Ameriprise

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lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

Okay, I've been offered a job with these people.  I am an industry veteran, though much of it NOT in the retail end of it, and have a very solid background in investment priniciples, products, financial planning and insurance.  I've not really succeeded in sales in this biz, in large part because I worked for indy firms where there was no training program and my "mentors" weren't particularly useful in this area.  
I've been out of the biz completely for a couple of years so this marks a re-entry.  Over the years I've probably interviewed with every type of firm, and have tried a few.  Having written and researched for the industry (as a journalist) for several years, I'm very well aware of the different personalities of the different major firms, as well as the indy world where I started.
I interviewed with AMEX many years ago and was not impressed but this time they genuinely sound different.   There was a lot they said that I liked, and only one major red flag (though a few questions have been raised via various d/bs).
I see a couple of Ameriprise people are on these boards, so I need both pros and cons from those who actually KNOW how these people are doing business before I make my final decision.
I am looking for a firm that will help me eliminate my fear of picking up the stupid telephone and will help me build a reliable, solid marketing plan.   Once I am established and past my fears, I actually have a lot of other knowledge I can use to work smarter.
So....is this a good place for that type of training?Are they going to be okay if I'm not big on selling proprietary products?What percentage of their "hirees" don't actually get past pre-appointment?Do they really "throw rookies at the wall and see which ones stick (expecting a lot of failures)?Are they okay if I'm not pushing product or plans onto my natural market (they say they are..and yes, I will work my market but prefer a soft, non-direct approach with this market)?Is their insurance product list limited to only their own stuff?Are their insurance products competitive?Does their planning software give real, useful plans or is it ONLY a vehicle to push their products?
In their prospective employee meetings, I mentioned insurance and the gal seemed to pretty much want to discuss investments, as if insurance was not a big deal.
They do seem different than when they were AMEX.  Are they?
Any feedback that is legitimate is valued.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

They will only do so much to help you with your fear of prospecting....much of that you must do yourself.

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

lostintexas wrote:
I am looking for a firm that will help me eliminate my fear of picking up the stupid telephone and will help me build a reliable, solid marketing plan.   Once I am established and past my fears, I actually have a lot of other knowledge I can use to work smarter.

The list of former stock brokers, financial planners or whatever name du jour is being used where you are is teeming with people who have the knowledge coupled with a fear of the phone.
It is my experience, which admittedly only stretches back to the early 1970s, that a "fear" of the phone is fatal.
The term "phone fear" is used as a catch-all for a host of related problems.
Nobody enjoys the smile and dial routine that virtually everybody has to do throughout their career, but those who end up as long timers would never use the word "fear" to describe their emotion.  The most common term I've heard is "phone reluctance" or "call reluctance" because, as every broker knows, there are a lot of "A-Holes" out there who seem to take sadistic pleasure in being rude to people who they actually envy.
What you have to do is identify why you're afraid of the phone.
I am a product of the malaise of the 1970s and a great many of us from that era were phone phobes because we knew that whatever we recommended was not going to work out.  Nothing went up in value, for ten years.  In an environment like that it's easy to dial, but tough to smile.
Those of us who made it finally came to realize that the guy who answered the phone:
1.  Knew less about what we were talking about than we did, and
2.  Was not happy (there is a difference between being unhappy and not happy) with his current broker and actually wanting to talk to somebody else.  Somebody with a new idea.
It becomes a mindset.  The name associated with this phone number is not happy with what's happening, my own client's aren't either.  I am a new voice, a new idea, he'll listen.  And when he does he's mine, because I'll baffle him with bullschidt.
There is a term, "The Imposter Syndrome" which is used to describe the common feeling that we all feel when we start.  You're sitting there thinking, "I can't believe I'm trying to convince strangers that I know something about investing.  I'm past due on my car payment.  This is a joke."  Most of us have been there, done that.  You're not the Lone Ranger.  What other cliches are there?
Set it aside, compared to most of the people you'll encounter while prospecting you are an encylopedia of information.  They don't know you're worried about your rent.  They know they should be doing something with their retirement, their roll over, their inheritance, their winnings from Vegas--whatever.  And most of them are not so damn happy that they won't at least listen.
I'm boring myself.  Let's end it with this warning.
My sister broke up a marriage.  I know, I know she's a slut or worse but what can I do?
She talks all the time about how she worries that her husband is an "easy mark" to any woman who is willing to break up his marriage.
What I'm saying is this.  If you don't have to work very hard to win a client from another broker that client will leave you just as easily as he joined you.
The business is hard.  Your job is to make it even harder for the guy trying to steal your book.
 
