ML PMD, is this true?

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Oct 26, 2010 1:38 pm

I'm currently talking to ML right now about starting with their PMD program.  So I took it upon myself to speak to a few ex-PMDs and I've heard nothing but negative comments.

They said the PMD model is to recruit new guys to smile and dial and then can them in order to distribute new assets to veteran brokers, is this true?  They also told me this has happened many times over and over..

Oct 26, 2010 2:18 pm

Welcome to the Financial Services industry and the Merrill Model.... copied by every single firm out there. MSSB, WFA, Ameriprise, EDJ, etc. But the fact that you heard it from "Ex-PMD's" would probably be true of anyone that "USE TO" work at XYZ Financial....

Disgruntled former employees rarely tell the whole story, but ML does have hurdles. So yes, you could be feeling like a victim if you smiled and dialed and got canned and the $1.5MM you brought in after a year+ gets split up after you're shown the door. If you bring in $8-10MM I doubt anyone is going to can you unless you're doing some shady business that could cause harm to the firm.

But ML did cut their entire POA/PMD program in '08 (except for a handful of FA's picked by Mgmt), just like a lot of other firms who were going through the financial melt down. So if you're talking to some of those people, I'm sure they weren't happy campers during that time frame, but it was industry wide.

Oct 26, 2010 2:36 pm

I am in year 2 of the PMD program and while there are negative aspects to the program, I can't help but think this same routine goes on else where.  I smile and dial each and every day for the biggest part of my marketing, but as long as you produce (exceed hrudles) you will be fine and keep your seat.  I have seen my class dwindle by more than 96% but none of those that were cut were meeting all expectations.  I am not going to say that the cuts were easy to swallow but for a variety of reasons, the goals were not acheived.  The hurdles act as a barrier, you are either past them and suceeding or behind and in jeopardy.  You must be able to firmly grasp this and make sure that nothing stands in your way other than yourself.  Granted I am a member of a team, my situation may be different than yours so you can take this all at face value.

Oct 26, 2010 2:53 pm

I was there in the 08, in the training program.  The cuts were deep, but as mentioned that was due to the need to dramatically cut costs. 

I think one would be naive to not recognize that the wirehouses factor in retention of failed trainees' books as they build their business case for:  salary paid, hurdles, bonus for said hurdles, and time to meet those hurdles. 

With that said, it would be foolish to think that ML or any other wirehouse would prefer a trainee to fail out of the program and keep the assets (1.5mil, 3mil, or whatever the peanuts number would be) than to have the trainee actually succeed, which is the ultimate goal. 

If you can bring in assets, you will be fine. 

Oct 26, 2010 2:56 pm

I'm meeting with the associate director at the end of this week...I'm in New York.  I've read that 40% of new hires get to join a team.  I'll have to see for myself what's offered to me.

Bull, you are obviously doing well if you still have a seat.  What has been the biggest contribution to your success?  My plan is simple, pick a good muni, hit the phones until I reach 45 contacts per day.

Oct 26, 2010 3:15 pm

[quote=newregrep]

I'm currently talking to ML right now about starting with their PMD program.  So I took it upon myself to speak to a few ex-PMDs and I've heard nothing but negative comments.

They said the PMD model is to recruit new guys to smile and dial and then can them in order to distribute new assets to veteran brokers, is this true?  They also told me this has happened many times over and over..

[/quote]

This is how all the wirehouses grow.

If management told you other wise. Do not be shocked they will lie to you over and over get use to it.  

Another tip, never trust your boss or your co-workers they are all out to get your book.

Oct 26, 2010 3:48 pm

Your plan is simple and sounds about right.  I do not call on product too much unless I'm in a "F#$% It!!" mood.  My team does PIA so I call offering a second opinion, a cure to their ill, or a free coffee.  I have found success over the long term pitching appointments and I have never really been comfortable on the phone pitching a product.  These boards have great input on sample scripts for pitching product and I give major kudos to anyone who does it well.  I just play to my strengths (sit down appt.) and my team's strengths which happens to be portfolio management. 

I have averaged about 200 calls a day for over a year with more dials when I started due to more free time.  I found that when I called on decent lead lists my contact ratio 1:6 to 1:7 which got me around 35-40 contacts a day.. 45 is a great goal and if you are making that much contact you should be in line with success.  As far as the Wirehouse model it is severely inefficient. 

While the attrition rate is high, wires don't seem too have much to gain on a guy failing out.  Assume an FA makes it 1 yr before getting canned, gathering $1.5 aum and netting 30k PCs which is on the high side.  The FA was payed a salary, i'll use mine when I was hired, of $36k and benefits.  There isn't much to gain other than accounts' appreciation, annual fees but who is to say those accounts stay or are serviced by the "established FAs."  I just do not see the much value in forcing FAs out, but who am I to know.

