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Absolute Best Firm for Career Change

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Apr 19, 2013 4:30 am

Hi everyone,

I have been visiting this forum on a regular basis but never quite registered to post. I recently joined Edward Jones quitting a job which paid a six figure salary. The reason was I was looking for a career change in the investment world. I have been managing personal and family portfolios - worth more than $1M since last few years and I dare say that I do a pretty darn good job. I am a self-taught investment junkie and have led investment clubs in undergrad and grad school. I was getting a little bored at my previous job so decided to make a switch. There was no way that I could jump to a Chief Investment Officer job without a formal financial background. So I thought that maybe, starting with a Financial Advisor would be a good idea since I would at least get my foot in the door, get licenses and get training.

I researched and researched and found that Edward Jones is No. 1 in providing training. So I started my journey with EJ in Janaury - got my Series 7 and Series 66 licenses. Three weeks ago, I went to KYC. I have to say, the training was just amazing - no doubt about it. However, it was a little bit of an eye opener. I have no problem with door knocking really or sales. But I am not a salesman. I am very analytical minded and I want to do investment management. I want to be an investment manager who can also do sales. I do not want to be a salesman who can also manage investments. If I become a mere salesman, my mathematical, analytical and investment managemet skills will be wasted - that very thought is giving me sleepless nights.

Am I going overboard with this? Is Edward Jones the right firm for me? Are there firms which will hire you for your investment management skills and not send you door to door trying to sell investments? I do not doubt Edward Jones model but its difficult to see myself fitting in that model and essentially becoming a salesman. I am also planning to take CFA level 1 in December. Please help me out here. Give me suggestions. Feel free to steamroll me in the process. Trust me, I am used to working very hard and I know I am very smart - not trying to be overly pompous here - but laying out the facts.

Also, are Financial Advisor positions in national and local banks worth anyone's time? Do they make anywhere close to what some EJ folks make?

Thank you everyone.

- Mike

Apr 26, 2013 3:27 am


A little word to the wise–if you’re literally losing sleep over something like this, you might want to rethink your career change. I’m not even saying that to be a jerk. I’m saying that so you take this opportunity to sit down, and think about the move you’re attempting to make. Maybe write those thoughts down on paper if it helps, anything to slow yourself down and understand how things actually work. How careers are actually built. Financial advising–managing the wealth of (hopefully) the same clients for decades–is a career that takes a lot of time and experience to be really, really good at. Before you decide to go this route, you should have a clear understanding that you are not going to be handed a loaded book right out of the gate… even if you “know you want to be an investment advisor” (oh, but don’t we all???).

There are a lot of invaluable lessons you need to learn along the way. One of which is that, until your performance can speak for itself, you’ll need to be able to sell yourself to clients. I know I know, being a “mere salesman” is for poor people and state-school grads, but you may be surprised to hear that it’s how a lot of successful advisors broke into the industry. In fact, the inherent, necessary skills of a good salesman are pretty important for being a great advisor as well. While being analytical is all well and good, the majority of wealthy people (i.e., people you want as clients) would rather hand their money and assets over to someone they feel they can call anytime, someone they feel is looking out for them, and someone they feel they can trust, especially when markets make a turn for the worse. Which brings me to the main point…

A good salesman is one who can pick up the phone and dial a prospect’s number after being rejected by the previous 100. A good advisor is one who can still answer a client’s call with confidence, when his investment decisions just lost that person 5% of their NW in one day. The best advisors don’t just graduate from college or move from another industry with that natural ability. It takes years of failing and feeling like all hope is lost, then swallowing your pride and redeeming yourself with success, before you’re confident enough to have the weight of $100M+ on your shoulders.

These ideas may seem like they came out of a “Motivation 101” book or something, but I’m absolutely serious. If you’re losing sleep b/c you think you may have chosen the wrong firm, over what you observe to be a skill-set mismatch, then you have a serious lack of understanding of what it takes to become a successful advisor. How do you see yourself getting clients (i.e., money) when you don’t want to go out and find them? How do you see yourself getting any sleep at all when your investments turn sour and you have 100+ clients calling to ask why you’re losing them money? I’m sure you’re super smart and have a great investment strategy, but I sincerely hope, for the sake of your sanity, that you realize just how uninformed your perception is right now. B/c if you’re losing sleep over the possibility that your “mathematical, analytical, and investment management skills will be wasted”… you’re going to be the very definition of “insomniac”.

P.S… this just registered w/ me… your previous job was “managing personal and family portfolios worth $1M+”? So you’re going from being a financial advisor making 6 figures to being… a financial advisor-in-training… Welp, good luck with that future CIO position. Should be right around the corner at the rate you’re goin’.

May 10, 2013 4:53 pm

Ever considered a job as an analyst? Sounds like you may be better suited for that path in finance.
Though I’m relatively new, I agree with a lot of what Persy said. The job is mostly about relationships with clients.
Also, search the site for EJ input. Lots of people on here either work there or have worked there and there is a lot of good info.