Regional bank vs. wire house

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Jun 29, 2006 10:44 am

i am curious to know the general consensus on people's feelings regarding going to work as a FA at one of the big wire houses or working as an investment consultant for a small regional bank.


I started out in the bank channel and am looking to get into one of the wirehouses because of more independence (meaning no bank staff egos to stroke everyday); higher payouts, no "hair-cuts"; a better opportunity to make 6-figures.


I have a friend looking to get into the business and also wants to look at the wirehouse side. The trainee programs in the wirehouse are much better (in my opinion) than he would ever get on the bank side.


Do you guys/gals feel the same or do most feel like the bank is a better place to work because at least you have an easier chance to see clients through the bank staff giving referrals?

Jun 29, 2006 11:05 am

ONe sucks, the other one sucks more.

Jun 29, 2006 3:14 pm

holy moly you are cranky


do you think you would be able to take customers with you if you left the bank?


Jun 29, 2006 4:58 pm

i already left the bank...i signed a non-compete clause but i can start calling on them in about 5 mos or so..

Jun 29, 2006 8:31 pm
bjack73:

I have a friend looking to get into the business and also wants to look at the wirehouse side. The trainee programs in the wirehouse are much better (in my opinion) than he would ever get on the bank side.


Do you guys/gals feel the same or do most feel like the bank is a better place to work because at least you have an easier chance to see clients through the bank staff giving referrals?



I would agree that the training at a wirehouse is better, but your friend will have a lot better chance of actually surviving the first 3 years if he goes to a bank.  Personally, if I had the chance to do it over again, I would start at a bank - consistent referrals and they will, usually, pay for CFP study.


How old is your friend, how much sales experince does he have, and what kind of network has he already established in his former career?


Depending on your answer to these three questions, my recommendation might be different.

Jun 30, 2006 1:20 am

my friend does not have sales exp. He is a CPA and is 36 yrs old. He does not have a network of people to give him referrals.

Jun 30, 2006 8:23 am
bjack73:

my friend does not have sales exp. He is a CPA and is 36 yrs old. He does not have a network of people to give him referrals.


Ah, the perfect candidate.


A harsh reality, boys and girls, is that this is a sales business and in order to succeed you have to be a salesperson first and foremost.


However, you must also never lose sight of the fact that you also have competition--lots and lots of it.


There are very few, like almost no, potential clients who do not have a friend or family member who is a financial advisor.


Having a network is critical to success.  If you cannot sit down with a yellow pad and damn near fill it up with the names of people who you think might--just might--do business with you if you get registered you really ought to give the entire experiment a second thought.


What seems to have happened is--due to the fact that individuals are now in charge of their own retirements--the job title known as financial advisor has become more noticable than it was twenty or so years ago.


As a result it's showing up things like "Top paying jobs" lists and young people coming out of school are deciding that that is what they want to be when they grow up.


Well, it's not that easy.  Without fabulous selling skills and a huge network of possible clients you'd do better spending your time on a practice tee hoping to be able to qualify for the tour.


Those of you who are whining about making cold calls for hour after hour--consider it the equivalent of spending days, weeks, months hitting buckets of balls.

Jun 30, 2006 8:37 am
bjack73:

i am curious to know the general consensus on people's feelings regarding going to work as a FA at one of the big wire houses or working as an investment consultant for a small regional bank.


I started out in the bank channel and am looking to get into one of the wirehouses because of more independence (meaning no bank staff egos to stroke everyday); higher payouts, no "hair-cuts"; a better opportunity to make 6-figures.


You won't have to stroke, but...don't think their aren't haircuts.  Once you are on grid, the same annuity that pays me 7% here at the bank upfront paid me 4.5% at ML.  Payout isn't going to be that high until your a BIG producer (count on around 40%).


As far as a "better opportunity to make 6-figures" I don't know any quicker way (I've done both) to gather assets than to call them as a bank broker.  If you really think as a trainee it'll be faster doing cold calling/seminars/networking/whatever else, then good luck...you'll need it.


I have a friend looking to get into the business and also wants to look at the wirehouse side. The trainee programs in the wirehouse are much better (in my opinion) than he would ever get on the bank side.