Oct 26, 2010 3:45 pm

40% in NY, or 40% in general?  That number seems way too high to me.  I'd peg it closer to 10%, and that usually isn't until AFTER you've proven yourself in some way.  That is, unless you know the advisor coming in, and were brought on with the sole purpose of joining that team.

Oct 26, 2010 5:13 pm

BullRunt, are you serious about 96% failure in two years?

People contemplating this biz should look hard at that number. Do you really want to jump into something, where you have a 1 in 20 chance of making it?

Oct 26, 2010 5:32 pm

1 in 20, Try the lottery.

Oct 26, 2010 6:32 pm

I hear 40% in general.  I'm currently in discussion with EJ and ML.  I have no rich friends or family members.  I do have Desire, Determination, Dedication, Discipline and some clients who would follow me to the ends of the earth. 

Whether I succeed or not...who really knows? But I won't know until I give it a shot.  I'm willing to give my all to make it in this business and if I fail, atleast I can dust myself off and say "I tried my absolute best".

I'm not looking to make a quick buck here.  I'm looking for longetivity, a place where I can say I have a career.

Oct 26, 2010 10:38 pm

Just curious....anybody know anyone who has made it at a wirehouse in the past two years the old fashioned way all on their own...without the benefit of getting on a team or being given the back of a book... or departing advisors clients as a start-up.

I started in the biz in the 90s and built a book calling on muni bonds, but this was before the do not call list, the days where we needed 100K to open or get paid on an account, etc..etc.......I can't think of anyone at our office that "made it" without inheriting part of a book or partnering in recent years.

Oct 26, 2010 11:13 pm

I made it in PMD world for about 1.5 years.  Missed one of three hurdles by 2% and was shown the door.  I was 100% and 200% on the other two goals.  Sad, but that's the business we're in.  I was a sole practitioner.  No one in our office that was new and not on a team has made it.  Surprise!

Oct 27, 2010 2:15 am

[quote=RickRoss]

I made it in PMD world for about 1.5 years.  Missed one of three hurdles by 2% and was shown the door.  I was 100% and 200% on the other two goals.  Sad, but that's the business we're in.  I was a sole practitioner.  No one in our office that was new and not on a team has made it.  Surprise!

[/quote]

Hope you landed on your feet....that's pretty darn good for flying solo.

Oct 27, 2010 3:57 am

The new hurdle rate at ML is unrealistic IMHO. Too focused on the short term PC's and not enough on the longer term asset. 

Oct 27, 2010 9:41 am

[quote=RickRoss]

I made it in PMD world for about 1.5 years.  Missed one of three hurdles by 2% and was shown the door.  I was 100% and 200% on the other two goals.  Sad, but that's the business we're in.  I was a sole practitioner.  No one in our office that was new and not on a team has made it.  Surprise!

[/quote]

Wow...that is just down right wrong.  IF this is the case, then ML is not for me.  How can they fire somebody for being 2% behind hurdle ONCE.  I guess world is not fair and it is what it is.

Oct 27, 2010 10:11 am

I made it through the program, and often missed goals along the way.  Hit months 3,6,7,9 and 12.  Missed 4,5,8,10,11.  Could be from another factor, timing, or perhaps a regional difference. 

feebasedrep, I made it through, starting in late 07, if that makes your timeframe.  There were inherited accounts along the way from departed advisors, but not enough make a business out of (the other advisors that received them didn't make it).  I'd estimate 1mil of the 15mil necessary to graduate came from inherited business.  I did not have a senior partner, but did work with another rookie on some business.

Oct 27, 2010 11:11 am

Fly... mind sharing what you did that allowed you to make it..

Oct 27, 2010 11:19 am

[quote=squash2]

Fly... mind sharing what you did that allowed you to make it..

[/quote]

Just got a PM with the same question, here was my response:

I did some seminars, which were effective, and targeted lawyers for referrals. I was not a cold-caller. Quite honestly, I thought I "would do anything it took to succeed", and then quickly learned I was a big fat pu$$y when it came to the phone.

Seminars were good, but expensive (though I had wholesalers pick up much of the cost) and time consuming (probably less time consuming at an indy BD than ML, though as we had a ton of hoops to jump through for each seminar). If you can speak in public, and have something different to say, it is a nice way to bring in clients and gain credibility.

Prospecting lawyers is tough. It had to be the type of lawyer who had clients with money, so that is really divorce and injury lawyers. But if you can show that you can add value, and pick up 1 lawyer per year for referrals, you can build a huge practice.

Oct 27, 2010 11:29 am

Wasn't it hard to hit monthly goals with seminars.. don't those take a while to develop, then develop prospects into clients?