 

lawsucks's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-18

Big Easy Flood wrote:as every broker knows, there are a lot of "A-Holes" out there who seem to take sadistic pleasure in being rude to people who they actually envy.
I always wondered why you posted on here so much.  Thanks for the peek into yor twisted psyche. 

Big Easy Flood's picture
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lawsucks wrote:
Big Easy Flood wrote:as every broker knows, there are a lot of "A-Holes" out there who seem to take sadistic pleasure in being rude to people who they actually envy.
I always wondered why you posted on here so much.  Thanks for the peek into yor twisted psyche. 

Always wondered?  I've posted about six or seven times since you joined the forum.

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

Are they going to be okay if I'm not big on selling proprietary products?
Not really as you primarily can only sell prop VA and insurance (IDS).What percentage of their "hirees" don't actually get past pre-appointment?Do they really "throw rookies at the wall and see which ones stick (expecting a lot of failures)?
Yes.Are they okay if I'm not pushing product or plans onto my natural market (they say they are..and yes, I will work my market but prefer a soft, non-direct approach with this market)?
If you don't push the financial plan, you might as well not show up to work at AMP.  Geographically, as long as you are bringing the clients in and starting them with a financial plan, they won't care where they are.Is their insurance product list limited to only their own stuff?
For the most part - IDSAre their insurance products competitive?
Not in my opinion since they only offer one company to work with primarily.Does their planning software give real, useful plans or is it ONLY a vehicle to push their products?
Their planning software is strong and will help allocate where to position a client.
At the end of the day, whether you are a P1 or P2, you are captive.  Every rep I've talked to has said "I have equity in my practice".  My response has always been - so does the guy across the street.  It doesn't matter where you are.
Platform is very limited, the comp structure is consistently a moving target, technology is weak (although I hear they're revamping sometime within the next year), cost of doing business is high.  Additionally, you will see as a P1 a revolving door of management.  Field Vice Presidents are changed frequently, depending on the market.  Some FVPs are very good, but most are poor and you see a great deal of turnover on the manangement side.

MOTU's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-09

Dont do it man. I know a few people that have worked over there and NONE are doing financially well to be in the business in my opinion.  That company only has stars because they got in early.  New hires and trainiees need to read the writing on the wall.  Someone's gonna gobble them up soon i predict.  And also dont do it if you are not a people person or a prospecting person.  Brokers prospect period.  The phone is something you must master or you wont last in this business at all.  And the ones who dont cold call anymore usually have fat enough accounts to where they don't need to anymore (usually at small firms). But these guys Ameriprise recruit like its going outta style.  Almost like a desperate chick lol.

apprentice's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

Carefull - I don't believe their training is all that great.  I also believe that the advisors are 'pressured' into selling B-shares and annuities.  Also - who can forget about the website, http://www.amexsux.com/

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

I take exception at the desperate chick comment!  (being female and unmarried...lol)
Most of what people are telling me that is negative comes from individuals who have no direct, or even indirect, experience with them.
I'm listening but want real information from those with experience. I don't think these guys are big demons, but clearly they have their own way of doing business and that may be right or not for me.
Incidently, there is NOTHING new on the Ameriprisesux.com site that isn't left over from the old firm, despite having been up for more than a year. 

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

Chicks don't need to worry about the phone. Try this approach:
"Mr. Prospect, my name is Jennifer Anniston--no not that one--and I am a financial planner with Ameriprise.
I'm calling today to ask if I can have five minutes of your time to introduce myself and discuss how we might work together to ensure you financial future is secure.
Would Thursday at 10 work for you, I'll be in your area?"
Then shut up.  He'll be thinking about Rachel and mutter, "Sure."

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

Even though AMP has been spun off, it's still directed by the same people.  The only thing that's critically different is the name.  The selling approach is still the same - targeting middle America and not having anywhere near the right tools or resources to go after the HNW prospects - the platform is still sub-par compared to most firms on the street, technology is circa 1990, they are putting people in leadership positions that have 3 years of industry experience and they have a revolving door for their Field Vice Presidents.  What more do you need?

RealityBichslap's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-07

BrokerRecruit wrote:
  What more do you need?

 
It sounds like she needs someone to support the answer she already had in her mind before she posted.
For those with OPEN minds: DO NEVER AMERIPRISE.

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

RealityBichslap wrote:BrokerRecruit wrote:
  What more do you need?

 
It sounds like she needs someone to support the answer she already had in her mind before she posted.
For those with OPEN minds: DO NEVER AMERIPRISE.

