Considering Leaving EJ for ML

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Aug 25, 2010 9:01 am

Considering the move to Merrill. Been at Jones over 3 years and am at 145% right now. Had a few bad months following some great ones. Big months will be falling off soon, and feel like the timing might be right for me. Wondered if a couple of guys could answer a few questions about the move...

What is the biggest difference you see in the day to day activities at Merrill?

Is there ever an issue with the workload that the office assistant has to deal with at Merrill?

What is the contact management system like compared to Joneslink?

Any other info would be greatly appreciated. (and yes I roogled).

For what its worth, I loved Jones for getting me in the business. Just want to concentrate on building a fee based business and dont feel I can do that and pay the bills at this point.

Aug 25, 2010 11:54 am

So, the primary motive in considering a move, is getting a check?

ML in the merger of BOA right now is a self described mess, I know folks at both sides. 2-3 yrs from now, maybe it all settles down, but working at a firm in the midst of significant change is very trying. There are probably many, many things that are good at ED Jones that you're overlooking.

If you really want to do the right thing, and have the skills of working independent, then go indy. But, like you know, there is no big fat check to pay for previous sins, or to bankroll a different biz plan. If you're as successful as you say, why would you want to "change" things?

I've done this nearly 20 yrs, and I'm adamant about staying transactional. It is better for the client, and me. I've seen the history of fee based, managed money, and I've drawn conclusions that it just isn't the system/product that it's billed to be.

I've never been affiliated with either EDJ, ML, or BAC. I'd say this, from what I know, you're most certainly at the better of the three. Sometimes you do have to ride out the storm. 

Aug 25, 2010 12:53 pm

Hey Bigfire, check your PM's, I sent you a message.

Bullish Bear

I had a buddy who was doing very well at Jones his first 3 or so years and made the move to Merrill.  He was exceeding his gross production numbers by quite a bit at Merrill and was always very high on the national rankings at Merrill and was getting told her was going to lose his job because he was not bringing in enough "high net worth" households.  He is now looking at other options before he gets cut loose.  Bringing in clients to Jones is easier than Merrill because Jones lets you take anyone.  If you are on a downward decline in production I would stay at Jones and try to turn things around instead of turning it around at a tougher place to cut it.

Good luck

Aug 25, 2010 1:46 pm

I agree.  There are a LOT of unkowns going to Merrill, especially right now.  That is not a knock on Merrill.  If you were a 15 year vet with 70mm+, then basically go wherever you think makes you happy.  But you have too much at risk for a move like that right now.  At least at Jones, you KNOW what you have.

Aug 25, 2010 2:44 pm

B24 and LA, good input. LA, I replied.  

And I cannot emphasize enough, that money, is the stumbling block to making good decisions when it comes to switching firms. You really have to think long term, career opportunity has so much more value. Most recruiting firms admit, that the upfront money really only acts as an offset to the decline in income and disruption you'll have the first few years of making the transition. I've switched several times in my life, have some experience in these matters.  A good decision, at the right time, for the right reasons, can really propel you. A bad decision, and your career is pretty much toast/back to square one.

Aug 25, 2010 8:24 pm

I wouldn't at all describe ML as mess.  Maybe from the BOA perspective, but for a legacy ML advisor, it is business as usual.  That said, I chose to leave it for my own reasons. 

And whatever situation described previously about not bringing in enough HNW households sounds extremely isolated.  250k was used as a metric for bonus programs, but never for whether or not you were welcome there.  If you are putting up numbers, that is good enough.  Now if having too many small accounts keeps an advisor from growing over an extended period, that is a different story.

With that said, I would be worried that at some point in the future, you might be paid on households of only 250k or higher.  It was 50k, now 100k, and I doubt it ends there.  

Aug 25, 2010 10:54 pm


You should take a serious look at UBS, if you have an office in your area.  Sure, it was a joke two years ago.  But McCann and company have turned the firm around.  Everything is better.  New PC's, new software, new support systems, new banking products...everything.  Sure, I'm a homer for UBS, I admit it.  But if you check my old posts, I had criticism for the company in the past as well.  I don't know what your production and LOS are, so maybe UBS won't be interested, but you owe it to yourself to talk to someone at UBS before you make your decision. 

But the negative you must prepare yourself for, if you go to any wirehouse, is the fact that you WILL be sharing an assistant with other FA's.  This will be a huge shock to the way you do business, so if you decide to go, expect to have BOA withdrawals as soon as you arrive at your new desk.  I was hating life after I changed firms, just for that reason, until I adjusted (i.e. paid for my own assistant out of pocket)

And yes, the check up front is nice.  And so is the back-end check.  It allows you to convert your business to a fee-based model.  But don't go to another firm just for that.  You will regret it if you do.


Aug 26, 2010 2:26 am

Don't jump from the frying pan into the fire.  Prospecting is more difficult, and bank leads are non-existant.  Ask yourself seriously how good are you at prospecting 250k plus accounts?  That is what they want you to pursue.  your sub-100k households at Jones will net you zero pay out.  Think again friend. 

Aug 26, 2010 5:23 pm

ML or EDJ ?

That is like asking yourself, would you jump 10,000 feet out of a jet without a chute into a bucket of S#it or jump off a 500 foot cliff without a chute into a bucket of S#it.

Either way you end up in the bucket and you are nothing but a carcus covered with crap. .      

Aug 26, 2010 5:47 pm

Wow, that was harsh. 

Are you going to give some reasons why you compared both companies to a bucket of crap?  Or are you just going to fling it and keep moving on?

Aug 27, 2010 2:02 pm

My point is if he is going to do the work he should go indy and be his own boss.   

Sorry I did not mention that before.  

Aug 29, 2010 5:16 pm

Yeah...I'd watch the whole Merrill thing.  EDJ is about to have a slew of guys "leave" over the next 12 months, growth will be negative (finally) and if you are having second thoughts about working hard where you are, you better go indy 'cause it won't be different anywhere else.  Face it, if you outgrow your firm, whatever firm that is, be on your own, it is a much better use of your time.

Aug 30, 2010 9:56 am

Sorry if this sounds a little nieve, but why is EJ going to have a slew of guys leaving?  Are you referring to STL raising standards?

Aug 30, 2010 10:38 am

I've been moving reps from wire houses for over 12 years to very strong mid level firms.  You are going to have the same issues at all white shoe firms,  I would be more then happy to discuss some options with you please feel free to email me.   [email protected] 

Aug 30, 2010 1:56 pm


Sorry if this sounds a little nieve, but why is EJ going to have a slew of guys leaving?  Are you referring to STL raising standards?


That's what they're talking about.  They're under the impression that with the raising of standards there will be a  mass exodus of mid-level producer leaving.  My guess is that there will be a bunch of mid-level producers who figure out a way to keep themselves just above the bogey to keep themselves employed.  Just like they are right now. 

Sep 15, 2010 6:21 pm

I know many former EJ advisors who have left and gone to ML, MSSB and beyond and done very well. ML is not the devil, or anything like what most here portray it to be. I am NOT at ML to be clear!