How do non-Jones new FA's get started?

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Sep 26, 2008 12:01 am

I’m curious, as Jones is my only ‘real’ investment career (outside of one of the big discount places): how do ML or Smith Barney new FA’s get started? You’re all familiar w/ Jones doorknocking gig, but how do the other places do it? Does a new FA get a book of business? Cold call?  As you also probably know, there’s a huge failure rate of new-new Jones people, and I’d like to see it changed. Yes, I think new FA’s should get a starting book, but that’s me. Believe me, I know that getting ‘an office’ can also be a killer.

And spare me the "Jones is stupid" stuff. I've heard plenty. Many thanks.
Sep 26, 2008 8:16 am

Huh? Cold calling?! With brands like ML and SB?!  You didn’t know that at ML and SB new FAs are handed a $25 MM book to start, and they get all their new clients from walk-ins begging them to please manage their money? 

  Don't tell anyone I told you about this then, I was supposed to keep that a secret from all Jones people.  Mums the word! 
Sep 26, 2008 9:29 am

Gross generalization:

Jones: Door knock Wirehouse: Cold call Insurance company: Call friends and family and get referrals from them
Sep 26, 2008 10:12 am

One big difference is that many wirehouse advisors join teams, and aer "handed" a portion of the book.  Like a Jones Goodknight plan, they are often the samller, neglected accounts that the team no longer has time to service, but if they want you to stay, they will generally give you enough assets in order for you to clear your probationary "hurdles".

I'm sure it doesn't always happen this way, I am just basing it on conversations with some friends at Merrill.   I talked to a friend at Morgan the other day (really more of an acquaintance).  He's in the biz 25 years.  We were talking about what's been going on lately.  He said he has actually been cold calling again.  I couldn't believe it.  25 years in thie biz, and he doesn't have enough assets to sustain himself and has to cold call??
Sep 27, 2008 12:21 am

Here we go again…“Jones sucks”.  “I wanted one of them there brokerage jobs that gave you clients”  “This is America.”  “Where is my free money”.  “How do them there other firms give away free clients, especially in times like this?”  Jezzzusss Renter, remove your head from a lower part of your body.  Read your own question.  Dumb eh?  You could have been working while you were typing.  I know this is harsh but these are, to quote just about everyone, “unprecedented times”.  Those of us who survive this will be the incredibly hard workers.  All others will fail.  We will reap huge rewards.  Enough of these stupid questions and go back to work.  People are scared shitless and they need you.  This forum does not need more stupid questions.  It has enough without you.  Ok, I have pissed off enough members for tonight.  Sorry, just telling the truth.

Sep 27, 2008 12:58 am

Hey ytrewq, you dumb prick, I thought I made it clear that I didn’t need any negative rhetoric, but let me make it clearer: I have 500 households, I don’t want for much. I have numerous residential rental properties and 1 commercial property. I have a successful business; one that has won several customer sat. awards. As I said, I don’t want for much. I know you’re gonna laugh & say “customer sat. doesn’t mean anything, blah blah blah” but to me, it means a lot. I’m well into 6 figures a year, in an area whose average household income is under $50k a year. I’m under 40 years old & my home is almost paid for. I’ve done this work for 11 years, so I think I’m going to be okay. I’m well aware that people need me, and have already proactively contacted my clients during this debacle & hear “thank you so much for calling.” I not only read my question, I wrote it, you dumb prick, and it’s not a dumb question. The phrase “I’m just curious . . . how other firms do it” should have clued you in. I could have been working while I was typing? It was 11pm you dumb prick, I don’t work at 11pm. In the future, please don’t respond to my posts, you dumb prick, unless you can do it in a somewhat decent way. I’d be happy to get along, but it seems you have issues to work out first.

