Merrill Lynch Interview Process

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RickRoss's picture
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I have an interview coming up with Merrill Lynch for a Financial Advisor position.  There was some mention prior to the interview of a FIAT exam to gauge Series 7 exam performance. 
 
What should I expect going into this interview? 
What advice would you give someone in this spot? 
Is this position with them mostly on the phones?
What is the training like?
 
Please advise.

BogJohn's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-24

Reading your previous posts I suggest something VERY back office for you. Anything client facing where you might face rejection and you are DOOMED!

RickRoss's picture
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BogJohn wrote:Reading your previous posts I suggest something VERY back office for you. Anything client facing where you might face rejection and you are DOOMED!
 
Hey John,
   Thanks for your honesty.  I was hoping to be judged independently of any other postings.  I've simply had a bad experience on this site and have a tendency to carry an underlying tone when making posts, that's all. 
 
    I'm waiting for the next few replies to prove my initial experience as an exception to what's customary.

YHWY's picture
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I suggest having a very solid basic understanding of investments in general, including some basic knowledge about how stocks, bonds, funds, etc. work. Most importantly, you'd better have a very, very solid underlying business plan. This should focus on convincingly presenting the manner in which you intend to build a book of (high-end) business. Your question about whether or not they work basically "phone-based" doesn't speak well about your level of preparation on the latter.

snaggletooth's picture
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RickRoss wrote:BogJohn wrote:Reading your previous posts I suggest something VERY back office for you. Anything client facing where you might face rejection and you are DOOMED!
 
Hey John,
   Thanks for your honesty.  I was hoping to be judged independently of any other postings.  I've simply had a bad experience on this site and have a tendency to carry an underlying tone when making posts, that's all. 
 
    I'm waiting for the next few replies to prove my initial experience as an exception to what's customary.
 
Why don't you just re-register under a different name and come back having learned from your mistakes?

RickRoss's picture
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snaggletooth wrote:RickRoss wrote:BogJohn wrote:Reading your previous posts I suggest something VERY back office for you. Anything client facing where you might face rejection and you are DOOMED!
 
Hey John,
   Thanks for your honesty.  I was hoping to be judged independently of any other postings.  I've simply had a bad experience on this site and have a tendency to carry an underlying tone when making posts, that's all. 
 
    I'm waiting for the next few replies to prove my initial experience as an exception to what's customary.
 
Why don't you just re-register under a different name and come back having learned from your mistakes?
 
I think there is more honor in openly admitting one's faults.  Learning from my mistakes, I will, but to pretend to be somebody else who doesn't make any mistakes is definitely not my character. 

RickRoss's picture
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YHWY wrote:I suggest having a very solid basic understanding of investments in general, including some basic knowledge about how stocks, bonds, funds, etc. work. Most importantly, you'd better have a very, very solid underlying business plan. This should focus on convincingly presenting the manner in which you intend to build a book of (high-end) business. Your question about whether or not they work basically "phone-based" doesn't speak well about your level of preparation on the latter.
 
Well, the reason I mentioned the phones piece is b/c I saw someone else post about Merrill in such a manner that suggested that.
 
The business plan is a great idea.  I'm glad you responded. 

YHWY's picture
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Think of it this way. IF they hire you, you will be trained, told what your "quotas" are (i.e. be in the top quarter of your class in production), show you to a cubical with a computer and a phone and say, "Good Luck." ALL the rest is up to you.

OS's picture
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For the fiat, be able to do any kind of basic calculations with fractions.  Use the search tool on here, I think I posted several of the questions a few months ago right after I took it.
Tip:  They say no calculator, but I was in a room by myself and my cell phone calculator came in handy.   

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I just got hired by merrill a couple months back.Advice for people looking to get hired that worked for ME.  I will only speak for what worked for me.First: Come in looking sharp.  I dressed in my best suit with a fitted french cuff shirt and some nice links.  I also wore my best watch.  High end watch but not over the top flashy.  I actually got a comment from a morgan stanely branch manager regarding the watch.Walk in with a confident attitude with a little ego.  Not over the top but when you walk in they will know you are serious.Also I would have a solid business plan as someone else mentioned.  Be able to tell them very specifically how you will get in front of atleast 10 qualified individuals weekly ( 250k and higher).  The more specific a niche the better e.g. (Asian Physicians, Manufacturing Business owners)  Be able to tell them why you have a common link with that niche.The name of the game is prospecting.  Don't be fooled by all the investment services, and best practice servicing clients... that will come in handy later and also your client associate will help you out with that.  FOCUS on prospecting and tell them that you understand you will prospect from 8:00 am to 5:00pm and will do all the servicing and paperwork and research before or after that time. Explain if you will cold walk, cold call, network, or do seminars and why.  Again the more specific the better.Now this last part is key.  This is what got me a higher salary and impressed all the managers I met with. (At least thats what the recruiter told me, how reliable that is I will leave it up to you)  Ask the manager interviewing you that from all the people they have seen become successful and the ones that have failed what are the three biggest difference in their experience that separated them. Or what is the biggest key in making it in this industry.  Something along those lines. Each manager will tell you something different.  But LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN ( as if you were in a client meeting)  Keep asking them for their advice and also HOW they made it and any advice they would give you even if you didn't get hired at Merrill.   This really helps you get a perspective on what it takes to make it from different people.  I'm sure there is a lot more that others can add, but this was the basics of what I used in my interviews