 
No..I haven't made up my mind, hence my reason for posting.  I am aware of the bashing, however it seems much has been done by people who don't really have any experience with the company.
I have in my hands copies of their contracts, and I've been asking THEM questions, and no..not all the answers I've gotten have been the ones I'd hoped for.  
I've also been involved in the industry for nearly a decade, and researching and writing for advisor publications for years so I think a lot of my problem here, is that I know too much!
I'm a single parent who cannot afford to fund my own startup.  What's more I possess a lot of knowledge but never mastered the arts of prospecting and selling.   So my primary consideration is finding a firm that will teach me what I don't know, as well as pay me until I'm ready to be in a straight commission role.
Finding that and still meeting my desired approach to doing business has been the challenge and I may have to compromise.  However, once I commit to a firm, I want to be happy with that decision and to give 110% of myself to be successful.
The ideal situation would be to find a successful independent person, doing business in the style I'd prefer, who needs a junior rep to train, mentor and ideally eventually buy out their practice.  So far in three years that situation hasn't materialized.   So I may have to do it a different way.
If you know of such a situation in the Austin, TX area, please let me know asap.
Otherwise, appreciate that all I'm trying to do is support my family with some level of satisfaction in the work I will be doing.
What I'm seeking is real advice, not BS.

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

I completely understand and respect what you're trying to do.  From my experience (and I know many FAs at AMP, both P1s and P2s in all stages of happiness and frustration), it is almost guaranteed to not offer the potential for the same level of success as someone at ML, SB, even AGE or EDJ. 
On average, the 5-year producers I know at AMP are not doing over $150k when their counterparts at the aforementioned firms are doing $300k+ in GDC.  They have pigeon-holed themselves into such a niche that it is difficult to cater to the HNW. 
There are fantastic training programs at many firms.  I know the P1 Field VP in Austin (if this person is still there) and am not the biggest fan. 
I would encourage you to do much more exploratory work in some of the firms with much better "street cred" that will not only give you far better training, but the tools to have $20M AUM in year 3, as opposed to the typical 3-year AMP vet with $5-10M.

blue34's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-24

Like any firm it is all about the branch that you are going into.  Before excepting I would ask the FVP to see where the office is nationally.  In the P1 platform you know that they have a great training program if they are ranked well nationally, if they are in the lower half then you can expect that the training program in the office is in shambles.
Regarding your avoidance of the phone I would just say don't do it.  You have to be good on the phone to be successful in this career.  However, if you might be more comfortable prospecting face to face then the ability to have your marketing expenses paid by the AMP office at point of sale might be an advantage over other firms.
The key to remember however is to pick the firm that is the best fit for you.  AMP can be a good fit for some and terrible for others...The same can be true of any training program.  See where the office is ranked and if its in the top 25% and you like the firm I say go ahead. 
Don't worry about the proprietary products as you are ultimately left free to decide how you want to structure your practice.  The VA's are only popular because of the living benefits associated with them and the relatively cheap M/E fee compared to most other annuity contracts on the market (75bps).
Hope this helps and remember that its a game of volume and sales so don't bother at any firm unless you are comitting to putting together an adequate market plan and sticking with it week in and week out. 

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

It turns out this is the #1 office in the company and most think well of them, though I had one person suggest that if the FVP he knew was there, the guy was an ass.  It is the same guy but others have said positive things about him.
 

Ace Planner's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-09

Here's my thoughts (and I used to work at Ameriprise)  If you have a lot of industry knowledge, you'll probably do fine at Ameriprise, because they'll make you get on the phones or resign.  A wirehouse will do less of the controlling your schedule, and would want you to have some other sales experience.  Makes sense to me to go to Ameriprise to get the sales and advice experience, use movable investments like American Funds, and then move to the wirehouse who'll take you in a heartbeat.  Build a huge book there of high net worth clients in SMA's (all assets there can usually be ACAT'ed), and then take your clients independent.
Begin with the end in mind.
Ace

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

Suggestions for how to move the book without getting sued for violating the non-solicitation clause?  Though one dude told me they aren't bothering to sue too many reps these days unless they take BIG accounts or try to move the whole thing.
 
?????

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Did you move to a wire, Ace?  Just curious beause I don't know of many of them that would take a look at an AMP rep.

FreedomLvr's picture
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lostintexas wrote:
Suggestions for how to move the book without getting sued for violating the non-solicitation clause?  Though one dude told me they aren't bothering to sue too many reps these days unless they take BIG accounts or try to move the whole thing.
?????

