If you had the choice ML, NY Life, or PNC

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bailmeout's picture
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Joined: 2012-08-01

I am leaving Edward Jones after 8 months with the firm.  Knocking on doors in The DC Metro area just plain doesn't work.  Not to mention the office I am in has not been updated since the early 90's and looks like a serious dump, I have literally seen clients frown with disgust in the conference room.  iit's pathetic.  I also found out quickly I hate working alone, its so damn boring.

I have three choices on the table as of right now: ML PMD program, NY Life advisor, or PNC Bank Financial Specialist.  

from what I have gathered here are my pros and cons.

ML: pros - its merrill F'n Lynch, I am floored with the thought of being a part of that legendary firm.  huge base pay, from what I have heard it is well over 50k around here. (compared to 24k at jones)

cons: PMD is notoriously impossible

NY Life; pros- top of the industry for many aspects of their business.  Attractive bonus during training.  I woud be in one the top 3 offices in the country.

cons; no base pay

PNC; pro- 47k+ base +  bonus of over 20k a year based on branch performance.  no cold calling,  you only have to call current bank customers and set them up with the in house advisor.

cons- not actually advising, just using my series7 and 66 to set up meetings

any input will be greatly appreciated

KingBobby's picture
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Joined: 2011-10-03

It sounds like you really don't know what you want, yet.

notnotmay's picture
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Joined: 2012-06-17

I'd take the PNC unless the ML office is on the busiest road with lots of walk-in traffic. Otherwise you will find it just like EJ. You will likely work alone at ML and the hurdles are probably much harder than they are at EJ.

ZwingDing's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-15

bailmeout wrote:

I am leaving Edward Jones after 8 months with the firm.  Knocking on doors in The DC Metro area just plain doesn't work.  Not to mention the office I am in has not been updated since the early 90's and looks like a serious dump, I have literally seen clients frown with disgust in the conference room.  iit's pathetic.  I also found out quickly I hate working alone, its so damn boring.

I have three choices on the table as of right now: ML PMD program, NY Life advisor, or PNC Bank Financial Specialist.  

from what I have gathered here are my pros and cons.

ML: pros - its merrill F'n Lynch, I am floored with the thought of being a part of that legendary firm.  huge base pay, from what I have heard it is well over 50k around here. (compared to 24k at jones)

cons: PMD is notoriously impossible

NY Life; pros- top of the industry for many aspects of their business.  Attractive bonus during training.  I woud be in one the top 3 offices in the country.

cons; no base pay

PNC; pro- 47k+ base +  bonus of over 20k a year based on branch performance.  no cold calling,  you only have to call current bank customers and set them up with the in house advisor.

cons- not actually advising, just using my series7 and 66 to set up meetings

any input will be greatly appreciated

As a PMD at Merrill F'in Lynch I will give you my $.02

None of your thought processes matter one whit if you're going to come to Merrill without an already existing network of wealth that you are 100% certain WILL ACAT assets in big chunks right away, or, you can join a team of established FA's who will feed you assets vs. viewing you as fresh meat to do their prospecting for them...and then wait for you to fail out so they can possess all the fruit of your labor.

I had stars in my eyes about Merrill F'n Lynch just like you but I was disabused of them quickly. Merrill F'n Lynch is not what you are expecting. For the vast majority of PMD's it is a Merrill F'n Sweatshop.

I'm guessing you don't a wealthy network because you haven't made it even a year at EdJ.

NY Life is a great company but you have to understand that you go there for two reasons: to sell their participating whole life, and annuities. If you're going to make this your sole obsession and prospect like nobody's business you will make bank and have more freedom than a ML FA. Their pension plan, I've been told, is insanely good. Do NOT go to NY Life to sell securities; yes, you can sell them but if you want to sell securities as your main focus go elsewhere.

If you cannot prospect or maybe it's easier to say you have not learned to prospect you will fail at ML and NY Life no matter what the brochures tell you.

If you are not a successful prospector go to the bank. Many books got their start at banks and then went indy.

Gordon Ramsey's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-09

Okay, I've got similar experiences to share and a different recommendation.

I've been in a credit union environment as an advisor. If you have A.D.D.... then I might recommend it. You have to coach tellers & bankers on HOW TO THINK to give you great referrals, manage the relationship with the branch manager (after all, you're in THEIR space, but they don't "manage" you... and believe me, there IS a 'power struggle' there).

At a bank, you cannot choose whom NOT to open accounts for. You cannot refuse your services to anyone. And if your numbers are low, the temptation to do the small trade for someone who really should NOT be investing... is too much of a liability for your long-term career.

But then again, according to your post, you won't be the advisor... but the "advisor liason" with the branches. You might grow frustrated unless you have the opportunity to become an advisor yourself.

