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World Financial Group/Transamerica. May just be the best Opportunity for Indys

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Apr 26, 2012 3:51 am

I would like to give you my insight and experience on why I believe WFG/Transamerica gives FA's the best opportunity for income.

For the record, I'm not defending WFG in any way. Don't get me wrong, this company has some serious flaws and problems. But as you read, you'll see why WFG offers the best opportunity to make more money than any other wealth management firm out there.I'm a senior at a top 20 B-school. I joined WFG junior year as I was approached by someone asking if I wanted an internship. I wanted to dress up my resume, so I immediately said yes. The office was pretty far, and I told the person that I could not travel that far. She offered to pick me up and bring me to the office. My thoughts? So I just met a stranger who said she could possibly give me a finance internship, and drive me to the office. And I hadn't even talked to her for more than a minute. Something's up. 

I attended the presentation, a marketing director just talked about the company and they provided an example of how much you can make. They said if you recruit this much, and help this many families, you can make $100k a year. I didn't believe them, but I ended up paying the $100 fee to join. I was busy with school at the time, so I wasn't involved for over a year. I did a internship with an investment bank at NYC as a sales and trading summer analyst, and I got my series 7. I realized that I didn't want to have a career in trading. I believe in investing, not trading. I wanted to make some supplementary income with WFG as a side job, so I decided to get more involved with WFG. I talked to my marketing director, and I basically told her that I didn't believe that she made as much money as she claims, not in those words of course. I could not believe that a Goldman Sachs investment banker makes less than some financial advisors in my office, including my boss. She pulled me over and showed me her account from the WFG website, $193k in income for 1 year. She also came over and showed me her tax return, $193k. I was absolutely shocked. 

World Financial Group is a financial services marketing organization. There are no products that are underwritten by World Financial Group. Rather, they are a broker that acts more like a middleman between large insurance companies and final buyers of these products. WFG has many partners that they do business with. Some are ING, Prudential, Fidelity, Western Reserve Life, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone Group (Goldman and Blackstone are more investment funds based), and many more. If you only have a life insurance license, then you are only affiliated with WFG and can only sell insurance. Once you pass your FINRA series exams, which lets you sell securities such as mutual funds, annuities, stocks, bonds, etc., you will officially become a financial advisor with Transamerica Financial Advisors. Transamerica and WFG are both owned by Aegon. Fun fact, Transamerica Corporation was founded by the co-founder of Bank of America. When I first joined, all I could think was pyramid scheme, network marketing, no way you guys could possibly make this much. The truth is they make more money than many FA's at big firms like Merrill Lynch. Lot's of anger and hatred toward these kinds of companies, and for good reason. 

 WFG is owned by Aegon. Aegon is an insurance giant, about $424 billion in assets. They're publically traded on the NYSE (AEG).  I'll list their major problems here: 

 1. As long as you don't have a criminal record and have a US SSN, you can join.They don't care about your resume or work experience at all. How would you feel if someone that didn't even graduate high school was managing your money?  

 2. The training sessions is basically all motivational speeches about really vage and general stuff. No actual training about products or anything. 

3. Marketing Directors will tell you to go to big conventions in Las Vegas and other places. Again, it's all speeches and testimonials from the guys on top about how WFG changed their life and that they're financially independent and everything. These are also very costly events that WFG associates pay for by themselves; event tickets, flights, food, hotel, will run you around $1000 out of your own pocket. 

4. No salary, all commission. In the long run though, this actually provides more income with WFG's compensation structure.After a little over a year, I started to realize the benefits of this company. I never thought one day I would want to work for a network marketing company. Probably not the proudest thing to say. However, you can make more money here than almost any other wealth management firm.

WFG is indeed a network marketing firm. In order to make big money, you have to have a big team of people under you. Getting 15 solid people that are active in this business underneath you will make you a marketing director in less than 1 year. Easily. According to many marketing directors at different offices, average income for a year is $60k-100k for MD's. The problem is that almost everyone in this company is a second jobber. Many people don't even do anything with the company and throw out that $100. Therefore, in order to get 15 solid, active people underneath you, you might need to recruit 40 people or more. One of the best things about this company is that you have job security. If you're a marketing director make $90k a year, you will never be fired unless you deliberately do something illegal. Not only do you have job security, you're income grows each and every year as your team naturally expands. Your recruits will recruit, and your recruits' recruits' will recruit etc.

