Ideal place to work...MS, UBS, ML, SB

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Oct 14, 2007 2:16 pm

I’ve been interviewing quite extensively and have been wondering about some of your thoughts and experiences regarding the aforementioned firms and training programs for a beginning FA.  The wirehouse route seems to be a better fit for me personally. 

Should branch size influence my decision, say a branch with 20 or so advisers vs a competing firm’s branch with say 60 advisors.  What about a branch that makes more use of teams as opposed to one where it’s primarily individual FA’s.  And how about market depth.  Say a firm that enjoys 30% of the local markets vs a firm with 10%.  What have you heard about retention rate amongst those firms.  Is it pretty much standard industry wide?  Ultimately I’m trying to find the best fit for me and hopefully by shedding some light on your experiences and knowledge can help with my decision.  Thx very much.

Oct 14, 2007 3:18 pm

Makrs - From the questions you have asked earlier, it sounds like you are looking for a firm with a robust fee-based platform and will allow you to do your own research and run your business as an asset manager. I think the wirehouses are the right choice for that. Which wirehouse? Which branch manager? Which branch? Most of these questions are inconsequential because somebody has been successful and somebody has failed in each environment.

The more important question is what are you willing to do to ensure your own success? It’s truly 100% what you’re willing to do & 0% the circumstances.

Oct 15, 2007 11:54 am

Thanks for your comments guys.  I have a good business plan to execute and modify if as needed, and will be tracking my progress daily/weekly/monthly.  I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to succeed, as long as it’s ethical and does not compromise the reputation of myself and my company.

Outside of that, I’d like a company with the most competitive and broadest set of offerings, as well as the infrastructure to handle them efficiently.  Whether I’d like structure my business as an asset manager, it’s certainly a possibility, but I am trying not to focus too far down the road rather than the immediate task at hand which is gathering assets.  As long as I do that well, and do well by my clients, the rest will follow.

Oct 22, 2007 8:24 pm

Morgan Stanley has changed/upgraded their training programs 3 (or more) times since John Mack returned as CEO.  I am by no means trying to take a shot at you pratoman, but you didn’t really think a wirehouse didn’t have a training program did you?  Everyone has training, but what it comes down to is the branch.  Training programs are meaningless if the managers and support staff in your branch aren’t willing to help you.  You learn this business by doing, not by training. 

Jan 5, 2008 3:35 pm

I think ALL those firms are great firms to work for… It just depends on the right branch manager and the support that you will get.

  A lot of the firms out there are going towards the TEAM strategy to help build up the new Financial Advisors. However, you get the good with the bad. It is all about who you will be working with...
Apr 1, 2008 4:10 pm

I’m really happy at Morgan Stanley, but I’d echo the above comment:  It’s all about the branch.  I was lucky enough to find a spot at a great branch and find a great mentor early on.  Thing about MS that I love is that you’ve got great people to learn from, but you have the freedom to go about it your own way.  Sad thing is, MS’s new FA goals here are extremely ambitious, so, from what I’ve seen, for most rookies, the reality is that it’s best not to get too comfy.

Jul 2, 2008 10:37 pm

How “extreme” are we talking here? Can you give us some numbers?

Jul 7, 2008 6:46 pm

Test post: I finally received my activation email for these forums
after trying for months.  Maybe my email to the contact list was
eventually read.

I went with Smith Barney.  I interviewed with a lot of different firms and choose SB.  They have the best incentives and support that fit me.

Jul 7, 2008 9:42 pm
no training to speak of at MS
Jul 20, 2008 4:48 pm

The old AGE training program has been ranked pretty high in the industry and I understand that Wachovia has kept that program intact.  Entertain that thought while investigating…