This IS true.  Banks don't train brokers in my experience, they just recruit from the wires (that's how I got here ).  If he needs training, go to ML/UBS/SB...salary, good training, etc while you learn and build.


Do you guys/gals feel the same or do most feel like the bank is a better place to work because at least you have an easier chance to see clients through the bank staff giving referrals?


IMO yes IF you know what your doing!  Again, no training, so unless you have some background, don't go to a bank.  Unlike a wirehouse, at a bank it only takes one or two foul ups with clients, and the whole bank hears about it...I saw it happen in another region firsthand. 


Regardless...good luck!

Jun 30, 2006 9:06 am
BankFC:

I have a friend looking to get into the business and also wants to look at the wirehouse side. The trainee programs in the wirehouse are much better (in my opinion) than he would ever get on the bank side.


This IS true.  Banks don't train brokers in my experience, they just recruit from the wires (that's how I got here ).  If he needs training, go to ML/UBS/SB...salary, good training, etc while you learn and build.



There is another side to that coin.


Most wirehouse managers look upon banks as:


1.  A place where the guys they want to fire seem to end up.  It is not uncommon for a manager who actually likes somebody who is going to fail to make a call to a bank and recommend that they hire somebody who he is going to have to fire for lack of results and potential.


2.  Not a place to find high quality talent.  Read what the bank types say and you'll hear phrases like "no prospecting," "ready source of leads," "lists of maturing CD's" and so forth.  These are all good reasons to work for a bank if you're not well connected and/or not a good salesperson.


However, you're never going to have a complete arsenal unless you work for a major wirehouse.


Everybody else, to one degree or another, finds themselves attempting to convince the client that they want what can be obtained instead of obtaining what is wanted.


If you want a new tie is it better to walk into a store with hundreds of selections, or one with dozens of selections?


Here's a good rule of thumb.  There will be an exception or two, but they're rarer than hen's teeth.


A bank broker who used to be a wirehouse broker was failing as a wirehouse broker so they sent themselves down to the minor leagues.


I know, I know, Roger Clemens was pitching in the minor leagues--maybe still is.  As I said there are always exceptions to rules.

Jun 30, 2006 9:19 am

Bank FC--I enjoy reading your posts and they contain good information. 


So, what do you do when you need answers?  Is there any type of back office support?  Where do you get research?  Do they provide you with Morningstar or S&P, etc?  To be doing all of the research yourself AND taking care of clients would be very time consuming.


Here we have excellent research and support covering everything from Options, Stocks, Bonds, Preferred, IPO, Annuities, Insurance--you name it.


That allows me to be a team leader and focus more of my efforts of bringing these back office expert ideas to the client.


Your feedback would be welcome, Bank FC

Jun 30, 2006 9:47 am
NASD Newbie:
BankFC:

I have a friend looking to get into the business and also wants to look at the wirehouse side. The trainee programs in the wirehouse are much better (in my opinion) than he would ever get on the bank side.


This IS true.  Banks don't train brokers in my experience, they just recruit from the wires (that's how I got here ).  If he needs training, go to ML/UBS/SB...salary, good training, etc while you learn and build.



There is another side to that coin.


Most wirehouse managers look upon banks as:


1.  A place where the guys they want to fire seem to end up.  It is not uncommon for a manager who actually likes somebody who is going to fail to make a call to a bank and recommend that they hire somebody who he is going to have to fire for lack of results and potential.


NASD, I want what you are smoking if you think the branch manager at a wirehouse has the time or the general inclination to be concerned about where a failing broker is going, whether he likes him or not...not saying this hasn't EVER happened, but it is not common at all.


2.  Not a place to find high quality talent.  Read what the bank types say and you'll hear phrases like "no prospecting," "ready source of leads," "lists of maturing CD's" and so forth.  These are all good reasons to work for a bank if you're not well connected and/or not a good salesperson.


NASD gives a sliver of truth here, but still marred in arrogance.  At a wire as a young rookie, the only way to make it is either you are well connected OR YOU JOIN A TEAM (which gives you leads, involves less prospecting as you are given C clients, etc etc). 


Simply being a good salesman IS NOT ENOUGH.  Just having the ability to close is not enough, you have to get in front of enough people DAY IN AND DAY OUT to make it, and that is the difficult part.


