MS vs SB vs

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May 22, 2007 5:46 pm

I have read the forum from start to finish, but would appreciate any fresh perspective on which firms are best for starting out.

If you knew you could get into SB, Morgan, and also UBS... which caters the most to the new advisor who needs time to ramp up a book. all the obvious things aside like busting your butt, doing the uncomfortable stuff etc.

seems like you can get to the same place over 3-6 yrs at SB as MS, but MS will require 25% more AUM after 2 yrs or your canned...

i have enough savings that im really not hung up on the wages for the first 2 yrs, plus the luxury of having a wife make 6 figs.

May 22, 2007 6:03 pm

all are repuatable firms.

i would make a decision on a more local level. which branch manager you feel most comfortable with, # of trainee's in the office, support, etc

May 22, 2007 6:07 pm

thx, good points… 1 of the managers is pretty negative about the business it feels like.  

May 22, 2007 6:09 pm

Vin – would you agree that maybe it is better if there are less trainess in the office, or would that show a lack of support potentially??? what are your thoughts

May 22, 2007 6:17 pm

[quote=malcom]Vin -- would you agree that maybe it is better if there are less trainess in the office, or would that show a lack of support potentially??? what are your thoughts[/quote]

i think an office with more trainee's helps. there is usually support staff dedicated just for trainees, it makes it competive, you have other people experiencing what you are.

May 22, 2007 8:41 pm


I am with SB, and work with the trainees as a Sales Manager. I never worked for ML, so only know what I've heard, so take it for what it's worth. I think SB is a different type of culture, more entrepenurial, but with equal amounts of structure to the training program.

At SB, while there are certain TYPES of business you need to build into your business model, you can use many different platforms, whatever suits you. I think with ML, they have a very clear and specific way you need to run things.

With that said, to a large extent all the firms are the same, and to me, whether I am talking trainees, or experienced recruits, I think its very important to look at the local leve- that is - whats the culture, attitude, etc, of the branch, the branch managmenet team, etc. I would suggest that if you havent been offered the opportunity to speak with a couple of the producers in each of the branches that you  are speaking with, you should ask for that opportunity. That willl give you a real heads up as to what you are getting into.

As far as trainees, I agree with Vin, better to have more trainees. There will be more buzz at your level, you'll have more of a peer support group, going thru the same things as you, and believe me, I think thats imperative, considering the level of difficulty of building a business today. Its great to get perspective of the experienced producers, and I wouldnt discount any of their advice, but its also important to share with others in your position.

Good luck, feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

May 22, 2007 9:42 pm

excellent points as well, thanks guys

May 23, 2007 12:32 am

I agree with previous post on the local branch environment.  It doesn’t matter how reputable the firm if the local branch office environment does not fit your personality it’s going to make it harder.  After that I would look at what type of business who want to build and what type of prospect you have access to.  I have only been in one of the “wirehouse” platforms but I think each one caters a little more towards certain individuals.  I would lean more towards Merrill Lynch or Smith Barney, MS is going through an overhaul, I don’t know if they will get their act together or not.  If you are looking to do business with High Net worth clients (10million+) I don’t think you can beat Merrill’s platform at the wirehouse level.  At the same time if you are going after smaller fish and want more freedom Smith Barney might be the better choice, just be careful they have just cut payouts and are losing branches left and right.