Career change from VP to ... FA?

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Jul 21, 2011 3:57 am

Thinking seriously of going from a Tech VP at a major US investment bank to EDJ.

I’ve toyed with the idea for a while. I’ve always been successful at work, going from a front-line tech guru to managing global teams. But I’m 34 and burned out with the scene. New regulation coming down the pipe has my firm shedding business left and right. We are squeezing operations cost and calling it profit. It’s not so fun anymore. I found out today that my job may be at risk due to redundancies in management. It isn’t a surprise - we have been cutting so many foot-soldiers the chiefs had to go at some point.

I have some options, but I am very, very intrigued by the idea of being an FA. Yes, I know I will be out there taking a 80% pay cut (okay, maybe 70% pay cut if I make all my goals the 1st year, which i’m damn sure to do). I know there will be ‘humiliating’ times running around knocking on doors. Not to mention the fact that I have to cut my teeth in a new industry all over again. But hell at least I will be outside and meeting people in my community and getting to know the folks who live in this area. I won’t have to be away from my family so much.

Last March I was in India for over a month for some unplanned shakeups. Not a fan of India (no offense to anyone here). Don’t think I have to leave the country really ever as an FA.

I’m not totally a newb when it comes to financial advisory. I know what financial instruments are and what they do. I have a degree in the subject & 7 years with a major US bank. I like working with people and having the feeling that I’m forging my own path here. The pay cut will be a real, honest-to-God, gut-check moment. But I sense that austerity breeds appreciation down the line. I like the idea of thinking that this is do-or-die. I really feel like could grow not only as a professional, but as a more complete human. There is something intangibly exciting to me about the idea of closing a sale - the arc from preparation to closure seems like it would be just chock full of emotion. I think the rejection will come like i’m drinking from a fire hydrant, but ultimately, I think the good moments will be of better quality and better suited for memory.

So, I’m looking at EDJ - I filled out their online questionnaire and now have an interview coming up as well as lunch with one of the regional FA folks who is looking up some specific questions around annuities I had for them (I want to see if there is a way to leverage annuities sales as part of a structured settlement bid, i have some attorney friends who have offered to let me take a crack at their plaintiffs should I become an FA).

I guess I’m looking for some guidance - I think EDJ would probably suit me best, but if anyone reads this and thinks there might be a better option out there for an old career-changer like me I’d love to hear it. You can give me some war-stories too if you like

Thanks -

Jul 21, 2011 1:10 pm

why would you go to jones?  

You have the background to go to WFA, ML or MSSB and make 50-75K in salary while building your book for 2 years.  

I just did the same thing (jumping from lawyer to FA) and the only thing that appealed to me was the wirehouses, specifically because I would not be taking a 75% bath on pay up front.  And they actually provide some training (SOME).  Anyway, I could be dead wrong because I do not have the experience that many others do, but I do know what the factors in my decision to jump were.  

I would go talk to the branch managers at all the local firms you are interested in.  Get a feel for attrition rate.  Find out who is hiring everyone and who is selective, and then get in with the selective guy.  

And don't let the people on here fool you about attrition - its not that high with some people.  The branch of ML I am starting at in a few weeks has maintained 75% of their FAs through 24 month LOS and almost 50% through 5 years.  They are just selective about who they hire.