My office has a handful of people that have immigrated from foreign countries and can't even speak good english, and they have become marketing directors making six figures. They entered this industry knowing absolutely nothing about finance or investments. Anyone that is a regular to this website clearly is interested and very knowledgable about the wealth management industry. If the people in my office can become MD's, every one can do it here in about a year or less.

Let me explain the hierarchy:

Training Associate- after you pay your $100, this is your title. The $100 fee goes to no one, it goes straight to the main office for a background check, administrative fees, study material, and other things to get you started. As a Training Associate, you are at a 25% contract level.

Associate- to become an associate, you need 3-3-30. 3 recruits, 3 sales, in a rolling 30 days. For the sales accounts, you don't have to necessarily sell them yourself. If you don't have a insurance or securities license, then your MD will sell it for you and get the fees, but it will count towards your promotion. If you have the approrpriate licenses, you can sell these products yourself and get the commission. Also, these sales can be as little as a ($4000 IRA or a $200k life insurance policy). Contract Level is 35%.

Marketing Director- this is the first level of management. The requirement for this is:1. 3 direct associates (personal recruits)2. 5 life licensed associates in your team- so if you recruit A, A recruits B, B recruits 5 people that are licensed, that will fulfill the second requirement. It does not have to be personal recruits that have these licenses.3. 40,000 net points in a rolling 3 months. This is the hardest part. To give you an idea of the products to points ratio, selling a $200k life insurance policy generates about 1,200 points. This means that WFG made $1,200 in commissions from the company that WFG deals with. At the Marketing Director level, the contract is 50%, so you make $600 from that policy. A $6,000 IRA generates about 400 points. The 40,000 points is for your entire team. So if you have 1 recruit that gets 20,000 points and another that gets 20,000, then you will become a MD assuming you have the first 2 requirements. The points don't have to come from personal recruits, if A recruits B, B-C, C-D, etc. all the way to Z, even Z's points will count towards your 40,000 points. The key to getting successful is recruiting people that will become active in the company. This is harder than most people think. Getting a big team really is not that hard, if you recruit 20 people, 12 out of those 20 recruit 12, 6 out of those 12 recruit 10, then you already have a team of 224 people. 40,000 points in your entire team comes out to less than 200 points per person. Average income is $60k-$100k. Contract level is 50%.

Senior Marketing Director- Requirements are:1. 10 life licensed associates in your team2. 3 personal recruits, 1 of them has to be a MD3. 75,000 points in 12 months.My Marketing Director is a SMD. As I mentioned earlier, she made $193k last year. Average income is $100k-$240k. Contract level is 65%. Not sure what the contract levels are after here.

Executive Marketing Director- Requirements are:1. 3 personal recruits that are all Senior Marketing Directors2. 750,000 points in 12 months.The branch office manager in my office is a EMD. He made around $400k last year. If you think it's weird that I know how much these people make, you're not alone. I think my MD is telling this to me because she wants me to get motivated and excited about building my team and eventually earning that much one day. Also, the more I earn the more she earns.

Average income is around $250k-500k a year.

(If you're thinking it's weird that I know how much these marketing directors make, you're not alone. In any traditional company, no manager would let their employees underneath them know how much they make. But because of the nature of this industry, it is advantageous to let those underneath you to see how much they make. Think about it, my SMD will get more income if I make more income, because she will get an override from me based on the difference in our contract levels. By showing the people underneath her how much she makes, they will become motivated to get to her level. I couldn't get myself to believe how much these people make, but it's true. They make fortunes here, I've seen their accounts in person.)

CEO Marketing Director- Requirements are:1. 6 personal recruits that are all Senior Marketing Directors2. 1.5 million points in 12 months According to my MD, the average CEO MD makes $812k a year. There are less than 100 CEO MD's in the enitre company.

There are probably close to 60,000 associates in WFG-Transamerica Financial Advisors, but only 8,000 people are securities licensed. This is a high turnover company, mostly because there are many people that just sign up and don't do anything. You also need lots of people and leadership skills in this business. Everyone that is underneath you, you are in charge of. I really enjoy the aspect of leading a team, many people find that they personally grow a tremendous amount through this.

