List of best firms to start career?

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Aug 21, 2007 4:02 pm

Can anyone provide a list of the top 5 or so firms to begin a career in financial planning?  I noticed that Prudential Financial, NYL, NWM, ING, and AXA were listed as the top 5 “most admired” firms by industry insiders, but I don’t know what that really means, not being in the industry and all.  Can anyone help with a little basic direction?



Aug 21, 2007 4:15 pm

None of those firms......they don't do financial planning, they do insurance planning.........

Aug 21, 2007 4:20 pm


What's your definition of financial planning?

CAPM, a new guy at an insurance company will certainly do more in the way of "financial planning" than he would at a wirehouse.  That's not necessarily a positive.

Aug 21, 2007 4:52 pm

[quote=Ferris Bueller]   Seriously, AXA and PRU is for hacks.[/quote]

Did AXA and PRU merge?

Aug 21, 2007 4:57 pm

Okay...I used the terms loosely...yes, those 5 were listed as top 5 life insurance companies that were most admired by others in the industry...I think it was in Fortune or Forbes...not sure which, but one of them.  Point is what do you recommend for "financial planning" firms for a newbie to learn the ropes???

Aug 21, 2007 6:07 pm

Seriously, Johnny, you have to define “financial planning” first.  Much of what is the best is determined by what it is that you truly want to be doing.

Aug 21, 2007 6:13 pm

 If you’re looking into being what has been in the past was described as a stock broker, but has today come to be called Financial Consultant or Advisor, then, unfortunately, IMHO, A. G. Edwards was the place to start. Unfortunately, AGE’s going bye-bye. Sorry.

Aug 21, 2007 6:15 pm

That was a well crafted sentence, huh? Sorry, hope you got my jist.

Aug 22, 2007 9:57 am

do some research on your own.  that is why they are picking you apart.  Stay away from Ameriprise and the insurance companies.  who has offices in your area and where are the wealthy people.

oh, by the way, you need to find out much more about wealthy people, but this is a first step.

Aug 28, 2007 5:26 pm

I'm going to try to re-ask Johnny's question, because I have almost the exact same question, and see if I can phrase it better:

I'm fairly new to the financial serices industry.  I have a year of home office experience at an insurance broker-dealer, and got my 7 as part of that.  I'm interested in getting into production, and would like to ultimately build a primarily fee-based advisory business.  I've talked to the branch manager of one of the local wire houses, and they seem interested in taking me on, but I'm not sure if it's best to start with one of the wirehouses, join one of the career programs with an insurance carrier, or immediately seek out one of the boutiques.

From what I've been able to tell so far, it seems like the wirehouses are ranked best for training, but people seem to get fed up with the environment and the high cut they take off your production.  They lock you up with contracts for a while, and can make life difficult if you want to leave to go independent.

Insurance carriers are great for stability since you can get a salary and benefits, but they don't seem to have training as good as a Merrill or one of the others, and you get stuck with insurance production quotas, particularly to sell whole life products that you may or may not believe in.

Boutiques are a really risky place to start, and don't tend to have very sophisticated training if they're willing to take on a new person at all.  Some people have become rain-makers right off going this route, but it's real sink or swim time.

Can anyone offer any perspective on if this is reasonable or not?  If you had a bare minimum of experience and wanted 5 years down the road to be an independent RIA doing 90% fee-based financial planning, retirement planning, and insurance needs analysis, where would you start today?  Would the training and ability to build a client base at a big shop compensate for the annoyance factor?


Aug 28, 2007 7:39 pm

As most people know, I am at RayJay.  Noone tells you what to sell or how to sell it.  YOU OWN YOUR BOOK.  And the company is growing in leaps and bounds.

This is not a business for someone who needs their hand held.  If you got guts and talent (and faith) you may survive.

Aug 28, 2007 9:37 pm

"Insurance carriers are great for stability since you can get a salary and benefits"

WOW If that's true times have changed in a big way. Sure wasn't that way in the 90's.

Aug 29, 2007 7:33 am

Yeah, the salary isn't anything special (I think @40k to start) but gives you something to live on while you learn the business.  Long-term I think they let you earn in to 401(k) and pension programs as well as take your commissions.

A lot of the big insurance cos know this is the only way they keep from losing people to the LPLs of the world and then getting spreadsheeted when it comes time to talk about life protection.  Own the distribution = own the sale