However, you're never going to have a complete arsenal unless you work for a major wirehouse.


LOL, you're right.  You won't have the structured notes that go long the yen and the rubel, and short the australian dollar.  TRY SELLING THAT to 99% of the population.


Everything else, you will have, such as: mutual funds in and out of wrap accounts, fee based brokerage, cash management accounts JUST LIKE ML's CMA, SMA's, individual equities and debt, financial planning software, etc etc the list goes on and on...


Everybody else, to one degree or another, finds themselves attempting to convince the client that they want what can be obtained instead of obtaining what is wanted.


This is just a negative statement.  No rebuttal required.


If you want a new tie is it better to walk into a store with hundreds of selections, or one with dozens of selections?


Financial products have become a COMMODITY.  EVERYONE has the same or similar products as everyone else.  If anyone has an interest in keeping this a secret, it would be the wirehouses.  Because, as it used to be, you could only get what they sold from THEM.  Hardly that way anymore, and anyone that says any different is LYING.  EVEN the State Farm guy can sell mutual funds. 


It's all about the relationship now, and who has a better open door to a prospect, a cold calling wirehouse broker, or a bank broker introduced to the prospect by the loan officer he has worked with for ten years?


Here's a good rule of thumb.  There will be an exception or two, but they're rarer than hen's teeth.


A bank broker who used to be a wirehouse broker was failing as a wirehouse broker so they sent themselves down to the minor leagues.


That's just incorrect.  Some do I'm sure.  Just like one of the guys I worked with at ML who was previously at 2 other firms, of which he was fired from both.  Wires have recruiting goals, and if you have your licenses, can bs enough, it's not hard to get hired.


In my program specifically, 40% or so of us have CFP's,  and all of us except two were recruited from wires and/or major insurance companies (the like of JH, NYL, NWM, etc).


So to all you uninformed folks out there, don't let NASD lead you astray...he's just old and grumpy.



I know, I know, Roger Clemens was pitching in the minor leagues--maybe still is.  As I said there are always exceptions to rules.

Jun 30, 2006 9:54 am
NASD Newbie:
bjack73:

my friend does not have sales exp. He is a CPA and is 36 yrs old. He does not have a network of people to give him referrals.


Ah, the perfect candidate.


A harsh reality, boys and girls, is that this is a sales business and in order to succeed you have to be a salesperson first and foremost.


However, you must also never lose sight of the fact that you also have competition--lots and lots of it.


There are very few, like almost no, potential clients who do not have a friend or family member who is a financial advisor.


Having a network is critical to success.  If you cannot sit down with a yellow pad and damn near fill it up with the names of people who you think might--just might--do business with you if you get registered you really ought to give the entire experiment a second thought.


What seems to have happened is--due to the fact that individuals are now in charge of their own retirements--the job title known as financial advisor has become more noticable than it was twenty or so years ago.


As a result it's showing up things like "Top paying jobs" lists and young people coming out of school are deciding that that is what they want to be when they grow up.


Well, it's not that easy.  Without fabulous selling skills and a huge network of possible clients you'd do better spending your time on a practice tee hoping to be able to qualify for the tour.


Those of you who are whining about making cold calls for hour after hour--consider it the equivalent of spending days, weeks, months hitting buckets of balls.




He's old, he's grump and he's generally just a PITA, but on this one, he's 100% right.

Jun 30, 2006 10:05 am
maybeeeeeeee:

Bank FC--I enjoy reading your posts and they contain good information. 


Thanks! 


So, what do you do when you need answers?  Is there any type of back office support?  Where do you get research?  Do they provide you with Morningstar or S&P, etc?  To be doing all of the research yourself AND taking care of clients would be very time consuming.


Yes, actually our B/D does an good job of providing back office support and compliance, as well as providing me with client situation specific information. 


They offer us insurance specialists (I have a pretty strong ins background myself), wealth management specialists, and trust specialists if we need it. 


I have access and use frequently Morningstar Advisor Workstation, and I was using Value Line, but I dropped it for a number of reasons.


I sell managed money solutions almost exclusively, so what few stock trades I place are unsolicited.  But this wasn't any different when I was at ML.


