AGE to ML or SSB. Good Move?

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May 30, 2005 1:14 pm

I am 4 years in. Started with AGE right out of college. Moved Cities in middle b/c of family emergency, so had to rebuild some. Been with AGE the whole time.  MY Aum are only 16 million and trailing 12 is 200k.  I am being heavily courted by Merrill (recruiter) and SSB (I called for comparisons sake)  I love AGE.  The only reason I would move is b/c my production should go up which is what Merrill and SSB both say not to mention the nice chunk of change they are both offering.  Merrill offered 140k 100k cash the other 40k in  Merrill stock with a generous back end bonus based on revenue not production.  SSB has not been as specific, but keep calling me for another meeting.  I am a go getter, but I know I would benefit from a cattle prod.  My current manager is great guy, but should have retired 15 years ago. No guidance what so ever.  I'm doing ok on my own, but I want to be a superstar.


Will my production go up ?


Has anyone gone from AGE to Merrill or SSB ?  Good Move ?


Will there be culture shock?


We have a sick 401k plan.  over 5k in company contributions last year.


I know the payout is lower at Merrill and SSB. Will it be worth the move ???


May 30, 2005 4:47 pm
Billy33:

I am 4 years in. Started with AGE right out of
college. Moved Cities in middle b/c of family emergency, so had
to rebuild some. Been with AGE the whole time.  MY Aum
are only 16 million and trailing 12 is 200k.  I am being heavily
courted by Merrill (recruiter) and SSB (I called for comparisons
sake)  I love AGE.  The only reason I would move is b/c my
production should go up which is what Merrill and SSB both say not
to mention the nice chunk of change they are both offering. 
Merrill offered 140k 100k cash the other 40k in  Merrill
stock with a generous back end bonus based on revenue not
production. 


SSB has not been as specific, but keep calling me for another
meeting.  I am a go getter, but I know I would benefit from a
cattle prod.


A cattle prod?  Can't you give yourself a prod?  Any prod
you get from management is likely going to be pressure to do things
that are not in your clients' best interests. Is that what you want? 


Billy33:



My current manager is great guy, but should have retired 15 years ago.
No guidance what so ever.  I'm doing ok on my own, but I want to
be a superstar.


Being a superstar is up to you.  No branch manager can make you something that you can't become on your own. 

Billy33:

Will my production go up ?


Not necessarily.  It can.  Or it may not.  Will your
clients follow you?  AG Edwards is a pretty good company.  If
you are doing good, why f*&$ it up?  If you want the money
they are offering, OK then, that's fine.  But you can be
successful where you are.


Don't fool yourself into thinking that Merrill or SB or any other company is going to make you into a superstar.


Billy33:

Has anyone gone from AGE to Merrill or SSB ?  Good Move ?


Will there be culture shock?


We have a sick 401k plan.  over 5k in company contributions last year.

I know the payout is lower at Merrill and SSB. Will it be worth the move ???


I definitely wouldn't go to Merrill.  $200k is not very high
production over there, and in fact, production that low will often get
you terminated.  What happens if the move is bad--which is more
likely the lower your production?  What happens if your client's
don't follow?  Merrill reserves the right to terminate you if your
production doesn't make the cut.  On this board there are a number
of posters "being fed to the wolves" by Merrill.  Is that a risk
that you are willing to take?


Personally, I never think it is a good idea for anyone to move
unless they have at least 5 years experience and $300-$350k in
production.


If you think that moving to another company is going to magically increase your production, you are sadly mistaken.


If you want the money and are willing to take the risk, then jump
ship.  If your main concern is your career long-term, I'd suggest
you stay where you are and build your business for a while then
consider switching firms.


Just my opinion.  Yours may differ.

May 30, 2005 8:49 pm

I have moved twice in my career: the first time after 5 years, the second after 9 years.



I have found that whatever you do at one place, you'll do the same at
the next. Your income growth will come from within yourself, and from
the dedication you put into your career. The name on letterhead doesn't
alter that.



But, it is nice to work at a comfortable firm, where they have respect
for their advisors. At Merrill, you would be low man on the totem pole
at $200K, and would get killed by the payout.



Stay at AGE.




May 30, 2005 10:32 pm

Stay at AGE....it's a good firm.......

May 31, 2005 7:06 am
Sailor25:

I have moved twice in my career: the first time after 5 years, the second after 9 years.



I have found that whatever you do at one place, you'll do the same at
the next. Your income growth will come from within yourself, and from
the dedication you put into your career. The name on letterhead doesn't
alter that.



But, it is nice to work at a comfortable firm, where they have respect
for their advisors. At Merrill, you would be low man on the totem pole
at $200K, and would get killed by the payout.



Stay at AGE.






I like this post.  About 10 years ago I heard a tape that said if
you are in a "flat" period, go in and re-arrange your office, clean out
drawers, and pretend it is your first day at your new firm with all of
the clients you have just given to you...you may view things
differently.



Changing firms is a HUGE task, not just moving assets, but learning culture change, systems, etc...