Definitely check your contract and read the details, but in many cases you can send a letter to clients stating that you're no longer affiliated with the former firm, and giving the name and contact information for your new firm and office.  Nothing that can be construed as "solicitation".  I've heard it called a Tombstone Letter.  your new firm should help you put one together.

lostintexas's picture
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Big Easy Flood wrote:
Chicks don't need to worry about the phone. Try this approach:
"Mr. Prospect, my name is Jennifer Anniston--no not that one--and I am a financial planner with Ameriprise.
I'm calling today to ask if I can have five minutes of your time to introduce myself and discuss how we might work together to ensure you financial future is secure.
Would Thursday at 10 work for you, I'll be in your area?"
Then shut up.  He'll be thinking about Rachel and mutter, "Sure."

Maybe I should just place an ad that reads "topless financial advisor will address your needs."  (yep..do have the rack to substantiate that one)   LOL!
All joking aside, when I was a stock broker, about half the guys I met on Matchmaker became clients.   It seems men will do just about anything to "get some." (and being my client was a sure fire way of making sure you didn't)   I used to joke with the guys in my office that this way I knew their net worth before deciding on a relationship!
And yes gang, I am kidding! 
I'm pounding the phones to talk to as many firms, as well as a few resources into the indy world, as I can find.   I realized today that I can overcome call reluctance when my rent is on the line!  LOL!
Should have more action next week....until then....
I'd jump on the Ameriprise in a heartbeat if it weren't for 2 things:
1. the 65 hour week (which I am willing to do, but would rather not do) and
2. The idea that I have to turn away transactional business unless I end up working with a p2.   Somehow the idea that I have to turn away income when I so badly need it doesn't sit well with me.
 

lovetoraise's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18

i just started here- haven't inked a client yet and don't want to. Can I transfer out with series 7 and 66 or will nobody want me. Could I still latch onto a "group" elsewhere. I got a 94 on the 7, 'tho I guess that matters very little? Would it help my case at all? Big regrets... But I guess you can't do much when they lie to you flat out.
 
Please any suggestions! Considering a Raymond James "group" where I have a contact. Is everywhere but "groups" cold-calling?

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

just curious..because I haven't committed yet and yes, I have all my licenses already.   It would be helpful to know why you want out, and ...just in case, are you in TX? (making sure it is or isn't the same office)
If you are licensed and haven't been there long, it may be better than being there a while because a lot of firms don't want trainees that come in with bad habits.  As a newbie, you haven't got them yet...
Otherwise your best bet is to build a decent book, then most firms will take you or you can go independent.  Reps with $200K GDP will get snapped up by another firm in a heartbeat and often with some sweet signing bonuses.
 

Ace Planner's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-09

Look, here's the deal on restriction of transactional business: Ameriprise knows you can get that kind of business, but wants quick results.  They want your salary to reflect your production.  Wirehouses pay a salary that has checkpoints, but they know it can take a while to learn how to do all the different types of transactional business, so they give the rep a bit more time to figure it out.  Ameriprise doesn't, so they teach you to do one thing: sell plans.  If you've sold someone a plan, and have all their info, and have to take it back to figure it out with a manager or coach, there's no way you can mess up the client.  And you have plenty of time to figure out how to make the following transactions work, because they paid you money to tell them what to do.  That way you learn as you go without learning on potential clients that don't happen. 
The biggest benefit is that Ameriprise will teach you to sell, whereas the wirehouse won't.  If you can sell something as intangible as a financial plan, you can sell anything.  Consider it sales boot-camp and enjoy the paid education.  If you have the cojones to jump into the wirehouse world, and they're willing to take you, then by all means do so.  But you'd be better prepared by working with Ameriprise.
So, if you do lean towards Ameriprise, tell the VP you don't give a durn about his feelings about plans being required, and if you find transactional business that refuses a plan, you're submitting the business, and he better agree to approve it or you're not coming on board.  Tell him you'll keep quiet about it in front of the other reps, I mean, advisors.
I'm sure if you're not making a big deal about it, and not tying up coaches with it and getting the how to do the paperwork right from home office (don't be afraid to spend as long as you need to on the phone with them, because even if you do rely on the coaches, they'll screw it up, so just do it yourself.) 
As for the time, if you're producing enough, you set your own schedule.  The top producers I met spent only a few hours a day in the office, and were out most of the time meeting people.
Ace

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

Otherwise your best bet is to build a decent book, then most firms will take you or you can go independent.  Reps with $200K GDP will get snapped up by another firm in a heartbeat and often with some sweet signing bonuses.
I would disagree unless the LOS is 3 or less, or we're talking an independent.  $200k GDC at an independent isn't a bad gig, but $200k at a wirehouse (again 3 years LOS or less) - you had better have other options in mind because they largely won't want you. 
Up-front checks are also measured by the LOS/GDC comparison and don't start getting really solid until someone is at $400k (or if it is a secondary market, smaller firm with less recognition or a desperate manager) or higher. 
I'd also plan on putting in 60+ hours anywhere you are, not just AMP.  You'll find that the amount of time a new rep puts in at ML/SB/UBS, etc. pays off much better for the same 60 hours put in at AMP.