You'll want to get Bob Cobb's books on "Building the Ultimate Bank Advisor" and even checking out www.bipa.org to get ongoing ideas to maximize your time and potential in a bank environment.

Okay, New York Life... it takes a very different mindset to solicit life insurance sales over wealth management/investments. I've done it... and I'm working on a keyman policy and funding a buy/sell agreement with various permanent life insurance policies right now.

The difference in selling insurance is that you're taking their money to fund a product that won't have cash available to them for quite some time. It'll be 3+ years before the client will begin to see a $ for $ deposit into the product (assuming a whole life product illustration). You'll be paid annualized commissions, on the promise that the insured will KEEP the product for at least the 1st year.

You had better have a good base of people that YOU know well, who can then refer you to quality people... because agencies (and agents too) hate commission charge-backs. I think it's much easier to get a chargeback on a permanent life insurance sale than it is on various investment products. This is why you need a great network to start with, and to work with high quality people going forward.

With investments, all you need to know is if they have a pulse, can understand what you're saying and have money. I find it a psychologically easier sale - because they're just TRANSFERRING their money to you, instead of buying a life insurance product.

I also find it more difficult to prospect for insurance only because the people I know and feel more comfortable with are much older and I can't manage the rest of their portfolio yet (my 7/66 are expired currently). I feel odd that the only solution I can offer and should present first are insurance-based solutions. At these people's ages, I feel that the only things I can recommend are a "final expense" policy and a "Med Sup"... and I don't want to be in that line of insurance.

That's a "me" thing... but I share it because I was at a credit union B/D before I went into the insurance venue. Your mindset may also hold you back for similar reasons.

Now ML... I may have some "rosy colored lenses", but I've been around the block a while. I have some lead resources, and I think it's much easier to have a planning conversation centralizing around total wealth management... and including insurance as needed, NOT as the primary product to base the relationship.

I have a friend of mine who has been at MSSB for just about a year (in production for just over 6 months). He has about $3m AUM with 7 clients and he's doing well (according to their benchmarks). He had ZERO financial planning experience going in. (He did mortgages before and a masters degree in economics, but that doesn't equate to competency in this business.)

Now, I have plenty of experience and know how to gather assets and construct portfolios. I left the CU because I wasn't getting the full training that I wanted in regards to insurance planning. Now I have that and I feel that I'll do exceptionally well even cold-calling for ML clients. I know what to say and how to help people feel at ease with me on the phone.

Coming from EJ, you will have a "leg up" in the area of prospecting... if you keep doing what you're doing... but you'll have to emphasize the firm minimum of $250,000. EJ would rather have you open a ton of accounts, than focusing on profitable accounts. That may be a mental shift that you'll have to get used to.

Remember that if they can't meet the firm minimum, that's more time for you to prospect to find someone else who CAN meet the firm minimum. You will HAVE to LOVE to prospect every day.

My suggestion: Use their higher salary (definitely higher than EJ)to help you purchase some of the tools that you will need to be successful long-term - such as a decent lead source subscription. Have a daily prospecting plan of action - just like you were taught at EJ. The difference is that EJ's prospecting seems like they want the whole world as their client. ML does NOT want that. They want HNW prospects.

Have a "today" prospecting plan and a "tomorrow" prospecting plan. For example: you need to prospect for your hurdles today - so get good leads for individual accounts. However, do not neglect "tomorrow" prospecting: networking, centers of influence, business owners, HR directors... these things may pay off over TIME... so do some of it a couple of hours each week, but not as your sole prospecting plan - especially in the beginning.

NOTE: Having "Merrill Lynch" on your resume when applying to other firms is like having "Disneyland" on your resume when applying for a retail manager job. It's INSTANT credibility and speaks to your "training and goals" - even if you fail out - and most do. (Yes, the training probably sucks, but you can't beat the perception!)

PLUS when you go to any other firm (even and especially a bank or credit union), you can easily say that "XYZ brought me on board from Merrill Lynch to bring a higher level of thinking to the bank customers here." They will feel special and you get to use the brand name to leverage at your NEXT position.

So, yes, you can probably tell what I would recommend... but I've been in all 3 positions and even if you fail out of ML, you can have a great game plan for the next step.

atrain's picture
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Joined: 2012-12-29

The downside of the FS program at PNC is that you will still be required to do a significant amount of banking activities. If mom comes in with little Johnny to open his first checking account, then you may have to field that. Overdraft fees, online banking account questions, fee refunds, credit cards, and more, it is all part of the FS role at PNC.

joeman335td's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-28

"I have a friend of mine who has been at MSSB for just about a year (in production for just over 6 months). He has about $3m AUM with 7 clients and he's doing well (according to their benchmarks)."

Damn, wish I'd had hurdles like that at Merrill...I'd still be employed there. 3 Million AUM in 90 days at ML.

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