MLurative's picture
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Tell them you have a lot of rich relatives who are eager to invest with you.  If they believe you have 30 million+ in your family pipeline someone will take you on just for that.  You can always give them some "they want me to get some seasoning before they invest with me" after your in the door.  Don't feel bad for being a little dishonest in this regard.  Telling people what they want to hear is what we do all day.  You'll do fine.

RickRoss's picture
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younggunz wrote:I just got hired by merrill a couple months back.Advice for people looking to get hired that worked for ME.  I will only speak for what worked for me.First: Come in looking sharp.  I dressed in my best suit with a fitted french cuff shirt and some nice links.  I also wore my best watch.  High end watch but not over the top flashy.  I actually got a comment from a morgan stanely branch manager regarding the watch.Walk in with a confident attitude with a little ego.  Not over the top but when you walk in they will know you are serious.Also I would have a solid business plan as someone else mentioned.  Be able to tell them very specifically how you will get in front of atleast 10 qualified individuals weekly ( 250k and higher).  The more specific a niche the better e.g. (Asian Physicians, Manufacturing Business owners)  Be able to tell them why you have a common link with that niche.The name of the game is prospecting.  Don't be fooled by all the investment services, and best practice servicing clients... that will come in handy later and also your client associate will help you out with that.  FOCUS on prospecting and tell them that you understand you will prospect from 8:00 am to 5:00pm and will do all the servicing and paperwork and research before or after that time. Explain if you will cold walk, cold call, network, or do seminars and why.  Again the more specific the better.Now this last part is key.  This is what got me a higher salary and impressed all the managers I met with. (At least thats what the recruiter told me, how reliable that is I will leave it up to you)  Ask the manager interviewing you that from all the people they have seen become successful and the ones that have failed what are the three biggest difference in their experience that separated them. Or what is the biggest key in making it in this industry.  Something along those lines. Each manager will tell you something different.  But LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN ( as if you were in a client meeting)  Keep asking them for their advice and also HOW they made it and any advice they would give you even if you didn't get hired at Merrill.   This really helps you get a perspective on what it takes to make it from different people.  I'm sure there is a lot more that others can add, but this was the basics of what I used in my interviews
 
Younggunz, this might be a bit too personal, and if it is, I apologize, but how, exactly, did YOU come up with YOUR business plan.  I'm not looking for a cut / paste response that I can regurgitate at the interview, but more a stimulus to help me generate ideas.
 
Quite frankly, I'm relatively new to my area, and I don't know too many people just yet.  The ones I've met are no where near $250k.  I can deal with hard work, long hours, rejection, et cetera, but I'm having difficulty wrapping my hands around where to start.
 
I know most of, if not all of, the business is generated by the actual FA, but I was hoping the training might answer a lot of the how to get over the hurdles type questions.  Sort of the, here's where your focus should be, kid, no go get 'em type of approach.  I think coming up with a business plan is a great idea, and definitely shows one is prepared/serious, but it's a little intimidating if I don't really know where to start.  The last thing I want to do is go in there with fluff and b.s.  I'm sure they'll smell that right away.
 
I've done a little research on the FAs at this particular branch.  Almost all are a lot older with many more credentials, but I'm a little surprised (in a good way) that someone as young as I (I'm 24) is even being considered.  Age shouldn't have anything to do with it, but if I'm talking to high net worth individuals and they see a young kid, it's probably a lot harder to gain credibility.  I'm rambling...

Hank Moody's picture
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Tell them that you have an aunt that will buy a variable annuity from you. 

Hank Moody's picture
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RickRoss wrote:snaggletooth wrote:RickRoss wrote:BogJohn wrote:Reading your previous posts I suggest something VERY back office for you. Anything client facing where you might face rejection and you are DOOMED!
 