Sep 27, 2008 1:43 am

I didn’t mean to make you this mad.  I know I was pretty blunt.  I was really commenting on the “Yes, I think new FA’s should get a starting book” comment you made.  I was not attacking your success as a person.  I guess the point was in this environment where is that book gonna come from?  Who is the person to give it up?  I am sure you realize that it was a human being that built it from scratch.  Why would they give it up to someone else?  Why would they not expect someone else to build their own?  I know I was a “blunt prick” for sure.  “Dumb prick”.  I don’t think so.  Somebody that gave you their hard work for no reason would be the “dumb prick”.  With 500 households you do not need anyone’s hand me downs.  I sincerely apologize for coming across as hard as I did.  I did not mean my post as an attack.  No excuse but work has been a bit harder than usual, as I am sure you realize.  Once again I apologize for offending you.  I hope you can take it as I mean it.

Sep 27, 2008 1:49 am

Let me be a bit more clear.  I am sorry for being a jerk.  No excuses.  My tone was not necessary.  I am sorry.

Sep 27, 2008 9:30 am

ytrewq, apology accepted, thank you for admitting to it. Let’s let bygones be bygones. See, you’re right - work has been tough on not just us, but also on one of my trainees. He’s a new/new, and very good guy who’s also very capable in this business (doing right by the customers, etc.). He just doesn’t seem to be doing as well at landing new clients to hit the commissions. Yes he doorknocks, he’s involved in the community. I even told him I’d go doorknocking with him again to help. My thoughts were that I wonder how many truly good people we lose because of the new/new startups. Frustrates me to see him struggle with a wife & 3 kids. He’s pulling money from his IRA now to stay afloat (under age 45). I’d happily give some clients to him, but I’m too far away. So my wondering was: if the other wirehouses give something to get someone started, I’d be all for it here, too. I also know that you know how hard it is starting new/new. Thanks for listening.

Sep 27, 2008 9:39 am

The bottom line is that most firms do not prepare new/new’s for the tough road.  Even at Jones, with all of their warnings, they still paint too rosey a picture.

Sep 27, 2008 9:50 am

Renter - at wirehouses, unless someone is hired to join an existing team or to be a junior broker under someone (partnership arrangement), they start out just the way your new-new does - no book, no clients.  The wire doesn’t care how they get their clients, but are mainly taught and encouraged to cold call.  They can cold walk.  They can also conduct seminars (but the wirehouse & wholesalers generally won’t help with these costs and most news don’t have the funds to pay for their own).  The washout rate at Jones I would guess is basically the same as the rest of the industry.  I agree it is idiotic. 

Sep 27, 2008 9:59 am

As OldLady said: Wirehouses are still strongly encouraged to cold call.  You can reach out to meet the most people this way, however, actually talking to someone is a whole different story. 

  Coaches like to talk about playing in traffic as many ways as you can and eventually you will get hit.  Cold call, networking, seminars, cold walking, and more.  I've tried every way and cold calling has been the most successful for me.
Sep 27, 2008 10:51 am

I have found networking with business owners, CPA’s, and doing seminars/teaching to be most effective. You can’t get in front of the most people, but it is a faster way to the referral business. The problem with cold-calling, is that it takes much longer to start generating referrals this way.

Sep 30, 2008 5:20 pm

I don’t believe that new brokers should be handed books.  That would be too easy.