Here we have excellent research and support covering everything from Options, Stocks, Bonds, Preferred, IPO, Annuities, Insurance--you name it.


I can sell all of those as well, with the exception of equity IPO's, unless I'm just not aware of it.  Like I said, I don't look for individual stock business much.  We can do options, margin, annuities, lots of different life disability and LTC insurance (Mass Mutual, JH, Pru, NYL, Met, etc).


Our bond desk is really good IMO.  They email out issues that look attractive, and can get some really stellar new issues, especially on the agencies.


That allows me to be a team leader and focus more of my efforts of bringing these back office expert ideas to the client.


From my experience, the difference is minimal.  Again, the major difference is the individual equity research.  At ML, we had Bob Doll, MLIM, Morningstar, Jaywalk, S&P, and a couple others...but even though it was nice to have, I don't do that business.  I sell SMA's, mutual funds, insurance and annuities (on the individual side).  The only individual business I do is in fixed income.


As far as anything else...401K's I use Hartford and a great TPA here in town.  That's about it. 


Your feedback would be welcome, Bank FC

Jun 30, 2006 10:05 am
NASD Newbie:

[quote=bjack73]my friend does not have sales exp. He is a CPA and is 36 yrs old. He does not have a network of people to give him referrals.[/quote]


Ah, the perfect candidate.


A harsh reality, boys and girls, is that this is a sales business and in order to succeed you have to be a salesperson first and foremost.


However, you must also never lose sight of the fact that you also have competition--lots and lots of it.


There are very few, like almost no, potential clients who do not have a friend or family member who is a financial advisor.


Having a network is critical to success.  If you cannot sit down with a yellow pad and damn near fill it up with the names of people who you think might--just might--do business with you if you get registered you really ought to give the entire experiment a second thought.


What seems to have happened is--due to the fact that individuals are now in charge of their own retirements--the job title known as financial advisor has become more noticable than it was twenty or so years ago.


As a result it's showing up things like "Top paying jobs" lists and young people coming out of school are deciding that that is what they want to be when they grow up.


Well, it's not that easy.  Without fabulous selling skills and a huge network of possible clients you'd do better spending your time on a practice tee hoping to be able to qualify for the tour.


Those of you who are whining about making cold calls for hour after hour--consider it the equivalent of spending days, weeks, months hitting buckets of balls.



....and you were chastising me for investing in that club membership....

Jun 30, 2006 10:07 am
mikebutler222:
NASD Newbie:
bjack73:

my friend does not have sales exp. He is a CPA and is 36 yrs old. He does not have a network of people to give him referrals.


Ah, the perfect candidate.


A harsh reality, boys and girls, is that this is a sales business and in order to succeed you have to be a salesperson first and foremost.


However, you must also never lose sight of the fact that you also have competition--lots and lots of it.


There are very few, like almost no, potential clients who do not have a friend or family member who is a financial advisor.


Having a network is critical to success.  If you cannot sit down with a yellow pad and damn near fill it up with the names of people who you think might--just might--do business with you if you get registered you really ought to give the entire experiment a second thought.


What seems to have happened is--due to the fact that individuals are now in charge of their own retirements--the job title known as financial advisor has become more noticable than it was twenty or so years ago.


As a result it's showing up things like "Top paying jobs" lists and young people coming out of school are deciding that that is what they want to be when they grow up.


Well, it's not that easy.  Without fabulous selling skills and a huge network of possible clients you'd do better spending your time on a practice tee hoping to be able to qualify for the tour.


Those of you who are whining about making cold calls for hour after hour--consider it the equivalent of spending days, weeks, months hitting buckets of balls.




He's old, he's grump and he's generally just a PITA, but on this one, he's 100% right.



No disagreement here.  But generally, he is a PITA...by the way, what's a PITA? 

Jun 30, 2006 10:35 am
mikebutler222:

He's old, he's grump and he's generally just a PITA, but on this one, he's 100% right.



It is not possible to acquire 35 years of experience without being older than a 27 year old.


In an earlier comment I said that by working at a wirehouse you will have a full arsenal, so that you can otain what the client needs rather than having to settle for a selection from what is available to you.


That was dismissed as a "negative statement."