Hey John,
   Thanks for your honesty.  I was hoping to be judged independently of any other postings.  I've simply had a bad experience on this site and have a tendency to carry an underlying tone when making posts, that's all. 
 
    I'm waiting for the next few replies to prove my initial experience as an exception to what's customary.
 
Why don't you just re-register under a different name and come back having learned from your mistakes?
 
I think there is more honor in openly admitting one's faults.  Learning from my mistakes, I will, but to pretend to be somebody else who doesn't make any mistakes is definitely not my character.  You don't have to admit to your faults, here. They are painfully obvious to everybody.

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Hank Moody wrote:Tell them that you have an aunt that will buy a variable annuity from you. 
 
  Good one, Hank!  Glad to see your posts on this topic are value-added.

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RickRoss wrote:I know most of, if not all of, the business is generated by the actual FA, but I was hoping the training might answer a lot of the how to get over the hurdles type questions.  Sort of the, here's where your focus should be, kid, no go get 'em type of approach.  I think coming up with a business plan is a great idea, and definitely shows one is prepared/serious, but it's a little intimidating if I don't really know where to start.  The last thing I want to do is go in there with fluff and b.s.  I'm sure they'll smell that right away.
 
You're going to be giving your manager fluff and b.s. everyday anyways so why not start somewhere?  When you're having a bad day dialing or prospecting and he comes into your office and yell excitedly, "How we doin' today, Rick?!?!", or "How many appointments we got so far today, son!?!?!", you better not tell him, "Ahh man, I'm having a real tough day.  I'm feeling kinda down in the dumps."  Until you have proven yourself as a valuable commodity in the office you're going to have to always give some kind of good news to your boss all the time.  Even if it is something as simple as, "Having a great day today, boss!  Haven't spilled coffee on my tie yet!".  See?  And thats just ONE example of how you will be fluffing your boss on a daily basis once you've got the job!

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Haha.  I like your examples, they're pretty good.  I'm trying to figure out if I should walk in there and be more of a "Here's my gameplan.  I know I need to do x, y, z, to be successful.  Here's how I'll do it."  Or if I should go along the lines of, "Well, from what I gather, I know blah blah blah, and I'm looking forward to the training program which will coach me further on the specifics.  I'm willing to do whatever it takes."
 
I guess probably a mixture between the two.  Being brand new to this area, not knowing too many people, and having to come up with some sort of targeted marketing business plan within a few days of going in for an interview, is definitely intimidating.  Frankly, I need someone to be like, "Okay, this method works and so does this.  I suggest you spend some time doing this.  These types of people can usually be found here.  See what works for you.  Go get 'em and let me know how you make out."  At least that will give me a starting point.
 
Interview Attitude: Be a know-it-all with a gameplan or a coachable asset with determination?
 
Dress:  I usually wear a black suit, colored shirt.  Someone told me to always wear a white shirt to the interview.  Thoughts?
 
Any other comments / thoughts.  Interview is tomorrow.

voltmoie's picture
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How about you just be yourself?  Go in there, do your best, and if they like you ... your hired.  If not, it was not the right job anyway. Don't over think it.Go with a Navy suit, red tie, white shirt .. classic interview dress.

buyandhold's picture
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I talked to them recently. The interviewer was very interested in my circle of relationships -- basically, how many rich people do I know. He said they liked to hire people who had been succesful in some business.The prospecting method he describes would be uncomfortable to me. For example, he said that if you have a prospect who is a State University football fan, you should finagle your way into going to the game with him, so that you can spend time with him and meet his other heavy hitter friends.

smokescreen agent's picture
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buyandhold wrote:I talked to them recently. The interviewer was very interested in my circle of relationships -- basically, how many rich people do I know.
 
Somewhat unfortunate but true, that's pretty much what gets most people hired...

RickRoss's picture
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voltmoie wrote:How about you just be yourself?  Go in there, do your best, and if they like you ... your hired.  If not, it was not the right job anyway. Don't over think it.Go with a Navy suit, red tie, white shirt .. classic interview dress.
 
I think I'll go for the all black funeral look.  Black suit, black shirt, black tie, and black face paint.  Haha.

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buyandhold wrote:I talked to them recently. The interviewer was very interested in my circle of relationships -- basically, how many rich people do I know. He said they liked to hire people who had been succesful in some business.The prospecting method he describes would be uncomfortable to me. For example, he said that if you have a prospect who is a State University football fan, you should finagle your way into going to the game with him, so that you can spend time with him and meet his other heavy hitter friends.
 