  What is frustrating is seeing how you basically have two tiers of new recruits.  You have tier one where the odds are vastly in their favor.  You have tier two (the go it alone guys) where you face substantial odds getting out of the gate.   All firms have the politically correct game they play of acting like everyone starts from scratch.  This is just a mythology.  This mythology isn't much different than Santa Claus or the Easter bunny.  Also, twenty year vets have a irritating habit of finding ways to pat themselves on the back, at least at Jones.  I respect the 20 year guys but sometimes the tribute events get tough to stomach.    How can you compare someone who started in the 1990s with someone who has started in the last ten years?  To me, starting in the 90's seems like a cake walk compared with the last ten years.  We've had two meltdowns just in the last eight years.   We're only supposed to get this crap once every twenty to thirty years.  Twice in eight years stinks.   Don't get me wrong - it's never been easy to build a book but I think it's gotten even tougher in the last ten years.   All that being said, I think it's best to focus on your own business and try to ignore everybody else.  Brokers wash out for all kinds of reasons.    A)  Some are lousy sales people and need to find other careers.   B)  Some under estimate the financial strain during the early years and need to leave     because they can't afford to stay.  Some of these people could make it but they run out of money.   C)  Some people just burn out and find they don't enjoy the career like they thought they would.   D)  Some people get disenchanted watching the nepotism and asset handoffs and lose their original zeal.  You would think the human resource rocket scientists would study the concept of employee morale.   Nobody says you really need fairness. You need the "illusion" of a modicum of fairness.   If you have some people just getting their pockets lines and other people basically beinggiven the middle finger - it can't help but affect morale.   At Jones they idolize Peter Drucker who I also happen to like.  You don't need an MBA in management to know if you line up five people against the wall and you line four pockets - that pocket number five might have an attitude.  It's really frustrating when you hit a tough market and you see asset inheritors that you were smoking rocket ahead of you.   I guess you need the patience of Job, the work ethic of Noah, and you need to be able to turn the other cheek like the master himself.   Forums like this are great (bickering included).  We're all on a roller coaster ride right now.   God Bless You All.
Sep 30, 2008 5:54 pm

I am sorry for being a jerk.

  Don't apologize you dumb prick.  haha, jk.    Renter, 11 years in and you've never heard anything about how other companies prospect?  And why should anyone starting out be giving anything more than the proper training and a telephone?  It's good that there's a high turnover rate in this business.  If there wasn't, everyone would be making a lot less money and there would be a lot more idiots (or dumb pricks as you say) in this business.
Sep 30, 2008 9:29 pm

glass man, let me respectfully disagree.  I turned 23 years old nearly 20 years ago when I started.  I got the end of the S&L Crisis.  Memories of '87 crash fresh in everyone’s mind.  CD rates were so high people would have been nuts to invest with me.  We had no “stock market” tv channel.  We had no internet trading or advertising.  Mutual Funds?  Nobody bought mutual funds.

You could argue that tv, the internet, and investment advertising today are competition.  Let me give you a perspective of someone that went through it.

These things have created more “awareness” and more “potential customers” than a lifetime of door knocking or cold calling could ever do.  If I had a time machine and I could get rid of all the online do it yourself crap I would not do it in a million years.  I may have to work harder to get the client with all the competition but atleast I have a shot.

The easiest time to start is always when SOMEONE else did.  The hardest time is always when WE did.  We are humans.  We always feel our own pain.  The current pain is always worse than the pain we felt in the past.  It does not matter if it is true or not because we are humans and we feel it now.

Old Spice, I know I can be a jerk.  My dog weighs 6 pounds and I can’t kick him after a bad day so I come here and argue for no reason.  I feel bad later.  I apologize.  My dog is smarter than me.

Oct 24, 2008 8:55 pm

Jones just doesn’t prepare new/new’s for the job.  I know they say they have the best training in the industry, but realized that is for the series 7.  I didn’t “get” what needed to be done until about 6 months out, and now it might just be too late for me.

If you were never in sales, and weren't trained how to sell, how the heck can you succeed?  Who knows.  I think working in a team environment with a senior rep would really help with the new new attrition rate.    And they definitely do paint a rosey picture.  It's so bad that going back to Iraq is more tempting. Glass man you spoke right to my heart!  I have lost the passion, but will keep trying and if I am asked the leave the world doesn't end, because now I get it, and understand what needs to be done. 
Oct 24, 2008 9:16 pm

Azure you are partially right.

