Decision Time

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May 2, 2008 2:02 pm

I will be likely leaving E/J in the next month, I have offers from bai & m/l both have given great presentations of course. and I have to make a decision soon. I want the best oppourtunity to grow my biz. Those of you who have gone either route please  tell me what i don’t know about either place

  Thanks Yooper
May 2, 2008 2:05 pm

How long are you in the business?  How large is your book, and what type of clients/accounts do you have?  What type of business do you WANT to run?

  That will help answer the question.
May 2, 2008 3:02 pm

new to the biz (15 months) a little over 8 million book, I not much i know my concern is not making another mistake, so I can spend the next 10 years at one place growing my biz. almost all of my clients individuals, hope to make 401k a large part of my book in the future also want majority of individuals in fee based accounts. If somebody worked for either company what did they find about later that they wish they had known upfront.



May 2, 2008 6:35 pm

Food for thought.

Is your new B/D going to pay Jones for your training costs? Did you tell ML you collected $8mm AUM or were given $5mm and brought in $3mm?   Here is why I ask.  You talk of making a mistake, yet you have not said what the mistake is or your specific issues, just not the right fit.  Working for ML, $3mm first year is not going to cut it.  Hurdles are much much higher.  If you think big brother is watching you now, its worse at ML.  As far as fee based business, yes ML gives you a tremendous platform.  However for someone who has never dealt with fees, saying that you want the majority of your clients in fee based is frightening.  Fee based is not appropriate for every client.  You should never make a blanket statement about what clients should do as every situation is different.  Your statement shows you are concerned about your compensation as opposed to doing what is right for the client.   Working for a bank also presents its own issues and while assets can be easier to come by, if you are an equity guy it can be a tough environment.  Banks rarely understand brokerage and treat brokers in house as competition as opposed to members of the team.  This opinion comes from many friends at BOA.   You have only been a broker for 15 months and inherited over 60% of your book.  I know your response is "clients love me" but the truth is you have not had the time to develop the relationship.  Be prepared to lose a large portion of your book.   In summary, this move will probably leave you with a large bill from EDJ, a fraction of your book, and new and improved issues at your new B/D.  I'm not at Jones nor do I have ANY love for Jones, but you are in the risk/reward business.  Is this worth it?  Could you stick it out another 3.5+ yrs and then move?  Give it some thought.  
May 2, 2008 7:21 pm

All good points, yes m/l amd bai know what my book is and how much i brought in. and i am sure they put there best foot forward and presenting there company's and that is why i am asking. If the oppourtunity is really no better I want to find out now. I like to work in a competetive environment I always have. The bank does not pay jones fee for from what i understand and that is part of the equation. as for my clients they are balanced  according to the jones portfolio structure for age and risk . SO you are out of line about not concerned about my clients one of my biggest clients are here only because of the location and are very naive people and i am concered that somebody will take advantage of them in the future, hopefully my boa will watch that.and yes i am concerned earning a living very much. I did not say fee based was for everybody in my statement and why would be charging all commission upfront make you more concerned about your clients?

Thanks Yooper
May 2, 2008 7:30 pm

I want a majority of my clients in fee based.

...annuities ....CD's ...C shares ... options ...40 year bonds ... cash ... A shares ... futures My point was do not make blanket statements.  That is it.  You complained in another thread about C shares.  If there is a shorter time frame involved, Jones has no problems with C shares. (Holy crap I am defending Jones, gonna take a shower now).
May 2, 2008 7:43 pm

you are right about blanket statements like not concered about my clients and i do have some funds in c shares for shorter time frames which I did because it was best for the client best. and you are wrong about Jones not discouraging c shares. My complaint about c shares if you read again was a compaint that Jones thinks they are bad (unless i worded it wrong)and i don"t see how…oh thats right you don’t get max sales charge upfront

  So any advice from your experiance, on  m/l or bai sounds like you were at Jones at one time how about m/l or bai been there or know people who have?   Thanks Yooper    
May 2, 2008 7:53 pm

Forgot to answer last original statement "can I stick it out another 3.5 years" Yes I could  Jones is not a bad company and I like the Local brokers. That is why i am in a crunch to get feed back. My thought was if I see my self going somewhere later why not do it while i have a small book and client transfers are not a matter of survival.



May 2, 2008 8:15 pm


The challenge you will have is three-fold:

1. Despite what you think, you have only been with your clients a VERY short time, and many will not move with you out of fear of the unknown.

2. Your hurdles at ML are going to be MUCH higher, so there is a very good chance you will fail (I don’t know you, so I can only state the obvious - in other words, it’s not personal). If you stay at Jones, you will likely make it (since you are already there, the hurdles are lower, and you were handed some warm assets).

3. You may end up paying out of pocket for your training reimbursement, and may get slapped with TRO, and you never know how any of that will go.

