Superstar brokers are receiving unimaginable compensation to switch firms. And lesser performers are asking recruiters to negotiate record transition packages for them. But don't expect managers to throw money at just any advisor with great production numbers.
Managers also look for highly motivated advisors who know what they want. Only then is an advisor going to get the best offer. What firms are looking for primarily is that you have a burning desire, a deep commitment to accomplish things that you just can't do at your present firm. You must convince the hiring manager that only his firm has what you need to do the job. It may be products and services, a unique support staff, an unrivaled reputation, a great client referral source or all of these things.
Be Ready to Jump
How decisive you are is also an important factor in winning a great package, and not just because the manager is judging your decision-making ability. You and a prospective branch manager will have a limited window of opportunity in which to assess one another. When an offer is extended, you must be prepared to act quickly and appropriately.
Certainly, you must make sure that all of your issues have been addressed before making this decision. Your recruiter's job is to expose you only to the firms that best match your needs. Your first offer may meet all your criteria but you may feel uneasy about accepting it because you think the due-diligence process would be arduous. Remember, your recruiter has done the behind-the-scenes legwork and eliminated opportunities that would not fit your career goals, automatically simplifying the process for you.
Plus, taking too long to make up your mind increases the possibility that your current employer will find out that you're looking to leave the firm. To be sure, every broker, at some point in his career, considers taking meetings with managers from competing firms. Not only is it acceptable, it is smart to do so, because the landscape of the industry is changing all the time.
Discretion Is the Key
Still, looking to change jobs can make you more vulnerable to losing your current position while you are thinking about moving. And if you are fired — for any reason — having the word “termination” appear on a U5 form can make finding another good job extremely difficult.
That said, there are things you can do to minimize the chances of your current employer taking any punitive action against you. Call them your “Five Rules of Discretion”:
Keep any literature from competitive firms out of the office.
Make calls and send emails to managers at other firms using your phone and your computer.
Meet with competitors on your own time — after work, on days off or on weekends.
Do not share proprietary information about your firm with outsiders.
Do not badmouth your current firm or manager in order to position yourself with a competitor.
If you keep these rules in mind, you'll be able to explore opportunities with a clear conscious, and if you receive a handsome offer, remember: accepting it should not just be about the money.
Writer's BIO: Mindy Diamond founded Chester, N.J.-based Diamond Consultants, which specializes in retail brokerage and banking recruiting www.diamondrecruiter.com