Well, I was quite successful in my last sales job, but that didn't involve too many "rich people."  That was also in another state.  The thing that gets me is, I told the person I'm going to interview with that I am new to the area, and my basic credentials.  I never implied I knew rich people or that I had a large network.  I guess either they're desparate to hire people, or my credentials are quite impressive.  Maybe I am over thinking this, but I am big on honesty and integrity, and if she asks questions to see whether or not I am associated with rich folks, I'll flat out say no and probably lose the job.  Sucks, but it'd be worse to lie your way in, get hired, then look like a schmuck.  At least I'd think so.

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Well, I was quite successful in my last sales job, but that didn't involve too many "rich people."  That was also in another state.  The thing that gets me is, I told the person I'm going to interview with that I am new to the area, and my basic credentials.  I never implied I knew rich people or that I had a large network.  I guess either they're desparate to hire people, or my credentials are quite impressive.  Maybe I am over thinking this, but I am big on honesty and integrity, and if she asks questions to see whether or not I am associated with rich folks, I'll flat out say no and probably lose the job.  Sucks, but it'd be worse to lie your way in, get hired, then look like a schmuck.  At least I'd think so.I'm sure you have a plan to find people with money, even if it is just cold walking or cold calling wealthy neighborhoods or businesses. At least give them that.

wirehire's picture
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Tell them you know Hank - you'll be in like flint!

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RickRoss wrote:Haha.  I like your examples, they're pretty good.  I'm trying to figure out if I should walk in there and be more of a "Here's my gameplan.  I know I need to do x, y, z, to be successful.  Here's how I'll do it."  Or if I should go along the lines of, "Well, from what I gather, I know blah blah blah, and I'm looking forward to the training program which will coach me further on the specifics.  I'm willing to do whatever it takes."
 
I guess probably a mixture between the two.  Being brand new to this area, not knowing too many people, and having to come up with some sort of targeted marketing business plan within a few days of going in for an interview, is definitely intimidating.  Frankly, I need someone to be like, "Okay, this method works and so does this.  I suggest you spend some time doing this.  These types of people can usually be found here.  See what works for you.  Go get 'em and let me know how you make out."  At least that will give me a starting point.
 
Interview Attitude: Be a know-it-all with a gameplan or a coachable asset with determination?
 
Dress:  I usually wear a black suit, colored shirt.  Someone told me to always wear a white shirt to the interview.  Thoughts?
 
Any other comments / thoughts.  Interview is tomorrow.
 
I usually wear light colored shirts and white is the safest bet, very conservative and most traditional color. As for the interview, make sure you have a couple POWERFUL stories about how "one time" you helped your previous company generate sales. And by powerful, I don't mean canned, generic answers that everyone else uses. Make sure the story is entertaining and that it leaves a lasting impression. Show a strong personality as well as your willingness to work like a dog.
 
Some insurance companies have "project 200" where they compile a list of 200 contacts that is in their network. Adding something of that sort to your business proposal can not hurt. Anyways, best of luck to you and let us know how you do.

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You guys were right about the business plan.  Probably the first question I was asked is how I'm going to build a client base.  My answers were fairly vague, and the interviewer kept probing.  This is probably going to be the main deciding factor as to whether or not I get the position. 
 
I took the FIAT exam.  Whoever made the comment about fractions was dead on.  I'm waiting on my score, but I'm sure I did fine.  There were only a handful that I was unsure of.  I think I was told you need 35/55 to pass, or something like that.
 
I guess where I need help is where / how do I get started on the whole client targets.  I was told that I need to have this figured out by the next interview.  I need to "know who your first client is."  I'm not expected to actually contact people, but they want to know who, why, and specifically how.  I really want this position and I'm willing to do whatever it takes, I just need some guidance.
 
Where do I start?  Are there any good books?  Is cold calling from a certain list the right idea, or do I have to look elsewhere?  As I said, I don't really have a personal network out here yet to tap, so this is making it a bit harder.  Looking forward to your responses.

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That's where I got caught up in my interviews with ML.  I don't have a large network of million dollar investors ready to invest with me, and I was honest about that.  My answer of, personal contacts might be a good start for some but could limit a new advisor, while the work eithic I have and the skills I gain actually prospecting and meeting my goals will benefit me for the rest of my career.  Then I went on to explain in detail how I planned on prospecting, along with providing a 10 page business plan that the interviewer told me was the most detailed and impressive he'd seen.  In the end though, it was all about whether or not I had the contacts going in, which I didn't.  After 5 interviews they politely said they like me but they don't see how I'm going to make it without the contacts, and at that point I'd already accepted another offer anyway, so I just let it go at that.
 
