Waddell & Reed (In several parts)

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Jan 1, 2010 9:40 pm

Career changer from the military.  I’ve managed investments for a lot of years and thought this might be a good post-military job.  Through a military transition site I stumbled across a W&R position in the town I was relocating to.  Did the on-line application and sat back.  First call came from the office where I would work.  Spoke to one of the Reps.  He liked what I said.  Next was a much longer telephone interviewer with a recruiter in Kansas City.  He liked what I said too.  A few weeks later I made an interview trip to talk with the District Managing Principal.  He did not show but sent his associate instead.  That went well too.

I left the service and relocated.  A few weeks later I scheduled my State Insurance Class and Exam.  That was followed by another interview - this time with the new Managing Principal in the office where I’d work.  He was a good guy and seemed to have a vision for rebuilding the office.

I started shortly after Labor Day.  First order of business was the Series 7 which W&R contracts out to Keir (Pass Perfect).  I had to pay just under $800 to cover Series 7 and Series 66 Tests, FINRA registrations, and other assorted fees.  Then I needed to pay almost $400 for the Keir Series 7 program (I did get $50 refunded due to my W&R association).

The MP gave me a small office from which to study.  I needed to bring my own laptop but did not have to pay any rent or for supplies.  The MP completely integrated me into office business.

In conjunction with the Series 7 work I needed to work on their Career Readiness Track.  The CRT is supposed to prepare you once you complete the training and get activated.  Essentially, CRT is nothing more than developing and compiling a list of 300 names to solicit as clients.  They call it "Quality Introductions…"

There was no other corporate training in sales or product lines.  I found that strange.

W&R is making new advisors get the Series 7 and Series 66.  But their product lines can easily be sold with only a Series 6/63.  When I asked, “why?” I was told that the firm is moving towards a full service company like MSSB or EJ.  But the MP confided to me that it will not happen for several years.

At the same time, other new guys came on board.  They were hired with Series 6/63.  Here I am busting my butt on Series 7/66 and they’re hiring guys with lesser quals.  And some of them had checkered pasts.

The corporate philosophy seems to be to hire as many as they can, throw them all on the wall and see who sticks.

Once you complete all the licensing, you’ll get activated.  At that time you have the option of two entry level pay scales.  The first is $2000/month for the first year.  But you must meet or exceed the production required.  If you come in under that amount the $2000/month stops never to return.  The second option is a quarterly payment.  The production requirements are the same but they are cumulative.  So if you come in short one month but make it up the next month you’ll get paid $3000 for the quarter.  You will not be a W&R employee.  You will be an Independent Contractor.  Once activated you will have to cover office rent of an amount slightly less than $300 (they call it a technology fee) and while the firm will contribute $500 for initial marketing, any other marketing initiatives essentially come out of your own pocket.

As an advisor candidate you are prohibited from having W&R business cards of any type.  This makes it difficult to market yourself in advance of activation.   As far as I can determine W&R does not market itself.  That also makes it a challenge to recruit clients when they have no idea who or what the company is.

More to follow, but this is enough for now…

Jan 1, 2010 9:51 pm

Picking this up…

I earned the State Insurance License first.  Then after three months of studying I passed the Series 7.   Now I’m eligible to sell products that W&R does not offer.  Major milestone.  I immediately launched into Series 66 (at the additional cost of another $125).  Passed that test 3 weeks later and just before NASAA changed the test (effective 1 January).

As luck would have it, a friend recently recommended me to another firm in town.  I have already interviewed with them twice.  This firm is a no kidding full service, nationally known company.  I am likely jump ship before W&R activates me…

More to follow.

Jan 1, 2010 10:19 pm

Good info on W&R. Hope everything works out for you wherever you end up. Sounds like you have a decent head on your shoulders work hard and be patient and you will go far. Having a better firm and better product mix never hurts though. I predict this thread will go far.

Jan 3, 2010 10:17 am

It sounds like you are more professional than your firm.  Hindsight being 20/20 you may have been better off seeking a training program position at a larger firm.  At the very least, the firm would have paid for all of your licensing and training and given you a salary for 12-24 months.

