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Mar 23, 2006 1:29 pm

Anybody have an idea on what recruitment packages should look like? I have heard as high as 100% upfront and 100% bonus over 2 years.


Mar 23, 2006 3:24 pm

[quote=san fran broker]

Anybody have an idea on what recruitment packages should look like? I have heard as high as 100% upfront and 100% bonus over 2 years.




Yes.  Deals are that good (and sometimes better).  But everything depends on the firm that you choose and the condition of your book.

1. Up front comp comes in the form of a forgivable loan.  This can be 70% to 120% of your T-12.  You will get half of that in cash at the start and half in a mix of short term and long term deferred compensation.

2. Back End Bonuses.  The amount of back end bonus varies with your future production.

The real money is in joining a firm with good growth potential.  Note that it's possible to make more money by taking an average deal with good growth potential than taking a better deal with a brokerage in trouble.  This is especially true if you new brokerage has a better platform with more products.

For example, suppose you have a $300,000 T12 and negotiate 70% up front with 60/75/90 back end bonuses.  This is a pretty conservative deal.

Once you start you will get $210K up front compensation which is paid out $105K cash and $105K deferred.

Then you start production and begin earning those back end bonuses.

Assuming a 1.4 revenue premium, at eighteen months you will get $42K in cash (that's 60% of your T12 production less the first payment).  This is in recognition of the growth of your book.  This kind of growth isn't unusual if you capture more wallet share of the same customers.

Asssume 10% growth between months 18 and 30.  At month 30 you will get another $95K in cash.  (that's 75% of your T12 production less the previous payments).  This is in recognition of the growth of your book and continued production.  Also, notice that you will still get a payment even with relatively flat production.

Finally, assume another 10% growth between month 30 and your final bonus.  That would bring your current production up to $508k.  You will get a final cash payment of $111k  (that's 90% of your T12 production less the previous payments).

That's total compensation of $457K out of a 70% deal on a $300K book.  That kind of money was possible because the broker went for growth potential.

But watch the small print.  Some firms require you to sign an additional time commitment to get those back end bonuses.  Others don't.

This is just an example.  Like I said, everybody's deals are different.  That's why good negotiations are so important.

Also, you will want to negotiate more than compensation when you change.  For example, transition assistance and marketing support are major factors.  And none of it will be worthwhile if you don't have products that meet your clients' needs, a good public reputation and a branch manager who supports your practice.

Mar 24, 2006 7:25 pm

what could one expect as a new broker in terms of salary from a firm like Merrill, SB, UBS?

In my case I am fully licensed and have worked as a glorified sales asst. for a $100 million book. 



Mar 24, 2006 8:02 pm


what could one expect as a new broker in terms of salary from a firm like Merrill, SB, UBS?

In my case I am fully licensed and have worked as a glorified sales asst. for a $100 million book. 




I think you should expect AT LEAST 150-200k per year, more if you live in a major city.
Mar 24, 2006 8:27 pm

 Joe’s been in the wine again!

Mar 24, 2006 9:26 pm

Like most everyone else, I get two or more calls a week. The deals I've seen recently have been pretty uniform whether they're from wirehouses or regionals/banks. They've been 100% T12 upfront, in cash (forgiveable loan) none of it in defered comp or stock. The place they've varied is the back-end production/asset bonuses. Some have been cash others in DC.

Regionals/banks seem more willing to lay out the bucks with UBS a close second.

Mar 25, 2006 3:47 pm

Don’t move for the money. Move for the culture/fit. The $$ just helps on the pain of the move. Also, DO NOT blow the front check on stupid stuff. Either save it or pay off house or ?? If you have the dough “in the bank” and it isn’t working out @ new firm, you can walk and pay them back any unamort. amt.

Mar 25, 2006 4:22 pm

[quote=Indyone] Joe’s been in the wine again![/quote]

Damn…what gave me away?

Mar 27, 2006 2:19 am


what could one expect as a new broker in terms of salary from a firm like Merrill, SB, UBS?

In my case I am fully licensed and have worked as a glorified sales asst. for a $100 million book. 




I've placed transitional candidates (licensed without book) at all three firms that you mention.  Deals vary somewhat, so I'm going to talk in general terms.

"Typical" salary ranges from $40K to $80K.  I've seen  them go up to $100K in exceptional circumstances.  The duration of the salary varies with the size of the salary and the firm's policy.  Higher salaries vanish faster, and often require approvals from senior management.

Your experience would put you in the upper half of the "typical" range, but it's hard to say without knowing your location.  Cost of living and local supply/demand have to be factored in.  (For example, Denver pays better than Tulsa, because of the cost of living.  Long Island pays better than Manhattan at the trainee level because Manhattan is over-brokered).

Salary size does vary from firm to firm.  Some firms pay slightly better starting salaries, but the salaries decline during the training period.  Also; some firms reduce payouts for trainees by limiting products, etc.  So watch your fine print and get a good headhunter (shameless plug). 

The best headhunters will work with you (even transitionals) and help you figure out the best firm and branch for your style.

There are even differences in compensation preferences between branch managers of the same firm within neighboring regions.  Some want you a little hungry.  Others want you VERY hungry.

Echoing an earlier comment, NEVER make your decision solely on salary.  You only get one (sometimes two) shots at building a book with a Wirehouse.  You should go with whichever firm and branch will give you the best shot at success.

Mar 27, 2006 3:59 am


What kind of minority recruitment packages have you seen?

