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Dec 13, 2011 4:45 pm

I know to a lot of people this is going to seem like some pretty elementary questions but I am doing some research on the industry and want to make sure I understand everything. I am thinking about a career as an FA.

1) After you go through the training at a specific firm (EJ, MS, MSSB, UBS, etc) what exactly is it that you will be "selling?" Most of the forums I read talk about the heavy amount of cold calling that you do to build your book of business. But when you have a prospective client on the phone, what are you "pitching" them to do? Roll over a 401(k)? Buy muni bonds? Life insurance? I understand that it all depends on the person you are calling, their networth, etc. but do each of the firms try to have their rookies or FA's sell different stuff? For instance, if you are with ML, MSSB or the larger wirehouses, do you mainly sell muni bonds or are you actually trying to get roll overs, etc?

2) I have read a lot about gross production but what percentage of the asset you are bringing in to the firm calculates in to gross production? Example: If you have a $500k roll over, what will the gross production be on that (I know it's different for each firm I am just asking for a ballpark)? When a firm says you need $200k of gross production in your first year, what do you typically sell to get there?

3) My main interest is in helping small businesses and individuals with a net worth of under $2mm manage their money and grow their next egg. Is there a firm more suited to that? I have no problem cold calling or selling munis, etc but are the wirehouses pushing their FA's to do that or are they really allowing them to manage people's money?

If anyone can provide some knowledge for me I would appreciate it. My biggest questions are what are you typically "selling" as a rookie FA and how do you calculate what cetrain products will give you in terms of gross commission?