Disillusioned - Which firm to work for?
I believe that LPL IS a good company in general, but they probably aren't right for you at this point unless you can find an independent willing to take you on without experience. LPL will not take you on in your own office without proven production and past experience (I believe five years). I believe that LPL has a job post function on their website now...just something I read in passing...haven't checked on it yet. You can always post or browse there if you want to try to join an independent LPL office.
You may also want to consider Raymond James, AG Edwards, or if you like the idea of working closer to Wall Street, Merrill Lynch. These are all pretty reputable firms...it's just a matter of fit.
Please let me first explain my situation.
I have just graduated from a reputable college in the past December with a degree in Computer Science (and minors in Math and Philosophy).
During my senior year, I became very interested in finance and economics in general and was considering going to grad school for econ. or earning a MBA in finance after college.
However, plans changed and after moving down to FL I decided instead to start working immediately as a Financial Advisor. This is what I want to do for a living.
About two months ago, I was hired by a firm that offered many great promises. Unfortunately, I did some research and that their "service" goes as far as selling either VUL or VA, identical to the tactics of WFG/WMA (from what I have read).
I have absolutely no intention of scamming clients. I have just found this out less than a week ago, and am leaving the company ASAP.
Since my degree was not in finance, for the past 6 months I have been reading furiously to educate myself (major personal finance magazines, books (Random Walk, Intelligent Asset Allocator, Five Pillars of Investing, etc], and have been reading the Morningstar forums). I already have the NASD Series 6 license, and have already sat through the mandatory state insurance class.
Basically, I need a job, and don't know whom to work for. The more I research, the more disillusioned with the industry as a whole I become. However, I feel that there has to be some firms that are really looking out for the best interest of the clients.
I absolutely love finance and the idea of helping out "life-long" clients. However, as a newcomer I simply do not know where to go.
I’ll be honest, from what I have read on the board so far, it seems companies like LPL are the best, but this may just be my reactionary bias toward the more “independent companies” because of my experience. If I am wrong, please educate me.
I suppose my question is therefore twofold,
1. A person with my qualifications (or lack thereof), how likely is it that I can land a decent job in the industry?
2. Where should I apply to?
Any other advices/suggestions are obviously welcome. Thank you very much in advance,
You should naturally attempt to get interviews at the following major firms:
1. Merrill Lynch
2. Citigroup / Smith Barney
5. Morgan Stanley
All of them have decent training programs. More or less the list above is the order in which I would rank the training (based on very limited data - my experience, however). Most of the knowledge base required to do this job can be obtained while in training and while actually working with clients. The level of sophistication that clients demand has increased substantially in teh last few years, but firms have largely sought to address this by encouraging teaming and current education (i.e. the CFP).
Depending upon several factors, they may see you as having too little life experience to be effective at obtaining and maintaining HNW client relationships. This will have more to do with the area in which you are located (which is pretty brokered-out) than with you, but my experience is that the VAST majority of new advisors have 5-10 years experience in some other industry before coming to finance. There is a decided preference for people they expect will have extensive contacts. Morgan Stanley may be your best chance, as they seem to be more willing to hire new graduates, but from what I understand, it has the weakest training program of the major firms. That is probably changing, however, as there is new management and a commitment to increase the overall standards of the firm.
You will receive the advice from many that you should plan to work for 3 or so years as an assistant or in some other support capacity before you get hired as a broker. You should examine whether this is an acceptable option to you. My guess is that most people in this industry will feel that you are too young to succeed at this line of work. You will need to provide a pretty compelling case for why they are wrong.
I should also note that I have already established an un-utilized client base of 30+, most of which are very interested and ready to start investing whenever I am. Does that give me any leverage in my job hunt?
All you have is a list of people who are polite to you. "Mr. Lawyer-to-be, when you pass that bar exam will you please represent me in my capital murder trial?"
As much as I can’t wait to get out of EDJ, I still think they are great
for true newbies. I’m curious, how do newbies at other companies
get started (as opposed to the dreaded door knock). Cold calling,
take over book, networking… what? I’ve heard they sit you down
at a cubie, tear a page out of the phone book, and set you free.
Is that true?
I’d look for a small regional bank. You’ll get absolutely no training (“Here’s your desk and the addresses of your three branches.”), but you’ll be able to get in front of four people a day. Granted, these will not be the most desirable clients in the world, but you’ll need the practice, anyway. I don’t think there’s any training that can replace the actual experience.
Please don’t apply at EDJ. I don’t want to train some idiot (er, moron?) that is taking the advice on where to start in a very difficult career from anonymous people on line. If you don’t have better people to ask for career advice, then you probably don’t have the connections to make it in this business from scratch. Good Luck though!
C’mon Incredible. It is not like people are making decisions
based on these posts. It is one of several places to go for
spirited opinions. Forums are useful with many things, including
this career field.
Seems to me that someone is giving themselves a little too much credit for training. Programs are not successful - people are successful. If Siux15 has as much fire and passion as it appears – this may be a well-suited career. Nothing ventured – nothing gained.