Ace Planner's picture
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Bottom line, if you need a sales school, Ameriprise is the best because it's a sales school in the field you want to work in.  If you don't need a sales school, go straight to a wirehouse.
Ace

lovetoraise's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18

Some cons at ameriprise:

-no email address assignment for 1st 2-3 weeks
-no formal hr
-force-fed va and vul plans to meet 1st year comission goals- i for one
don't find these plans enticing for clients in 99% of situations
-weaker brand name
-payout secrecy prior to start and ONLY low base 1st 10 weeks here
-weak managers who only put in 2 years to get where they are!
-no desk to sit at
-no personal phone

Every office may differ- I will say this is not the Austin office I'm
evaluating.

Any advice on how my having left without clients but fully licensed will
impact my chances of latching onto a group where I can learn over the
next 2 years and do client servicing for them? I have an otherwise good
resume with 2 years of solid business experience. Where do you search
for these groups for the most part? Websites? I have interested prospects
but didn't want to service them at amp.

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

"Any advice on how my having left without clients but fully licensed will impact my chances of latching onto a group where I can learn over the next 2 years and do client servicing for them? I have an otherwise good resume with 2 years of solid business experience. Where do you search for these groups for the most part? Websites? I have interested prospects but didn't want to service them at amp. "
Well...I'm searching myself and have on and off for about 4 years.  I think some luck is involved or maybe it's cold calling firms until you hit a jackpot.   Funny..I started this thread talking about how hard it is for me to pick up a phone, yet I've been pounding them this week without much hesitation.  I guess when the rent is on the line, fear takes a back seat!
What I've done or plan to do in the coming days:
1. Contact the head of the local Financial Planning Association to see if she knows someone who may be interested in taking me on.  There's a meeting on Tues I may well attend.   I did this a few years ago and interviewed with 2 companies, neither of which were what I was looking for (Waddell and Reid and an RIA that puts all its customers in their own managed accounts..not much flexibility).  Who knows what I'll find this time.
2. I contacted one indy b/d who clears for indy reps who is banging bushes for me, and even suggested he might coach me if I could find an indy bank or two that might want to offer financial services.  Here in TX, there actually are some small banks that don't have b/d's or b/d agreements in place.   His offer to coach is pretty sweet but he's an hour and a half away and I'd have to either cover all my own expenses, or find a bank that will front me a draw.   I also haven't figured out how the bank gets paid on such a deal given the securities laws.
3. My freelance work has given me decent, and in a couple of cases, excellent business relationships with most of the trade magazines (including RegRep).  I'm thinking of contacting the editors as they may well know of someone (since most of their content comes from advisors) or have some great ideas.  At a minimum, they definitely know the buzz on which firms to avoid.
4. I'm going to follow the suggestion of others that I contact LPL, Investor's Capital (I have my own contacts there) and a few of the big indy b/d's.   They will certainly know who is doing biz in my area and who might be large enough to be interested in some help in return for mentoring and a salary.
5. I'm also dialing and talking to the hiring manager at certain wirehouses.  I have an interview tomorrow with AG Edwards, and looks like I'll talk to Raymond James next week.  I've also talked to HR Block (they won't have a training spot open for a couple of months as their energies are focused on opening a new branch in another city), and will likely bite the bullet and talk with ML.   My mom's advisor of 25 years is with SB in CA.  I know Jim and will talk with him too.  In the past I've interviewed with both ML and SB and turned them down but it seems they put more effort into training these days so I think I should at least talk to them.
6. I have talked to a couple of broker recruitiers who have offered up some good ideas and agreed finding a spot with an indy practioner would be best but may take some searching.
7. In the past I have offered up secretarial and geek (computer) skills in exchange for salary and education.  That's how I got my series 7 in the  first place. That boss taught me his biz, unfortunately it took me a bit to realize that wasn't the kind of biz I want to do.  Still, it was an excellent learning experience and I have a lifelong friend in the man.
So..I'm being both aggressive and creative in my search.  I gotta believe that anyone hiring will appreciate that I went to that effort "to close the deal" rather than just submitting online resumes and waiting for some action.
Best of luck in your search.