This company isn't for everyone. If you want the prestige of a bulge bracket wirehouse such as Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley, you aren't going to find it here. But Transamerica is a good company in itself. Anyone on this site is clearly interested and knowledgable about the wealth management industry, and has what it takes to become a Marketing Director in less than a year. If people that don't even have a college education and the slightest idea of what finance is can do it, then everyone of you guys can do it. If the guys at Merill Lynch at the PMD program can cold-call all day and get 10 million under their account, then they can become a Senior Marketing Director in less than a year. Also, your manager won't be able to fire you and take that 10, 20 million you cold-called years for and transfer it to your account. Your recruits stay with you for life. There are lots of bad reps with this company. They call themselves financial advisors, and technically they are, but only know enough to barely pass their insurance and series exams.  Nothing to do with you though, they will be the ones with no clients after losing all their money if they truly don't know anything about investing. With the financial knowledge and experience in the industry, you will become a sure hotshot at the company, and you will make lots of money. Again, for these reasons, this is why I believe that WFG-Transamerica provides the best income potential than any other B/D out there. Even more, it provides the best income potential at the fastest rate. 1 year in this company, and you're making at least $70k. Well, that's about it. Never thought I'd want to work at a network marketing firm, but it's still a B/D in the wealth management industry, with a credible company such as Transamerica. Think about this opportunity.

Also, I think it is possible to have your securities licenses with another B/D, and have your insurance license with WFG. A State Street trader is works at my office part-time and is just with WFG.

Feel free to private message me with any questions.

Apr 26, 2012 2:30 pm

There MLM scam. You will only last a few months there. 

Sep 19, 2012 1:38 am

It would be greatly helpful if the content of this post was separated into paragraphs, considering you’re a senior at a Top 20 B - School. Regardless, thank you for your insight on their compensation/promotion structure.

Many people do consider them to be a scam/scheme, but legally speaking, they just happened to incorporate two business models into their organization. However, the models they use can be unethical to most but it is just a matter of who is above you. Very few can make it with them; ones that do make tons of money. In my opinion, they wouldn’t be a company you would want on your resume if you ever get try to get a job at big firms/banks.

Just my 2 cents

Sep 23, 2012 4:47 am

Cheers to you for finding something you want to do. I’m currently with Primerica. I’ve tried EDJ, MSSB, Merrill Lynch, ING, and others to only find that i’m not good enough or it wasn’t a good fit.

My Primerica business plan is similar to what you might be doing. I’m going to recruit the heck out of it. Posting in every site I can find and trying to get 200+ people to walk through my office doors. My monthly operating budget is $1000 which includes office space and advertising. I’m in the process of creating my own 5 day training materials, scripts, and videos for my recruits.

So good luck to you, i’m in the same boat and honestly think this is a good opportunity. Yes you can make millions as a financial advisor but you can also make millions at Primerica.

Sample annual residuals comp for 15mm aum as an RVP = $115k/year, that’s a payout of .7666%. Very comparable to working as a financial advisor for other firms. While many BB firms focus on high networth accounts, at Primerica you can process any account size. Volume might not beat out a $20mm account. But the average advisor doesn’t net $20mm accounts everyday. I’ve worked as an intern at ML’s Private banking & investment group. FA had $750mm AUM, true you can make tons but its not very likely.

I’m with Primerica because my plan is to work little and spend more time doing other things. My schedule is 10am-7pm, Monday through Friday. I conduct interviews from 10am-12pm, 1pm-4pm and training from 5pm-7pm. Fridays, I host a recruiting event at 9am for about 20 minutes. Eventually, I will hire an HR associate to conduct interviews and will only be there for training sessions. Why work 60 hours a week when you could work 10 and get paid the same?

Cheers to you for your post.

Sep 24, 2012 12:50 pm

Wow, you have drunk the Primerica kool-aid. You’re working for a scam. You’re not selling anything, you’re recruiting people to sell for you…what’s that called? Something that people don’t look too fondly on.

Sep 25, 2012 4:13 am

wow did not read too long

Sep 26, 2012 6:08 pm

iirc, the CFA has an average pass rate for all 3 levels of less than 40%

Sep 27, 2012 12:51 am

This has actually been quite comical. Ulairi, I think it’s quite evident that there is no use attempting to have an argument with this guy. It’s like trying to explain an answer to a calculus problem to a seven year old. You’ll lose him at X.

