Only one-fourth (26 percent) of advisors started their professional lives in the industry; the majority came into the profession after spending time in another career, according to REP.’s annual compensation survey.
Of those career-changers, nearly 23 percent used to be sales professionals, while about 5 percent used to be in the military (wirehouse and regional firms have the highest percentage of former military personnel.) In the past, some broker/dealers, such as Wachovia, focused on recruiting specifically ex-military and college athletes, because these individuals were disciplined, says Scott Smith, research director at Cerulli Associates.
“They were looking for, at the time, people in a career who were youngish and making $60,000 to $150,000 because it showed they were successful, but not so successful that it would take forever to get back to their comp level,” Smith said.
But today, the largest number of advisors (38 percent) comes from “other” professions—many mentioned working as accountants, traders, mortgage brokers and engineers. Other previous professions mentioned by advisors? Pastor, entertainment executive in Hollywood, and at least one cowboy.