  Jones does not have a monopoly on bad sales training. Every b/d out there has a horrendous 5yr track record on training new/new's in the business.   In part that barrior is what makes this business so desireable once you have overcome all of the road blocks, it is very satisfying as you know.  On the other hand it is one of the dark secrets of the business which makes our profession so very difficult to make a living for newbies.   I hope you are able to keep pounding away at it & you find the success you are seeking & yet many here understand the frustration you are up against.
Oct 25, 2008 12:00 pm

Jones does a fine job. It’s just that most new FA’s don’t want to do the work that it takes. It doesn’t matter how well you are trained, YOU have to do the work. Your BD can’t do it for you. When people claim the “training” is bad at their BD, what they really mean is “my BD didn’t give me an clients or assets to start with.” Therefore their training sucks. It’s the truth. If you joined a team, did a Goodknight, inherited an office or a book, you think everything is rosey. If you are new/new from scratch, you’re going to have a bitch of a time growing your book no matter how much they teach you.

Let me ask this…there are offices and brokers all over this country. How can a BD tailor their training to adapt to every market, every region, every area, every personality (of FA), etc.?? They can’t. They give you as many of the basic tools as possible, then you have to figure it out. Jones didn’t teach me how to communicate effectively with CPA’s. They gave me tons of tools, and advice, and training. But it doesn’t change the fact that I, ME, has to meet with the CPA’s. I AM THE ONE that has to develop the relationship properly, not my damn broker/dealer. And that goes the same for interacting with clients.

Too many people come on here bitching and whining about their lack of something from their BD. Well you know what, that’s life. Some get lucky, some don’t. But some people also know how to play the game of life and the game of business. Some don’t. Generally, younger people don’t quite have it figured out yet. That’s why older people tend to do better in this business. It’s life experience. No broker/dealer can teach that.

If people spent half as much time researching new opportunities in their market as they do crying on this forum, they might just be a little more successful.

Oct 25, 2008 7:03 pm
I originally answered this post because someone was asking why new/news don't make it.  I'm not done fighting yet, just giving a bit of insight, from my personal Jones story, as to why I believe new/news have attrition.   I will have to disagree with you B24.  First, don't question my work ethic without asking me what I have done and what I am doing now.  I understand the 5 critical activities very well, and understand how much can be kicked up by doing those.    When I first came to Jones I didn't understand sales in general.  And now I do, but it took some time.  Had the first few people I spoke with at Jones been a bit more open about the hardships for someone new to the business, maybe I would have more actively sought sales specific training from vets in my area.  I didn't get it then, but I get it now...and since seeking the sales advice of vets I have been more successful in meeting the standards set forth.

As far as any bitching in my post...there wasn't any.  I merely stated that there is a lack of sales training.  I never knew anything about what would be tested on the Series 7, but passed because I was trained.  I never would have been successful at doorknocking but I was because I was trained.  I never knew anything about sales....get the picture?

There are basic fundamentals to training that could have been taught across the board, and with help of vets in the area can be tailored to one's specific situation.  There is no question that in this type of business you have to be able to communicate with people from all walks of life.  As far as relationship building, I would have been out of a job long ago if I didn't have that ability coming in.    I know what it is that some people get lucky, and have things handed to them.  I never expected that from Jones, or any other place I had been before.  Nor do I want something handed to me, because I relish the fact that I have always been an underdog who ultimately comes out on top.    Sorry I couldn't reply sooner, but I was working today.  And personally, after a 65 hour work week, I like to check my email and watch a bit of TV, shoot me for letting my mind take a break.  But it seems to me that you like to take a break every once in a while as well.   If you are one of those guys who was handed an office, and you are trying to tell me what I need to do while I scratch and claw to make my numbers, while you had trails and money's do's decrease the amount of work you needed to do to make your numbers each month, then buzz off.    If you started as a new/new at Jones, and are one of the few who have been able to get through the hardships, and have some ideas to help a fellow new/new in their struggle, I am all ears.  And regardless of how you came to be a success, instead of condeming people who are frustrated maybe you could try to help alleviate those frustrations with some words of wisdom.