It is not negative, it's factual and those who work for banks envy those who work for the wirehouses and those who work for the premier insurance companies.


The reality is that banks, S&Ls, credit unions and the like have joined the competition reluctantly, late, and halfheartedly.


If you were the CEO of a bank high on your list of goals is to grow the bank's deposits.  If you can get Mrs. Jones to buy a $50,000 CD you can lend her money to somebody and earn interest on the spread between what you pay Mrs. Jones and what the borrow pays the bank.  In a nutshell that's what bankinig is all about.


Now, why in the world would you want the bank to make an effort to get Mrs. Jones to buy $50,000 worth of something else instead of a CD?


The Mutual Fund industry has studies that seem to suggest that by offering brokerage services the bank actually attracts new money from the client. Essentially what they're saying is that Mrs. Jones buys the CD and also buys a mutual fund.


That, of course, does not make sense--but what MIGHT happen is that Mrs. Jones allows the bank to become the servicing broker for a mutual fund.  Or perhaps Mrs. Jones will buy an annuity from the bank because she doesn't have a strong relationship with a life insurance guy.


There are a lot of scenarios that can develop but the reality is that senior management in banks do not consider their efforts to compete with Merrill to be well founded--and therefore will not well fund them.


When they first started to compete--about fifteen years ago--they made the strategic mistake of promoting from within.  Move a guy who was a good commercial lender over to the broker/dealer--send a teller or two to a Series 6 cram course and get them licensed to sell funds and annuities.


It never occured to them that Wall Street is a selling game, and a good commercial lending officer or teller is not necessarily a good salesperson--if they were they would be a salesperson instead of a lending officer or teller.


Industry organizations such as the Securities Industry Association and the NASD organized groups of senior officers from the bank broker dealers and over the course of several years convinced them that they were never going to break out if they didn't hire salespeople.


So, the banks began to recruit from places like Merrill.  Enter another reality.  Banks don't really pay all that well, and a star finanical advisor makes a lot more money than almost everybody who works at a bank.


So here is a recruiting vice president from a bank--earning $75,000 a year trying to recruit from brokerage houses.


If you're earning $350,000 at Merrill are you going to be impressed by a guy wearing cheap clothes offering you the opportunity to sit at a child-like desk next to the receptionist at a bank branch?


Of course not.  But the banks had been convinced that they needed sales people and that brokerage sales experience is the most desireable type of experience.


So they, the banks, lowered their sights and decided to start recruiting brokers from Merrill who were about to wash out.  I am aware of bank B/D officers who actually had dinner with the local wirehouse managers and told them that they, the bank, would be happy to hire brokers who were little more than dead wood at the wirehouse.


This allowed the wirehouse managers a bit of flexibility.  That broker out there in the office who is actually little more than a breakeven situation could be nudged out the door in the direction of the bank.


Oh sure, they might take a few accounts with them, but they're not making it here so how much damage can they do if they pulled all of their accounts with them?


The bottom line is that banks are still trying to find their "sea legs."  A guy can make a career out of a bank, but a woman will find them to be more friendly.  In most of the senior officers are women and they are exceptionally women friendly environments.


It is true that they don't have to do a lot of prospecting--tellers will "bird dog" for them


"Mrs. Johnson, since you're cashing dividend checks it means that you are an investor.  Have you met Mrs. Jones our investment professional?


No?  Well, she's in our branch every Wednesday.  Could I arrange a meeting for you?"


They'll often give it a bit of a nudge such as, "We're having a contest for two tickets to the symphony and if you'll just meet with her I'll have a better chance of winning."  Who can turn that down?


Now, remember that I"m old so I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about as well as somebody who has been in the business since way back before Christmas.


Jun 30, 2006 10:39 am

NASD hits it right on the head with regard to sales ability being the most important trait for trainees. Lack of sales ability and refusal to accept the reailty of the sales aspect of the biz are two big reasons for the high failure rate among trainees. This is why I advise young college grads to get some sales experience first. First to find out if they can sell and secondly to find out if they like it. Dragging a bag behind you selling copy machines for a few years is an excellent training program for this biz. As would be selling just about anything else.


