Goal is Wealth Advisor. Is Bank FA is an OK path?

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Aug 11, 2009 12:16 pm

Hi!  I actually have had my licenses (7, 66) for more than eight years now.  I have focused mostly on the tax side of the business.  Our tax practice is being sold, and I realize I have more interests in financial planning than in taxes.  So I would like to pursue a career as a “wealth advisor” or "wealth manager."

I am an enrolled agent (federal tax license) and I have had good exposure to trusts, estate tax, and gift tax planning (having trusts as investment client and assist in preparing trust and estate returns etc.)  But I know my quantifiable qualifications are probably not quite enough to directly get me a wealth advisor job.  So I am doing job search as a FA - and in the bank category.

The reason I am doing the search in the bank category is because the advice I read on this board actually (by SBmss, to be more precise).  I don’t think I’m going to be great at cold calling.  I enjoy face-to-face meetings better, and that’s been what I’ve been doing too (prospecting clients at tax interviews.)

So here’s the questions (finally), has anyone here successfully transitioned from a FA role to a wealth advisor role within the same bank? If so, I’d certainly like advice on how you did it.

And even if you are not one of the people who had the aforementioned transition, would you help answer my question from your experience – Would the bank path be somewhat achievable for someone who like face-to-face meetings better, compared to positions at other B/D who may actually have more focus on wealth management business?

Thanks much!!

Aug 11, 2009 12:31 pm

FAEA - I actually think your qualifications are perfect for the Private Wealth team at any bank. In most cases the book of business is there and you are assigned to maintain and monitor certain clients. A majority of your meetings will be at their place of business and it sounds as if you have been successful in a team environment. The pay scale will start higher, but flatten out. I believe most are salary and year end bonus. It really all depends if you want to build your own book of business or monitor the banks book.

Aug 11, 2009 1:44 pm

That’s good to know!  This is valuable information.  I’ve had a couple of career changes already.  If I can avoid another detour toward my goal, that would be great!  I’ll keep looking into the wealth advisor area.  Thanks again!

Aug 11, 2009 2:57 pm

I don’t know exactly what you mean by wealth advisor. It seems everyone has a different idea what each term means. If you want to be a financial planner, I am at a bank so obviously I think its a good place to start. The private wealth side is much different from what I do because the work in teams and really nuture and develop current relationships where I have to create new ones using the banks retail customers.

Aug 11, 2009 2:58 pm

Geez, I think you may have some good options.  In adition to what Ron said, you may consider a private independant firm that does a lot of trust/estate work.  The other option, if you have built sufficient relationships over the years, is to go out on your own, or partner with someone in the business looking to add someone like you.  But I think your options are much better than just the traditional FA route. 

Aug 11, 2009 3:06 pm

Absolutely. In fact, as I think about it, I wish I entered this career from your path !

Aug 11, 2009 9:29 pm

I think you have several options.  If you wanted to get into private wealth management you may be able to get a position right away with your background.  It would be a team approach and you would be one of the tax experts.  This is working with 5-25 million plus dollar clients.  You could also start at the retail bank side to get in front of people and build your own book.  Good potential to build quick but also restrictions that you may not like.  If it were me I would go Indy and call all those clients you did taxes for and try to pull some assets over.  You probably have a good idea what they already have, which is half the battle, and if you did a good job for them they probably trust and like you.  A lot of people view their EA or CPA as their financial person.  Like Ron said, I wish I had started that way.  I think whichever you choose you will have success with your background as long as you know this is a sales job the first 5 years at least.  Also, if you can’t get into the private wealth management at first, some banks do move the retail FA to that position after several years of success.  Good luck.

Aug 12, 2009 4:12 pm

  I don’t think I’m going to be great at cold calling.  I enjoy face-to-face meetings better, and that’s been what I’ve been doing too (prospecting clients at tax interviews.)

  Don't sell yourself short. If you get your head around it there is nothing to it. It sounds like you have the fear buzz before you have even tried it.   Everybody enjoys face to face better but it's about tossing as much against the wall as fast as you can with as many as you can.   Since this is such a big decision try this.   Get a Polk's directory and get the phone numbers for people in the local ghetto. Every one will not be on the DNC just about and they will never become a client. So the call is nothing more than an experiment. Call them up and see how it goes, have fun with it.