I say unless there is a large shift in your business strategy, moving
is not such a great idea, especially if your present firm is pretty
good.

May 31, 2005 1:03 pm

Billy33,


I think we must have started at AGE around the same time.  I have been in production a little under 4 years.  Hopefully with a strong finish to the month, my assets will be just over 25m.  I have a trailing 12 of around 185K.  Interestingly enough, I have met with both SB and Merrill in the last year.  Both made offers (around 200K each) and both were turned down.  It just turned out that I was more valuable to AGE than I was to either of the others.  I did not need the $.  My manager is very good to me.  You hit it on the head about our 401K plan.  However, you failed to mention that your (and my) 401K will not be vested until next year.  Meaning you would be walking away from around 20K.  Yes, the offers you have received will more than make up for that.  However, if you wait just another year, you should get more $ from SB and Merrill and you will get to keep the money you have already earned in your 401K. Just my .02.


May 31, 2005 9:15 pm

Wow - I'm in the same boat at AGE...Both ML and SSB have both thrown plenty of money my way, but everyone I talk to corroborates what's on this board - stay put - not worth breaking your momentum, and I've been told we don't know how good we have it at AG, especially once we get to Crest Club - i love the idea of "starting over" and freshening things up - I'm in the process of doing that with about 100 households, and have gotten more referrals than ever just spending more time with current clients - I'd stay

May 31, 2005 11:01 pm

It seems more people stay than go but everyone listens, we all like to hear what we're worth, but don't waste too much time listening if you want to go, throw out a number that you want if they meet it take it if not don't take the calls anymore.


If you are just waiting for someone to tell you to take it, I will tell you take the money and start working 60-65 hour weeks again like it is your first year in the biz, you will keep the check and be exactly where you are today, everyone talks about how great "their" firms are, I don't here people say don't come to my firm, every firm has a "crest" club that is how they retain their best clients, how do you treat your best client, they are probably a part of your "crest" club.


Confidence and a positive attitude will both get you to the finish line it just depends if you want to stay where you are or move and you are the only one that knows what you want. 

Jun 1, 2005 5:00 pm

As far as moving, if your motivation is the money, that's fine. 
There is NOTHING wrong with that.  It is economically
rational.  I just think you should be pretty well established
first with a gross of $350k, maybe $300k.  $200k is too early to
move. 



Going from a dinky bush-league to a major company can help you increase
your production, but going from a pretty well-known company to another
one won't.



The most profitable reps from the company's perspective are the saps
who stick around for 20 years.  And yes, they are saps. 
Schmucks, saps, you get the general idea.



Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side...and so is the money! 






Jun 4, 2005 10:42 am

200K is low for ML at the 4 year mark... I know because I just left there.


I say be a big fish in a smaller pond.  The upfront money is nice, but AGE is top notch too.


But...on the other hand, the new technology platform ML is about to unveil to the branches is supposed to be ridiculously unbelievable...


I know someone who came to ML from another firm, he got a lot of perks like upfront money, salary plus (not draw), AND he came in under the POA program even though he had a book...this is huge when in comes to making "club" because it's based on LOS (length of service), etc and you'd basically always make it.  There are some sweet trips and business perks (you have managements ear much more, get more expenses comped, etc) when you are making club...


Again, if it was me, I'd stay...but if you are going to go, get the best deal you can.

Jun 4, 2005 11:38 am
BankFC:

200K is low for ML at the 4 year mark... I know because I just left there.


I say be a big fish in a smaller pond.  The upfront money is nice, but AGE is top notch too.


But...on the other hand, the new technology platform ML is about to
unveil to the branches is supposed to be ridiculously unbelievable...


I know someone who came to ML from another firm, he got a lot
of perks like upfront money, salary plus (not draw), AND he came in
under the POA program even though he had a book...this is huge when in
comes to making "club" because it's based on LOS (length of service),
etc and you'd basically always make it.  There are some sweet
trips and business perks (you have managements ear much more, get more
expenses comped, etc) when you are making club...


Again, if it was me, I'd stay...but if you are going to go, get the best deal you can.





We hired a 2 year guy from  Morgan with 7 mil AUM.  We gave
him  6K/MO  salary and put him in the POA
program.   He has hit 2 bonuses and now has  16 Mil
AUM.  He will get over 100K in bonus money on top of his
salary.  He is one of the hardest workers I have seen in this
business though.  He did it right and he has already been asked to
enter a couple of large team...her turned them down because he wants
his own.  He came to ML for the tools and resources for his target
market.

Jun 5, 2005 12:37 pm

Thanks for the insights and opinions. 

Jun 26, 2006 2:45 pm

Billy33 – mrad - HCreeek,



It seems like the people in this thread know ML and AGE pretty well. I am being persued by both of the firms right now. I am new to this business. I come from a public accounting background and I am a CPA.



Will you please compare the POA program to AGE’s newbie program?
Is there another way into ML besides the POA program? Can you go right to work in a team?
Jun 26, 2006 6:44 pm

Billy, interesting post let us know how how  it goes and good luck!

Rightway what kind of prospecting is your Morgan guy doing?