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

In the past I've interviewed with both ML and SB and turned them down but it seems they put more effort into training these days so I think I should at least talk to them.
Lost, you had a great post going there, well written and filled with ideas.
Then you went and lost all credibility by saying that you turned the world's two premier wirehouses down because they didn't provide as much training in the past as they do now.
Perhaps you've missed the news about firms doing less formal training than in the past.
Don't make up stuff in an interview, what doesn't ring true to a casual observer screams at an informed observer.
Also, your litany of things you are considering are all excellent, but not a one of them do you approach with certainty.  "I well may attend" or "I'm thinking of....." and so forth do not convey the impression that you're a long term survivor in this business.
The ranks of ex brokers--planners, advsiors or whatever the name du jour is--is filled with people who spent their careers thinking about what they should be doing.
 

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

Any advice on how my having left without clients but fully licensed will impact my chances of latching onto a group where I can learn over the next 2 years and do client servicing for them? I have an otherwise good resume with 2 years of solid business experience.
Damn, two whole years of solid business experience.  Why you're a hiring manager's wet dream.
One of the biggest mistakes in this business is to come into it before you're thirty.  The people who need advisors, and there are fewer of them every day, are going to look at a 26 year old as a nice young person who might know something in a few years.
Think of your own mother and father.  Would they think you're some sort of financial genius?   Why should anybody else their age think anything different?
Go to a place like Ameriprise, learn to pound the phone, learn to make appointments, get out there an stumble around in front of a prospect, lose the deal.  Lose lots of deals when they don't count.
Then, when you're in your thirties do what you can to get in front of a hiring manager at a premier broker/dealer.  You won't have to be licensed so you're valuable to him or her right then.
The warning that some managers will not hire you ifyou come with "bad habits" is exceptionally important to remember.  But Ameriprise, or the insurance companies, are not going to have the reputation of creating bad habits.
A lot of wirehouse managers do not look all that favorably on those who come from the bank side because a wirehouse manager sees bank brokers as little more than order takers.  Before the bank group on this forum gets all pissy, I know it's more than that.  What I'm saying is that most wirehouse managers see bank brokers as little more than order takers.
I'm sitting here trying to avoid saying that I too see them as little more than order takers, and I can't bring myself to do it.
There will be some wet behind the ears, snot nosed, kid who will pop up and talk about how he's 24 years old and is fitting in just fine at Merrill or Smith Barney or wherever.
When you're 24 you have no idea what "just fine" really means, nor do you know enough to know that you're not fitting in as well as you would have fit in if you had gone there when you were 33 instead of 23.
Years ago I read a discussion of one of the five star cruise lines.  The statement, "Those who will feel uncomfortable on this line are those who do not know what it means to not fit in."
You don't fit in in a wirehouse until you're at least thirty, regardless of the fact that a manager makes a mistake and hires you.

Ace Planner's picture
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BEF,
Explain please, how could someone who's 33 and just starting this business could fit in better than someone who's 33 and been doing it for 10 years.  I mean, what better could a 23 year old with sales skills do than go for broke and try to join up with a wirehouse.  Hmmm?  Work tables at TGIFriday's?  Join an accounting firm?  Go Air Force? 
I hear you saying "Don't" to a young guy, but what does a young guy do?
Ace

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Ace Planner wrote: 
I hear you saying "Don't" to a young guy, but what does a young guy do?
Ace

He gains selling experience in an environment where if  he fails  he does not get marked as a failure.
If you're 23 you almost certainly will fail at a place like Merrill.  There is no way to spin failure at Merrill into a positive in the mind of a Smith  Barney branch manager.
Go where  you can succeed far easier, go to an insurance company, go to a bank, go to Ameriprise.
If you fail there you can (possibly) spin it as "The clients I have, and the prospects I was approaching, wanted things I could not deliver in that environment."  You can't make that argument if you failed at Merrill.
There is a guy named Walter Williams, a professor somewhere who often substitutes for Rush Limbaugh.  He has a rather unusual approach to offering advice to black kids about college.  He suggests that it's a bad idea for them to attend difficult schools because they're likely to fail and end up being a drop out, but if they went to an easier school they may well last long enough to graduate.
He is condemned for suggesting that because in so doing he is saying that black kids can't succeed at Harvard, when we all know that not everybody who enrolls at Harvard flunks out.  Most do, almost all do, but not everybody.
The same is true of being young at Merrill.  Most fail, almost all do, but not everybody.
Why not stack the cards in your favor, gain maturity.  The reason clients trust older people more than younger people is not because the older people have better selling skills, it's because they're older.
In most employment arenas being "old" is a negative.  That is not true at the major wirehouses.
So work at New York life until your 32nd birthday, or at BankOne, or at Ameriprise, Waddell and Reed and the others of that ilk.
You're not wasting your time, what you're doing is all you can to ensure success once you do get to the big leagues.
I heard of a kid who was offered a job at the old Pru Bache when he was 23.  He told the manager, "Thanks for the offer, but I know I'm too young now.  I assume that if I come back when I'm thirty you will want me even more."
The manager not only agreed, but actually gave him a letter addressed to the firm's HR department in case he, the manager, stepped in front of a bus, or was unable to hire him a few years later.
It takes balls to turn down an offer, but it takes bigger ones to run the risk of failure that accompanies accepting an offer that is ill considered.

