bank FA training program (large regional bank, <100 FAs, not a mega-bank like Wells/Wacovia)?  For the sake of the argument, EJ, regionals and indies are not options.

About me - LOTS of academic credibility, very little to zero experience credibility.
May 2, 2009 12:36 pm

Positive with wirehouse, you for the most part own your business, but your chances of making it from scratch without huge natural market or some lucky breaks are almost nil..Seen about a dozen guys who over the years got fired at wirehouse and could not put 60K on the board for a year if you put a gun to their head go to the bank and do well, 400K+ is almost automatic, but negative is you do not own you book and really are just a little more than a glorified bank teller.  Think the past 10-15 year the smart answer was to go to the bank and swallow your pride.  But right now I think times are changing and see the day coming when the bank broker just gets a salary and thats it.  Know WFC is encouraging tellers to get their license to sell funds/cd's from the counter, they used to send leads to the broker, now that is changing.  Noty sure what I would say to someone right now, guess I would say do something else.

May 2, 2009 1:32 pm
fritz:

Positive with wirehouse, you for the most part own your business, but your chances of making it from scratch without huge natural market or some lucky breaks are almost nil..Seen about a dozen guys who over the years got fired at wirehouse and could not put 60K on the board for a year if you put a gun to their head go to the bank and do well, 400K+ is almost automatic, but negative is you do not own you book and really are just a little more than a glorified bank teller.  Think the past 10-15 year the smart answer was to go to the bank and swallow your pride.  But right now I think times are changing and see the day coming when the bank broker just gets a salary and thats it.  Know WFC is encouraging tellers to get their license to sell funds/cd's from the counter, they used to send leads to the broker, now that is changing.  Noty sure what I would say to someone right now, guess I would say do something else.

 
Seriously, are you kidding me ? There are plenty of bank channels where you can transition yourself away from the branch and manage your own book independently. You don't own your book ? Yeah and technically if your not independent you dont own your book anyways. If you get the axe there is no firm that can stop you from transitioning your clients to another place. Glorified bank teller ? Bank FA's have just as many financial planning tools and product lines as any other firm. I am pretty sure Mrs. Smith the 10 yr teller isnt going to learn options for her $10/hr job. Bank brokers just getting a salary ? That makes zero sense. The bank makes a ton of money off of their FA's. They take 70% of their commissions and only about 5% of that goes to expenses. The branch is there with or without an FA and most don't have assistants. Also, bank guidelines prevent FA's from even having their business card where the tellers are because that is an "FDIC" area so if you are hearing tellers selling funds from the teller line it is either BS or illegal.
May 2, 2009 1:44 pm
Ron 14:
fritz:

Positive with wirehouse, you for the most part own your business, but your chances of making it from scratch without huge natural market or some lucky breaks are almost nil..Seen about a dozen guys who over the years got fired at wirehouse and could not put 60K on the board for a year if you put a gun to their head go to the bank and do well, 400K+ is almost automatic, but negative is you do not own you book and really are just a little more than a glorified bank teller.  Think the past 10-15 year the smart answer was to go to the bank and swallow your pride.  But right now I think times are changing and see the day coming when the bank broker just gets a salary and thats it.  Know WFC is encouraging tellers to get their license to sell funds/cd's from the counter, they used to send leads to the broker, now that is changing.  Noty sure what I would say to someone right now, guess I would say do something else.

 
Seriously, are you kidding me ? There are plenty of bank channels where you can transition yourself away from the branch and manage your own book independently. You don't own your book ? Yeah and technically if your not independent you dont own your book anyways. If you get the axe there is no firm that can stop you from transitioning your clients to another place. Glorified bank teller ? Bank FA's have just as many financial planning tools and product lines as any other firm. I am pretty sure Mrs. Smith the 10 yr teller isnt going to learn options for her $10/hr job. Bank brokers just getting a salary ? That makes zero sense. The bank makes a ton of money off of their FA's. They take 70% of their commissions and only about 5% of that goes to expenses. The branch is there with or without an FA and most don't have assistants. Also, bank guidelines prevent FA's from even having their business card where the tellers are because that is an "FDIC" area so if you are hearing tellers selling funds from the teller line it is either BS or illegal.
 
 
One of my best friends went to bank brokerage about 15 years ago..A small bank, after 5 years that bank said he was making too much and said he was going to a 60K salary + small bonus.  He left, went to Wells, got lucky and was in branches where they closed and put his name as record on a lot of funds and then has stayed awhile..He is doing about 1.5 Million.  The bank has threatened for fire him 2-3 times a year for various garbage.  Not going to branch office party, not going to region meeting, not listening to an annuity salesman, not getting along with the bank manager.  Just two weeks ago, he was warned that he is "replaceable."  The reason he has not left is he knows he can only bring about 10-20% of his book away from the bank. They treat you as an employee, simple as that.
 
He is at is main branch 3 days a week, the other two days there are two ex tellers who replace him..one sits in his office, his chair..the other sits in the office next door.  Bottom line if he is not there or leaves it does not matter much.  These two where both tellers 12 months ago.  The bank does not think their is much difference.
 
I have also known a few guys who went to the bank who failed at wirehouse, then went back to get a check.  They went right down from 500K to under 100K again. 
 
If you think the average guy can bring his book away from a bank you are dillusional.
 
Can also tell you that one major bank is talking now about placing brokers on salary.  Whether it happens or spreads, who knows.  As for tellers taking business from brokers it is happening everyday at Wells now.
May 2, 2009 2:12 pm

Why wouldn't he just get the axe and go Indy ? Why can he only take 10-20% away from the bank ? I will agree with you that the average bank FA can't bring his book away from the bank because they offer no service. It is basically fill the order and move on.

May 14, 2009 6:56 pm

Guys, I'm not at WFC but have a few friends who have been in various capacities. If you are a teller getting a 7, it is because you want to move to the personal banker position which does banking products plus a limited amount of investment products (Wells funds and equity linked CDs) for balances under 100k. Everything else is supposed to generally be referred to an FA. You may incidentally have a 7 as a teller, but only in transition. You're not intended to use it in that role. That being said, many of the personal bankers have to fill in or rotate when staff is low or on Fridays and nothing stops them from having the client come see them in their capacity as a PB.

May 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Fritz, on the whole I agree. BUT, there are always exceptions. There's a particular advisor in So. Cal who left a big name bank and has taken $51M of his former $135M book since moving to an indy just 3 mos. ago. I know for a fact he's still moving account after account every week. He was 8 years in the same alignment which probably helped a great deal. The poor sucker who replaced him in what he though was a 'flagship' territory is freaking out.

May 27, 2009 1:30 am

Sling rock outside the bank doors.