With S7/66/Ins licenses in hand you may be very attractive to a wirehouse manager who has training slots to fill.  Your training time will be shortened by 3mos (lower cost to the office P/L) and with the work you have already done you will have an advantage compared to other trainees who are completely new to the business (potential for quicker return on investment).  If the city you relocated to has a W&R office, it is likely they have larger firms as well.  Pick up the phone tomorrow and find out who the branch managers are, send them your resume and cover letter then sit back.  You may be very surprised at what else is out there.

Good Luck.

Jan 3, 2010 1:16 pm

I have an another interview with New England Securities tomorrow…  They seem anxious to bring me aboard.  We’ll see how it works out.

Jan 3, 2010 3:14 pm

You should seriously consider a wirehouse. Although i left one this past year, i still believe they offer the best training. It will also give you the opportunity to join a team, if you are interested in that.

I think a smaller firm will just give you a phone and a desk. JMHO
Jan 3, 2010 5:56 pm

A phone and a desk?  That is exactly what W&R is offering at this time.

Based on suggestions here I got resumes into EJ and Fidelity today.  I believe the Fidelity position is in their NE Florida Call Center - - at least it is salary.

Jan 3, 2010 7:24 pm
Rhett Captain:

A phone and a desk?  That is exactly what W&R is offering at this time.

Based on suggestions here I got resumes into EJ and Fidelity today.  I believe the Fidelity position is in their NE Florida Call Center - - at least it is salary.

1. a phone and a desk is what you will get at a firm like New England Securities. At a Merrill, you'll get a structured training program with plenty of support and a decent salary for a few years that will allow you to build your book the right way. After you've gotten up and running 3-5 years from now, you can decide whether to stay wirehouse or go independent with a different kind of firm. 2. Going to a firm like Fidelity where you work in a Call Center, is a job, thats all. You won't be running a business, you wont have the opportunity to be an entrepeneur, and you wont have the opportunity to make serious money and live your life the way you want. That may be fine, some people want that, so they dont have to live and breathe their business every day. There is nothing wrong with that. My impression is thats not what you want. But ifi it is, then its fine. 3. I cant comment on EJ because i have no experience with the business model and no knowledege of it other than the crap i read on these boards, in addition to which any comment i make will turn into a debate which i have no interest in engaging in, and which will take this thread off the topic of helping you with your issues.   PM me if you want more info or have questions, I'd be happy to help.  (no agenda, other than my beliefs are what they are)
Jan 3, 2010 8:51 pm

While a full service broker will give you a salary for 12 to 24 months, it does no good to actually determine if you are good for the industry or not.

Going to a wirehouse without any intentions of being a wirehouse advisor, you are basicly throwing away 2 to 3 years of your life.

while a few make it, the vast majority of the ones that fail should of fail years ago. going to an insurance place or a place where most of your pay is commissions, will quickly help you discover yourself.

those that do make it out of the training programs, are mostly getting lower commission grids and still stuck there.

Jan 3, 2010 10:12 pm

aero - i disagree. I went thru the wirehouse training 10 years ago and i have seen people succeed and fail.

I know it was a huge help to me in making it in the business, if i had just a desk and phone it would have been much harder, without the support. The salary helps you build it the right way. It has nothing to do with having a salary mentality. I was able to put most of my assets in annuitized platforms and that made it much easier as time went on. Being a former military, i think Rhett would be one of those guys who would make it with that kind of training, and also if he was struggling and it wasnt working he would be smart enough to cut bait rather than waste time. JMHO
Jan 4, 2010 1:04 pm

I agree with the wirehouse. I started in one, was able to get great training and build a book quickly. I left to have ownership and have more freedom. EJ has a good training model, although you will be capped at 40%. You’re paying for all back office help they provide. Same with the other wirehouses. Once you know your way around and understand the business I would go out on my own.

Jan 5, 2010 2:57 pm

If a wirehouse opportunity was available, I would have seriously considered it.  Unfortunately, this part of Florida has no openings available.  I signed on with New England Securities having given Waddell & Reed my resignation letter.  I’ll keep you posted.  I am glad I found this forum.