Ace Planner's picture
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I guess that may work for some people.  And the reason I confronted you on it is because you're talking to me.  I'm 26.  Here's why I chose not to accept that philosophy: I'm not going to waste my time.  My life's goal is not to work for a wirehouse, my goal is to not waste my time.  If I didn't go straight to a wirehouse, I'd be wasting my time.  My time's valueable to me. 
So by your last paragraph, you're saying I have big balls?  Thanks for the compliment, even if I disagree with your premise.
By the time I'm 50, someone who started 10 years after me and is 50 will be 10 years behind me, and our books will reflect it.
Ace

Big Easy Flood's picture
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By the time I'm 50, someone who started 10 years after me and is 50 will be 10 years behind me, and our books will reflect it.
 
The falacy in your thinking is that somebody who is ten years older has so much more credibilty that within 5 years--when you've been around for 15 years and he's been around only five--he will have as large a book as you do.
Another falacy is to conclude that somebody who is not at a wirehouse at age 26 is wasting their time elsewhere.  Why do you think that they are?  Why do you think that a 26 year old at New York Life is not assembling a Rolodex with far more potential than you are?
Do you disagree with me regarding the importance of being older when it comes time to being credible?
Is it easier for a young person to be credible about life insurance than about retirement planning?
Would your parents be more comfortable suggesting that their best friends invest with you, or buy a life insurance policy from you?
How about your parent's best friends--who remember you when you were a cub scout.  Would they be more likelyto buy a life insurance policy from you or allow you to transfer their 401(k) from wherever it is?
It's the epitome of arrogance to think that you are using your time more efficently than a guy of similar age and education who is out there selling John Deere tractors to soybean farmers.
You're both gaining valuable experience--but only you are running the risk of ending up failing at a wirehouse before you're old enough to have much of a chance.

Big Easy Flood's picture
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By the way, it's very easy to trip on big balls.

lawsucks's picture
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Big Easy Flood wrote:By the way, it's very easy to trip on big balls.
I've also heard that it is not very easy to take a crap when you have a big prostate.  But I'm sure you knew that already. 

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

Even if the training at ML and SB has gone down the toilet, I would still take their training over AMP any day.

blarmston's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-26

BEF= Putsy.....
It amuses me that you constantly get kicked off this forum, yet still feel the need to come back under another screen name to spew the same old crap.... Pa- the- tic.....

apprentice's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

My 5 cents:  Regardless of age - if you want to start your own business, what better place to do it that the financial serivces industry.  No capital required to start, most places pay you a salary for the first year or so, if you fail - the experience you gain is priceless.
Don't ponder success, don't sit on the fence, 'just do it!'

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

blarmston wrote:
BEF= Putsy.....
It amuses me that you constantly get kicked off this forum, yet still feel the need to come back under another screen name to spew the same old crap.... Pa- the- tic.....

If I read it right I have been posting on this forum since August of last year.  It's now June, that's damn near a year.
Why would you conclude I am somebody who keeps getting kicked of the forum and comes back as different names?

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

Wow - I'd forgotten about Put.  Thanks for the trip down memory lane, blarm. 

Indyone's picture
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Profile: Put Trader

Username:
Put Trader

Group:
Senior Member

Account Status:
Not Active

Real Name:
Putnam Von Trader

Joined:
April 08 2005

Last Visit:
July 30 2005

Posts:
958 [2.23 posts per day]

Location:
San Marino

Date of Birth:
Nov. 24 1944

Homepage:
Not Given

Occupation:
Maven

Interests:
Stuff Mavens Do
Well, you stayed away for about a month after you got the boot and before BEF came aboard.  As far as not getting kicked off since then, I'd credit that to a kindler, gentler Put Trader.  As I recall, Put pretty much offended about everybody before he got the boot.  As BEF, you've toned things down enough that those who run this board are willing to tolerate you for the occasional nugget of industry experience you throw out.  As I remember, Put even had a bit of a rascist bone, and I think that, among other things, is what finally earned you the boot.
In the month ater the infamous boot, Put evaluated what went wrong...how he'd offended the Gods of the RR forum boards, took a bit of the edge off, and came back under a new name.  As is evidenced by the relative longevity, Put II has found a winning formula that's kept him out of the doghouse and posting to his heart's content...Welcome back, Put!!!