It’s quite apparent that Numbers has no clue what a CFA is. And, the fact that Numbers is out there talking to prospects about investments why our job is so difficult.

Sep 27, 2012 12:59 am

[quote=Mr. Net New]This has actually been quite comical. Ulairi, I think it’s quite evident that there is no use attempting to have an argument with this guy. It’s like trying to explain an answer to a calculus problem to a seven year old. You’ll lose him at X.

It’s quite apparent that Numbers has no clue what a CFA is. And, the fact that Numbers is out there talking to prospects about investments why our job is so difficult.[/quote]

No offense but can you explain to me why all CFAs aren’t millionaire investors? The guy talks like it is the end all of investment certifications.

Sep 27, 2012 1:55 am

It’s not that they are millionaire investors. They are more typically billion dollar portfolio managers. And, yes, the designation is one of the most rigorous designations one can obtain in the industry. It is extremely difficult to complete the charter. Do a little research. Or, start with:

Sep 27, 2012 11:19 am

What an embarrassment. Hope someone trying to learn how FA’s work doesnt stumble across this thread.

Sep 27, 2012 10:35 pm

What an embarrassment. Hope someone trying to learn how FA’s work doesnt stumble across this thread.

I agree, FA’s should hold a higher level of professionalism and integrity. Ohwell, who knows who is smart, who is a liar and who isn’t; this is too entertaining to judge =)

Feb 28, 2013 1:38 pm

Mr. Primerica, don’t waste your time arguing with “Ulairi”. There is no getting through people with low IQ. I know Primerica is a legit business, and I know they work hard to help people with their finances. CPA means nothing. I know tons of people that had their CPA and they are now working with companies like Primerica, those were the smart ones. Don’t worry about these bloggers, they need to get out and get some fresh air. Also, don’t listen to these negative, good for nothing people, they only slow down the process of success. It’s not their fault, they just don’t understand. Have a Great Day!

Mar 16, 2013 10:56 pm

WFG is a great company. I’ve been with them 7 years now. No other company teaches the teachings of Napoleon Hill and other business gurus, so you learn more about life and money here than anywhere on the planet. The difference between them and other co’s like MSSB is that at WFG YOU BUILD YOUR OWN AGENCY! This is what people don’t get. You can actually sell that agency like you own a real business franchise. At WFG you are not somebody’s employee. A friend of mine at MSSB said he was constantly under the threat of being fired if he didn’t produce enough. This does not happen at WFG, because you work FOR YOURSELF! There is no such thing as working for WFG. They don’t have employees, only people who affiliate with them in order to sell the products from providers they are approved with such as ING, Prudential, AIG, New York LIfe, etc. This is what people don’t understand. No one works for WFG. You pay $100 and get appointed to sell life insurance, annuities and also RIA stuff and wealth management, and you use the utilities the company has available for you such as compliant marketing materials. As soon as anyone says “I worked with or for WFG”, I automatically know they didn’t understand they were their own boss, building a real agency, with the ability to rent out an office location and start sitting with clients and having no boss over them other than the compliance department. So, WFG Good. People, not gettin it. On the flip side, it’s also what’s bad about WFG, cuz since you don’t have a boss, you often are lost your first few years without getting the technical or policy help and information you need. WFG very very bad at training on products. Very very bad on product training. I have seen many clients lose a lot of money because hard working, honest, trying to do their best life agents with WFG have sold products that were not right for the customer. Putting someone into a $800 a month monthly commitment for a VUL who makes $40,000 a year is not right. Then the client after a while can’t keep up the payment and loses the policy. Especially since the life agent doesn’t do proper policy follow up of re-explaining the policy benefits to the owner and keeping them engaged. WFG is a here… You’re a life insurance broker now. Forget that you’ve only had your license for 1 day. However, if you stick with it and get good, you can become a millionaire agency owner rather than being MSSB’s employee and making THEM money. WFG DOES train HEAVILY on self-improvement, but extremely poorly on product, compliance and important insurance and client matters.

Jun 16, 2013 10:02 am

ah, here is my first post. and i read through this entire thread. don’t worry, i’m not going to immediately delete my account here, but WOW WHAT A READ.

I am studying for level 1 CFA and the guy bashing CFA is probably a little bit crazy, and probably has his feelings hurt and doesn’t want to admit it.

I believe there are under 30,000 people on the planet that actually have the full CFA designation? And it really sets you apart.

