This year, Salomon Smith Barney has introduced an Investment Associate program in which sales assistants can become junior partners to the broker with whom they work. After going through training and a one-year apprenticeship under the senior broker, the SA becomes a partner.
If interested in the Investment Associate program, the sales assistant and broker apply to the firm, which uses the same criteria for internal candidates as it does for external ones, according to Scotty King, senior vice president and director of financial consultant associate training at Salomon Smith Barney.
If accepted, the sales assistant goes through the regular financial consultant training program.
While working under the senior broker, the SA is held to the senior brokers goals and standards, points out one Salomon Smith Barney broker whose sales assistant is becoming an investment associate. Shell open her own accounts and run part of my book. Shell do her own sales presentations, and shell sit in on some of mine, the broker says. When the SA becomes a partner, the broker says, then the branch manager becomes her supervisor, and she has to meet new-broker goals.
We think its important for everyone in the organization to have an appropriate career track, says King.
The broker adds, In an era when were trying to have career broadening, this becomes an alternate way to get people in the business.
Because the Investment Associate program is so new, King did not have any statistics on it, but she did say the firm has experienced significant interest in the program.
At SSB, a sales assistant also can apply to become a financial consultant without going through the apprenticeship phase. It dependson what kind of financial consultant they want to be, says King. If they want to build their book from scratch, they can go through the usual training program.
Merrill Lynch has a similar program for its sales assistants. The first level for an SA is client associate, from which they move on to senior associate, explains a spokesperson for Merrill. At that point, the SA has two choices: They could move into marketing and planning, or they could become an investment associate, which leads them down the path to becoming a financial adviser, the spokesperson says.
An investment associate is more involved in a financial advisers daily routine, the firm says, and may become eligible to enter the PDP (professional development program), the training program for financial consultants.
Reps say other firms dont have similar formal programs for SAs. Prudential Securities, for example, has routinely included qualified sales assistants in its FAIT [Financial Advisor in Training] program, and we see no need for a special program, says a firm spokesperson.