The recent Registered Rep article about diversity/discrimination had a recruiter stating that a minority candidate could get double the standard deal.  Of course most recruiters don't ask somebody's race when they call and most reps don't offer that information.

Anyway...any information that you can share to shed the light on the subject would be very much appreciated.

Mar 27, 2006 7:50 pm


Good question.  Some journalists suggest that the diversity gap is a recent revelation.  That is not true. There has been a great deal of focus on diversity recruiting for many years now.  Diversity recruiting goes beyond EEOC compliance: it makes good business sense, too.

May 2, 2006 3:25 am


You seem to know a thing or two about compensation for FAs.  I am interviewing with UBS and ML without no experience and a book of business.  However, in my former life, I worked as an attorney, doing litigation and transaction stuff.  I also have an MBA in finance from a regional school in the Midwest. I have worked over 10 years and am in the mid 30s.

I want to stay in Chicago, or else be in NYC.  Do you know what UBS and ML pay trainees?  Just base salary, or base salary + bonus?  I understand that they don't expect a big production number from trainees, at least in the first 18 months while trainees get their required security licenses and good training stuff.

I want to make a reasoned decision with all the necessary and relevant info before signing on the dotted line.

Any information is greatly appreciated.


May 2, 2006 4:11 am


I will answer that question for you.  Find a new career.  Your overeducated and underqualified to be a retail broker.  This is a sales job, I don't care if you were allen greenspan in your former career this is a sales job. Most guys who do well as brokers are college dropouts entrepreneur types.

If a wirehouse is going to pay you 100K for 2 years it should be irrelevant because in 3 months you will know if your going to succeed or fail, and a smart manager will too and you will likely have goals along the way, my guess is you already know, this is the hardest career out there to become successful at that is why the top dogs make 300K +, knowledge, education, contacts someone with the ability to bullsh*t has an advantage over you.  If that doesn't piss off someone who went to school for 10-12 years I don't have a clue what steams you.

If I were you I'd go back to school :)

May 2, 2006 12:14 pm


We have hired a couple former attorneys and they have done well. 
We gave them a salary of about 100k for 18 months, then they were on
pure commission/fees.  At that point each had about 20 million in
assets, generating about $200k in fees, which results in about $85k
cash to them.  One has stayed about there while the other one now
has about $30 mil (3 years in the busisness) and she is making about
$130k.  From here is just rises as long as you do the job

A note- she is outstanding, and the other is average, a bit lazy
actually.  They bother were able to use their previous contacts to
get into law firms and do specialty work (ex: divorces, special needs,
etc…).  The one doing better works her tail off: she is in
around 6:00am do do her office work and proposals, then she is gone
most of the day working via cell and Blackbery.  She leaves at
4:30 everyday to pick up her kids.  She works on Saturday for
about 2/3 of the day, sometimes bringing her 2 kids in with toys and a

Bankrep is right in that is is such sales, but a little off base in
that your overeducated, or whatever.  This career is noble,
rewarding, and difficult.  No one in it should cheapen it by
reducing it to a sales schtick.  View it as more and you will be
rewarded as such.

May 2, 2006 12:18 pm

Agree with bankrep1.  Of course, there are exceptions, but I think being over-educated at the beginning of this career is a detriment.  You lose sight that this is a "sales" job and the product knowledge only enhances your sales ability.  After you've honed your sales ability, then the knowledge is very powerful but it will always take a back seat to the sales ability.

May 2, 2006 12:42 pm

Let me justify my overeducation point as I personally believe education is very important.  I have a bachelors, the CFP, and I am almost finished with my MSFS.

Someone who has that much education expects to be paid for being smart.  They also expect to be paid because they spent 10 - 12 years in school when Joe schmo didn't.  In this career it does not matter if you have your doctorate or you diploma (high school), you both have an equal chance at success.

May 2, 2006 1:55 pm

...on a personal note...

if one forsees divorce, move after the divorce or before?

May 2, 2006 2:31 pm

Usually she will kick you out of the house before it’s finalized.

May 2, 2006 2:41 pm

all things being equal, wait until the ink has dried?

May 3, 2006 3:00 am


Thanks Rightway.  Most jobs are sales jobs.  Actually all jobs are sales jobs, whether you are selling your expertise, knowledge, or a product like a vacuum cleaner.  So, lawyers sell their legal knowledge and expertise.  Physicians sell their medical knowledge and expertise.  Engineers sell their engineering knowledge and expertise AND the products they engineer.  FAs, for that matter, sell their financial knowledge and expertise.

And yes Cadieux, it's only a sales job and a high school drop-out can certainly sell as well as one with a doctorate degree in math.  Sure your company might do as well by recruiting high school dropouts in this business and pay them a lot less because, guess what, "you're not educated."  The problem here is that I don't see YOU hire the high school dropout if given a choice.  In this business, it's all about trust, relationship, integrity, and expertise.  (Besides the legal ramifications and protecting the general public, that's the reason the SEC does not let FAs sell unless they have the proper securities license(s).)

And yes Cadieux, the only difference between the high school dropout and the one with real education is the level of service provided and the ability to recognize problems related to legal and financial issues.  Unless your family has a mile deep of connection with movers and shakers with real power and money, lawyers and doctors are the ones with real money and I certainly can leverage my connections there.

I am a hard worker and believe that money and power should be earned, not given.  I am willing to give it a chance to succeed.

Rightway, I wonder if you're working for or with a wirehouse and am interested in discussing this matter with you further off list.  Please e-mail me on private posting if you're interested. 

Thanks everyone,