I don’t know what I was thinking of finding in this thread originally, but the argument made me have to comment.

and, why are those guys writing 60 sentence paragraphs?

Aug 3, 2013 4:22 am

So you guy are saying that WFG/Transamerica is a scam. Then why has the federal government not shut them down, especially being a financial services company? They arrested Bernie Madoff, and Allen Stanford for scamming people out of billions. They have arrested some bank executives from all those mortgage frauds.

Why are you guys are attacking this company for recruiting? Every company recruits. WFG recruits anybody because people who want to succeed will learn the industry. An annuity is an annuity, a mutual fund is a mutual fund. The industry can be learned. You can’t learn how to have high integrity, high motivation. How do you know the advisers from traditional firms have high integrity? How do you know they are not just trying to meet their quotas or have your best interest in mind?

I am with WFG/TFA. I made $323,000 last year as an EMD. I didnt make money immediately either. The first 5 years I made a total of $8000. I learned the industry in the process. I learned the products. WFG has a high turnover rate. Walmart and McDonalds have a high turnover rate. Are they scams? Most people come to this company expecting to be rich, but don’t do anything. What company can you go into and do nothing but still get paid? If you don’t contribute to the company, why would they pay you? I believe the traditional workforce is a scam. You never get paid what you’re worth to that company. No matter how hard you work, your boss makes the decision either to promote you or keep you where you are. Your company decides how much money you can make (cap pay).

Many people call WFG/TFA a scam. Why? Can anyone backup their claims with some proof? People call it a scam because everybody else calls it a scam. I guess that’s why most people will rather run the same rat race everyday and ultimately just be middle class income earners never fighting for true independence.

WFG is a great company! It has made me millions. It didn’t come easy. It took a lot of work and dedication. All you guys bashing WFG/TFA have just a middle class mindset. Blaming others for your shortfalls. You will never get anywhere with that mindset. Trust me. I’m willing to bet on it.

Oct 8, 2013 3:45 am

I think all you guys are you loyal to financial services. One commenter seems afraid of MLM, which shows weakness. One commenter showed dependence upon a job to sustain herself. Two who are waiting for their Social Security checks. Sad couple! I, myself am abandoning the financial services world altogether. No more licensing, periodic CE updates. Yes, it’s MLM. ALL necessities and everyone can do it. I’m past my ‘Young Turk’ days and going just for the money. Found out that all that pride in a title with a famous company is residual from those with the blue collar mentality.

Oct 15, 2013 9:20 am

I work at World Financial Group (WFG). I’ve worked at WFG for 10 months now, full-time. It’s an amazing business. I’ve already made around $10,000 in the business. Every year my income is going to grow because we have an amazing training program that teaches associates exactly how to grow their income. Once I have kids, I plan to do what many women at our company do and take time off work. But the paychecks will still keep coming. The best way to do business at WFG is to build an agency. Then you help more people with their finances, you give an amazing career opportunity to more people, and you grow rich while not having to work. One out of every 79 full-time workers at WFG earns over a million dollars per year.

Nov 12, 2013 3:27 pm

I worked for Smith Barney,now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney for almost 17 years. My ‘ship’ crashed on the rocks when my partners and I took the ‘upfront money’ to form a new ‘wire house’ office. We managed at SB,around 125 million in assets.

I am amazed at the rancor in this thread,although it does go back a number of years.

Success can be had;I have found,usually with a little luck and at some point,a lot of hard work.

Have we gotten to the pint we define ourselves by how much money we make? I guess we always,to a certain extent have.

The Primerica/MLM scenario is, IMHO, for the person who understands how it works. I believe,for the average American, it allows them exposure to relatively simple investments that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. In some ways,if explained properly;the rep is doing a public service……IF full disclosure is taught.

The ‘wire house’ experience was every bit as fraudulent, regarding sales practices etc. The integrity come from the individual. Lastly, all the anger and frustration displayed in these posts are embarrassing.

I wish everyone the best in their endeavors. There’s room for all of those who want success!

Dec 6, 2013 4:50 pm

If you look up SCAM in the dictionary you will see WFG instead.

I seriously don’t know how people can live with themselves knowing they are cheating honest working people. WFG FA’s don’t deserve to breathe!

They sell products that the top 5 insurance companies wouldn’t even touch with a 10 foot stick.