Metrics & #s of being a successful FA

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Sep 10, 2012 11:17 am


I am considering becoming an FA at a wirehouse.

I have spent 20years as an investment banker at the Top 5 Bulge Bracket Investment Banks (some have wirehouse subs). The flexibility and ability to use my past knowledge and rolodex of HNW / C-Level clients might make this a good career choice.

My first two summer internships on Wall St. were making 300+ cold calls/day for an RR who is now ranked in the Top 10 RRs in the USA; so I am aware of the business to a degree.

My questions are below:

1.) Is joining the ML or MSSB Programs a rolling process or do they have a new class in Spring, Summer, Fall, etc. Can you apply to a geographic area? I am in NYC but want to move to LA / OC

2.) What are the exact details of your first year:

-2012 Base salary at ML or MSSB: $75K?

-I have read you wont get paid on any account below $250K; so on a $500K account do you get paid on whole or just net $250-500K?

-I have read you need to bring in between 1-2 New Households per month

-What is min AUM in first year to make your hurdles: $10M, $15m?

-Can you put all your accounts on a ‘fee-only’ wrap account from start or is there resistance

3.) Usual Metrics of building a book:

Is opening 25 accounts of $500K possible in first year? (aggressive/conservative)

If you can put that (25x $500k) AUM on a 1.5% fee platform it appears your AUM is $12,500,000 and you make enough in commission to cover your $75,000 base.

In year 2-3 with same metrics (25 accounts @$500K / yr.)

Yr2: AUM $25,000,000 Salary & commission: $150,000
Yr2: AUM $37,500,000 Salary & commission: $225,000

Is this correct?

I am trying to model min. number of average accounts, AUM, Fee% to get to the hurdles necessary in the wirehouse FA programs.

It appears after Yr. 3 this career can really kick in and produce income from $250-500-750K if you keep on adding incremental AUM and accounts from $500K-$1M.

I realize the job is massive prospecting, networking, seminar speeches and NOT investment banking / schmoozing.

Sep 10, 2012 11:29 am

I’m in a wirehouse training program and the salary had two levels with the goals being for the higher level salary. At ML you can get around $75k but you have higher targets to hit.

As a trainee you do get paid on smaller accounts but it is better to get the $250K+ accounts. You get paid on any account that is $250K plus. At ML, my friend is there and says that if you get the client to do a mortgage with you that counts towards the $250K. At my wirehouse mortgages do not count. It has to be invested.

For my wirehouse the first year target AUM is $10MM. That is my goal as well. I want $40MM by the time I finish the program.

It is not investment banking or anything. Schmoozing is apart of it but it is cold hard prospecting. Calling, walking, networking, do it all baby.

Sep 10, 2012 1:25 pm

NYC banker,

Not sure why you want ML or MSSB on your business card or in your wallet? You seem to have a great network.
My HNW clients could not give a [email protected]#.
Just go RIA.

Sep 12, 2012 2:15 pm


Sep 12, 2012 2:15 pm


Sep 12, 2012 8:52 pm

I was IB. It was a much better environment. MS allows for lower account minimums. But go with whichever will pay more salary. Odds are that you will transition from one to the other by 18 months, hopefully by then you can succeed. Don’t count on your IB contacts trusting you with their personal funds, tho hopefully they will

Sep 13, 2012 11:34 am

Thanks for input…

Cant be worse than dealing with constipated CFOs / Bus Dev flunkies who cant make a decision to save their life and CEOs with 36 month lifespans.

If this is opening 25 accounts of $500K/ yr for 3 yrs I can do that.

If ur not sitting in staff meetings, writing memos, internal politcal emails, creating 100pg pitch books and hanging on tarmac from 6am to stranded at O’Hare foodcourt for 6hrs then YES that leaves alot of time to prospect.

If its just math of 25 accounts and Sales Mgr. leaves you alone and its just getting ACATs processed with Ops Dept and ur Sales Asst…signn me up.

Very few places today where you can hit $250-500K forever if you crank for 3-5yr and build a 100% wrap fee 1.5% book of $25-50M AUM