One of the most successful brokers I know of sold cars as a way to get experience. When he tried to get into the biz he was rejected by firm after firm because he lacked sales experience. One manager told him to get a sales job, any sales job, and to mail him his production reports. The trainee candidate then tried to get hired on as a sales person with several firms and couldn't because of his lack of sales experience. Finally, after being rejected by the local Ford dealership he pleaded with the manager to hire him. Imagine this, this guy is in his thirties, and has a masters degree, could get a job in his technical field in a heart beat, and is practically begging to get hired. He made a deal with the manager that he wouldn't take anything from the existing sales people and would develope his own leads. The manager hired him. To develope leads he cold walked the streets near the dealership. Within six months he was the dealership's top producing sales person. As agreed, he kept sending his monthly sales production reports to the wirehouse mgr. It took about a year for the wirehouse to hire him. He went on to become a two million dollar producer. He's an extraordinary person but still, this is what it takes to succeed.

Jun 30, 2006 10:52 am
joedabrkr:



....and you were chastising me for investing in that club membership....


That was "Big Easy Flood" but I agree with him, I don't believe you're such a failed planner that you'd actually do that for a couple of years.

Jun 30, 2006 11:39 am
mikebutler222:
NASD Newbie:
bjack73:

my friend does not have sales exp. He is a CPA and is 36 yrs old. He does not have a network of people to give him referrals.


Ah, the perfect candidate.


A harsh reality, boys and girls, is that this is a sales business and in order to succeed you have to be a salesperson first and foremost.


However, you must also never lose sight of the fact that you also have competition--lots and lots of it.


There are very few, like almost no, potential clients who do not have a friend or family member who is a financial advisor.


Having a network is critical to success.  If you cannot sit down with a yellow pad and damn near fill it up with the names of people who you think might--just might--do business with you if you get registered you really ought to give the entire experiment a second thought.


What seems to have happened is--due to the fact that individuals are now in charge of their own retirements--the job title known as financial advisor has become more noticable than it was twenty or so years ago.


As a result it's showing up things like "Top paying jobs" lists and young people coming out of school are deciding that that is what they want to be when they grow up.


Well, it's not that easy.  Without fabulous selling skills and a huge network of possible clients you'd do better spending your time on a practice tee hoping to be able to qualify for the tour.


Those of you who are whining about making cold calls for hour after hour--consider it the equivalent of spending days, weeks, months hitting buckets of balls.




He's old, he's grump and he's generally just a PITA, but on this one, he's 100% right.



No he is an idiot.  I like you Mike, but I cannot believe you read his posts.  As soon as I see his sign on, I hit the down key.  I do not read his posts OR RESPOND TO THEM. 

Jun 30, 2006 11:41 am
tjc45:

NASD hits it right on the head with regard to sales ability being the most important trait for trainees. Lack of sales ability and refusal to accept the reailty of the sales aspect of the biz are two big reasons for the high failure rate among trainees. This is why I advise young college grads to get some sales experience first. First to find out if they can sell and secondly to find out if they like it. Dragging a bag behind you selling copy machines for a few years is an excellent training program for this biz. As would be selling just about anything else.


One of the most successful brokers I know of sold cars as a way to get experience. When he tried to get into the biz he was rejected by firm after firm because he lacked sales experience. One manager told him to get a sales job, any sales job, and to mail him his production reports. The trainee candidate then tried to get hired on as a sales person with several firms and couldn't because of his lack of sales experience. Finally, after being rejected by the local Ford dealership he pleaded with the manager to hire him. Imagine this, this guy is in his thirties, and has a masters degree, could get a job in his technical field in a heart beat, and is practically begging to get hired. He made a deal with the manager that he wouldn't take anything from the existing sales people and would develope his own leads. The manager hired him. To develope leads he cold walked the streets near the dealership. Within six months he was the dealership's top producing sales person. As agreed, he kept sending his monthly sales production reports to the wirehouse mgr. It took about a year for the wirehouse to hire him. He went on to become a two million dollar producer. He's an extraordinary person but still, this is what it takes to succeed.



YOU ARE PROBABLY JUST NASD, PUT, BIG EASY UNDER ANOTHER NAME.  Most of us here do NOT READ posts from those idiots nor respond to them.