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Mar 5, 2008 10:42 am

hey everyone, i am new to the board but have been reading and visiting frequently over the past six months. I am looking for some direction from some experienced reps as I start at a new firm. I have interviewed with almost every reputable company in my area and have narrowed it down to 3 choices…each of which is a different path. First about me, I am a 26 year old college grad with 2 years experience at wells fargo financial where I have soliciting, loan, and credit management experience. I left WFF as soon as I could because of the industry and thier practices. I then interviwed with a local financial planning firm associated with MassMutual and MILISI (4th highest grossing massmutual firm in the country). The firm is the most successful in the area with about 100 reps (mostly well established veterans), little to no training program, no base salary, but a wealth of experience and knowledge to pull from and possible mentor relationships that can be very profitable in the long run.  The 2nd is with Smith Barney, which also holds a large market share in the area and can provide me with the 2 year training program and salary as I start out. The 3rd is with Wachovia as a in branch Financial Advisor. This position has a 42k base, 12 week training, encompasses loan products as well (WFF experience in play) and has those great banking hours.

  my question is what situation you guys would take for a young inexperienced guy who needs to make 45k this year to survive. i am very driven, work hard, and have my health life, series 6, and 63. I have a market plan and about 100 names I feel confident in calling for business and referaals immediatly. I am leaning toward the wachovia job as it allows me to gain experience, make some money, and then switch to an indy or wirehouse in maybe 2 years (probably would then go to MassMutual). Thanks so much for your time and any help! 
Mar 5, 2008 11:01 am

Skip 1 if you need to make 45k

2 would be best if you are pretty confortable with what you are going to be selling and don't want to rely as much on "training" (I think much of training in these types of companies is more sales training than product training) 3 would probably be best if you really want true product and sales training and are willing to sacrifice your earnings potential   I am currently looking as well and I would take #2, but I already have a similar job to #3 in some respects (mostly salaried) and I am ready to get out on my own a bit.  Not an expert FA yet, but I have become an expert interviewer and screener of companies as of late!
Mar 5, 2008 11:19 am

“Skip 1 if you need to make 45k”

  At a company like MassMutual, there is no way that you won't make 45K if you do what needs to be done on a daily basis and do a lot of joint work.
Mar 5, 2008 12:53 pm

My vote would have to got to SB or Wachovia.

Wachovia is certainly the “safer” choice, since you won’t after to sacrafice a lot of your earnings. Plus, your experience comes into play so you’ll advance fairly well if positions are available.

Smith Barney, from what I gather, is good with new reps. You have a pretty good base to keep you alive for a few years.  However, they might require you to take a series 7. Not sure, I’m not familiarly with there internal products, if they even have any.

Mar 5, 2008 1:22 pm

I have no idea what you mean by you left as soon as you could because of “the industry and their practices.”  It’s always easier to think the problem is with someone or something other than ourself, but it’s usually just an excuse. 

Having said that, Wachovia and SB will be variations on the same theme, more alike than not.  Forget completely about the notion that you could work “those great banking hours” at either one as a rookie and survive.  Not even close.  To the extent some in the branch may be working fewer hours they will be already established and generating decent production/income, or they will be on their way out.

Careful also about the notion you can easily leave after two years to go somewhere else, as an unlicensed (Series 7) trainee you will be required to sign a contract that says if you leave on your own accord within the first 3-5 years (varies by firm) and stay in the industry you will have to repay some portion of your so-called ‘training costs’ (again varies by firm but I believe now runs about $50-75M).  

As for the training at SB/WS vs the MM agency, don’t think that the formal training will automatically be more valuable.  A good mentor who cares about helping you make it could be a huge benefit.

Finally, you need to decide how much you want to do insurance related business, which can be a great advantage in starting out.  You need to read up on this - search various great posts by anonymous especially - to fully understand how virtually everyone is a prospect for insurance, while the prospect pool for investment assets is more limited (not everyone has accumulated assets that need managing), ESPECIALLY for a rookie starting out.

Mar 5, 2008 1:45 pm

By “industry and thier practices” I simply meant the sub-prime market that i primarily dealt with and the less-than-compliant atmosphere in which the branch practiced. Even in my short time at MM I have seen the correct way to do business, so there are firms out there that run an ethical upstanding ship.

  And I was being sarcastic with the banking hours, I understand that as a new rep 50-60 hour work weeks are the norm not the exception. I am used to runnin after hour and weekend appointments so that won't be an adjustment. My main concerns are with my long-term. If I can make 45k with MM then I believe it will pay out more in the end, but If I can get some better experience and make a bit more for a few years before going the more "entreprenurial" route than maybe that would be more beneficial.
Mar 5, 2008 1:59 pm

I vote MassMutual – $45k at a good quality insurance house is the bottom range of what you should make first year, IF you do what they tell you to do and split cases with a mentor. 

  I will guess that most responses you receive on these boards will be for option 2 or 3, because most people here are with wirehouses or indy, and don't have familiarity with insurance companies.  People can only recommend what they know.
Mar 5, 2008 4:56 pm

I work at a small insurance RIA firm. My biggest grief is that insurance sales is the big source of revenue. The investment side is more like the ed headed step child.

I’m sure its not true at all firms, but something to watch out for.