blarmston's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-26

I still think he is a miserable old man living in some shack on the Lower East Side, mad at the fact he never truly achieved anything in life, and clinging to this board as one of the few things that get him out of bed in the morning...

lovetoraise's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18

Ace Planner wrote:
I guess that may work for some people.  And the reason I confronted you on it is because you're talking to me.  I'm 26.  Here's why I chose not to accept that philosophy: I'm not going to waste my time.  My life's goal is not to work for a wirehouse, my goal is to not waste my time.  If I didn't go straight to a wirehouse, I'd be wasting my time.  My time's valueable to me. 
So by your last paragraph, you're saying I have big balls?  Thanks for the compliment, even if I disagree with your premise.
By the time I'm 50, someone who started 10 years after me and is 50 will be 10 years behind me, and our books will reflect it.
Ace

 
Ace,
I know lots of people just want to take shots at people new to the business so I welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your recommendations. Having left Ameriprise, I am actually finding some people receptive to talking to me with my Series 7, top-ten undergrad school and a couple years of business experience. Where did you start? What does one do to join a group of FAs at a big-name shop like Merrill, sit in a cafe where they work for 2 weeks, cold call their secretaries, or just do the training programs and suck it up.
I've been using my alumni volunteer lists of FAs to talk to advisors, hoping they'll recommend me to some advisors they may know as a potential 2-year grunt. So far this has landed me discussions with an FA at Morgan Stanley and potentially Merrill Lynch. Also Raymond James is interviewing me. And I may be getting a SSB interview, but I hear their minimum assets under management after 2 years are large. Prior to my series 7, none would speak to me. So I don't know if leaving AMP is necessarily a bad thing.
Have you ever heard of Nationwide Financial, an insurance company? There is a group affiliate that uses 1717 Capital Management Corporation as their RIA that allows you to offer unbiased investment advice to supplement insurance.
What would you do if you wanted a Junior Advisor/Office Bitch position with one of these companies to work your way up. How, good sir, can I become somebody's bitch? 

ezmoney's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

no. you sound like a douchbag to me.

lovetoraise's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18

ezmoney wrote:no. you sound like a douchbag to me.
And you are a waste of life and one of the reasons I find reading stuff on this board to be annoying, like I'm dealing with pledges in my fraternity who thought they were cool for smoking so much pot they couldn't think- a lot of arrogance with little reason. I could probably buy and sell you on the street a couple times over.

Ace Planner's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-09

L, you should just do the training program, suck it up, and work hard.  If the big boys see you working hard, they'll want you on their teams, or they'll hand you some of their small clients.  But don't count on it.  Build your expertise and demonstrate that you're valuable and prospect for the big clients, then everyone else will want to be on your team.
Ace Out
PS hey EZ, watch the name calling, it's not respectable.

RealityBichslap's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-07

If he IS going to name call, he needs to spell it right.
It's douchEbag.
Ace Planner wrote:
L, you should just do the training program, suck it up, and work hard.  If the big boys see you working hard, they'll want you on their teams, or they'll hand you some of their small clients.  But don't count on it.  Build your expertise and demonstrate that you're valuable and prospect for the big clients, then everyone else will want to be on your team.
Ace Out
PS hey EZ, watch the name calling, it's not respectable.

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

tooshay.

RecruitingAce's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-22

LostinTX -
In my opinion (and experience) AMEX / Ameriprize is a great company to join if you are new in your career and you are looking for an opportunity to get licensed and get some "real life" experience under your belt.
However, it looks like you have been in a professional with some good experiences (and contacts).  If this is right, Ameriprize is beneath you.  Plain and simple.
You would be better to take your talents to a bigger firm with a better reputation, MUCH better success rate, higher salary and ultimately a better and more real opportunity to earn six figures in a short order of time.  Ameriprize could take 4 - 5 years before you would net 100K. 
Please email me if you are interested in learning about Smith Barney's training program.  I have a national contract to recruit into their training program and have been very successful at it thus far.  

BrokerRecruit's picture
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Joined: 2005-04-19

Good luck with SB, buddy.
The bottom line is that unless you are a 1st quintile producer at AMP, it is a resume-killer if you are looking to go to a major wire.

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