I am just very fearful of anyone leaving a firm so shortly after starting. I think anywhere you go, unless it is a REALLY bad situation, you have to stick it out for at least 3-4 years. My other concern for you is, what if you go to Merrill and you DO fail? Then what? That’s pretty much the end of the road for this career. Three B/D’s in just a couple years? I don’t think you could get a single client to move with you if you leave Merrill in the first few years (forced or un-forced). Then you have just wasted 3 or 4 years and a whole lot of money/income trying to find the right “fit”.

I know you want to find the right “balance” for your clients. But to be honest, the first few years, you really have to do a lot of commission stuff to keep eating. You can then work fee-based business into your book. So if you go to Merrill at this point, you might be hard pressed to find that “fee based” business and also make the income thing work. If you aren’t doing enough business now, what makes you think Merrill will magically change all that? If $5mm was really from a GK, and you’ve only brought in $3mm of your own in 15 months, I just think you might struggle at Merrill (those numbers seem low even at Jones). And remember, Jones will have the fee model coming out this summer, so you can at least get your feet wet with that.

I hope you take this as constructive and really think about what I’m trying to tell you.

May 2, 2008 9:12 pm

That is good insight,That is what I need to here from people in the biz for a while or have made moves,I did not do a g/k so my inherited clients have been good.I did not contact M/l they got my name from a friend in another area who has been with them for 12 years. I did not think M/l took anybody with out a large book. but I guess i was mistaken. My expectations will be basically starting from scratch if I move, So the bai position was appealing from what i was told approx. 25% of my future book will come from bank accounts the rest i dig up like anywhere else, 100 of expenses covered. payout is less bonus’s are higher. Tough decision to make, info from experiance is very helpfull

  Thanks Yooper
May 2, 2008 9:28 pm


   Grow a set.  Either start prospecting now, or prospect later.  If the bank job isn't 100% referal, you will fail.  Your attitude needs adjusted....I've never met a broker that failed that had a great work ethic and attitude.

May 2, 2008 11:10 pm

Work ethic is not the issue, I have never had a 5 day work week…ever, and i am probably one of the older people on here. attitude yes you got me there it has been bad the last couple months. prospecting not an issue either. Never in my post did i mention looking for something easier. Just prefer working in a office with a competetive atmosphere Jones was the only place in town where i was hired and than a week before my series 7 decided I needed to pick a second chioce so i moved south and there are other choices, that simple. so if you don’t have any constuctive advice. shut the hell up

  Thanks Yooper
May 2, 2008 11:27 pm

so i moved south

  You a troll now?   Good luck with whatever choice you make.  Just make sure it is the one you want.
May 3, 2008 8:32 am

I made a move to ML 10 years ago after 18 months at another firm and it has worked out well. However, I made the move with the assumption that the majority of the clients I had (not much after 18 months) would not move with me. I was right, only a couple million moved with me. I just put my head down and prospected like hell for the next 3 years hoping that ML’s better brand, platform and more professional/competitve culture would work to my benefit. It did, and I prospered.

  ML would likely offer you a position in their training program (PMD) which is new. 3 year period to get your practice up and running. Salary + commission during that time period. The hurdles in their training program are not easy, but attainable with focused effort. They are not, however, negotiable. At 9 months you are either on target, or likely terminated ( and probably, after 2 firms in 3 years, washed out of the business altogther).   Observation: attitude is everything in the first few years in this business. You can't succeed without a great positive attitude. Your's seems a little pissy.
May 5, 2008 7:50 am

There were several people that moved to ML from BofA in my area, and they moved because the bank is getting really bad to work for. They keep cutting pay and taking things away. I will say the BofA people said it was MUCH easier to start the biz there. They had several $10m+ clients between them. ML is a tough move because the learning curve is so steep, but they will pay for any fees and legal that Jones tries to slap you with. There is a good chance you will get much bigger clients at ML and BofA. You will get a 3 year salary at ML because the assets you have are not enough to support you without going into their training program. Also, ML takes brokers from other firms that are producing less than $250k in SOME of their offices. Our office cannot bring on anyone less than $500k. It depends on the other brokers’ production and how big the office is and where the office is located. I wouldn’t move until I had at least 30-35m under mgmt.  ML is the better place to move.

May 7, 2008 3:53 pm

I am talking with ML right now too. I think the “Bull-pen” environement (no pun intended) would help me. I thought If I could take $2M with me, I would be ok. Prospecting never ends I understand. Any other advice?? I am in Limbo right now altogether.

May 7, 2008 3:59 pm

Actually, as much as I dislike my experience of the Jone’s days, I don’t see much benefit to going either route.  One boss is much like any other, and both tend to churn new brokers.

May 7, 2008 4:16 pm

The salary they are offering is $25K more than last year and is right in line with my prior year production ie Goodknight and Hous Account bs.

May 7, 2008 4:25 pm

Short term thinking.  If you don’t hit the production numbers, it all goes away.  $25k is easy to make up in a year if you are doing your job.  Unless you really hate where you are, and you aren’t the type to go indy, the firm you are with makes very little difference in the long run.

May 7, 2008 4:27 pm

Good point. Why did you leave EJ? Higher payout?