If you really want to be at ML, today you need to think about some niche you have that will give you an advantage, or some group of contacts will lots of money just waiting for you to become licensed, and then e-mail a little info about that to your interviewer and tell him/her you look forward to talking about that in more detail at your next meeting.

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I got a suggestion of marketing to hispanic business owners / new businesses in the area.  I do have knowledge of the Spanish language, and am pursuing my proficiency in Spanish.  I have this listed on my resume, and the interviewer sort of skipped right over that and seemed more interested in my MBA pursuit.  Thoughts?

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.

RickRoss's picture
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Smokescreen, I appreciate the sincerity, if you can call it that. 
 
Simply put, I'm not on here to have someone write my business plan.  I'm simply trying to generate ideas based on those that have gone through this and are successful today.  I'm looking for a place to start, some ideas to put to work in my own way, not to rip someone else off and steal their ideas. 
 
I highly doubt that this would be found, but even if it were, I think they would be honored that I've taken the time to find out more information about what I'm being asked to do.  It shows that I truly care. 
 
You know what's funny, is one of the questions I asked today was about what differentiates mediocrity from those who are wildly successful in this business.  Do you know what the #1 answer was?  Most people who refuse to ask for help, fail.  Let me type that again, THOSE WHO REFUSE TO ASK FOR HELP, FAIL.  Once again, I'm not looking for a handout; I'm asking for help. 

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.

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Well, I interviewed on Monday and did not hear back by the end of the week.  I thought if I'd hear by now one way or the other.  Is this some sort of game to see how aggressive I am and how long it takes for me to follow up, again?  I did the whole follow up thank you note and whatnot, and figured the ball was in their court.
 
Either way, I'm thinking being an FA is right for me, but that I'd rather serve a different clientele.  Obviously I'm not rich (yet), and I think I could identify better with the working middle class, not to mention build a larger network of folks like me.  Any good firms out there that target this audience? 

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RickRoss wrote:Well, I interviewed on Monday and did not hear back by the end of the week.  I thought if I'd hear by now one way or the other.  Is this some sort of game to see how aggressive I am and how long it takes for me to follow up, again?  I did the whole follow up thank you note and whatnot, and figured the ball was in their court.
 
Either way, I'm thinking being an FA is right for me, but that I'd rather serve a different clientele.  Obviously I'm not rich (yet), and I think I could identify better with the working middle class, not to mention build a larger network of folks like me.  Any good firms out there that target this audience?  You can target whoever you want, wherever you are. Ask yourself if you had 250 'folks like you' how many assets would you have?

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More than you'd probably think.  I actually know someone who works primarily with younger up-and-coming professionals that works for NMFN and does quite well.

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iceco1d wrote:At a wirehouse, you need to find people with money NOW.  The "up and coming professional" is not a qualified prospect at a wire.  I think most wire branches want at LEAST $50m in a household, but preferrably at least $100m (somone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).
 
Depends on your "m" I guess.  The numbers sound about right if we are using the second definition.
 
From a Google search...
 
M


M [1]
informal abbreviation for million in expressions where the base unit is understood, as in "500M hard drive" (500 megabytes or mebibytes). In chemistry, M is the symbol for "molar" (see below).
M [2]
the Roman numeral 1000, sometimes used in symbols to indicate a thousand, as in Mcf, a traditional symbol for 1000 cubic feet. Given the widespread use of M to mean one million, this older use of M to mean 1000 is very confusing and should be scrapped.

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RR:
It doesn't sound like you have experience in the industry.  Getting hired on as a new fa, in an area you are new to doesn't sound like a recipe for success.  Jones has a business plan for you for you to follow.  It's not a bad place to get some experience in the industry, just don't drink ALL the kool-aid.  Other ideas might be to get on as a "junior" broker somewhere with a "senior" broker.  You do all the work but they can act as a mentor and help you learn the business.  You could also try a back office position somewhere to get some knowledge of the industry.  Just some quick thoughts. 
Good luck!

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RickRoss wrote:You guys were right about the business plan.  Probably the first question I was asked is how I'm going to build a client base.  My answers were fairly vague, and the interviewer kept probing.  This is probably going to be the main deciding factor as to whether or not I get the position. 
 
I took the FIAT exam.  Whoever made the comment about fractions was dead on.  I'm waiting on my score, but I'm sure I did fine.  There were only a handful that I was unsure of.  I think I was told you need 35/55 to pass, or something like that.
 
I guess where I need help is where / how do I get started on the whole client targets.  I was told that I need to have this figured out by the next interview.  I need to "know who your first client is."  I'm not expected to actually contact people, but they want to know who, why, and specifically how.  I really want this position and I'm willing to do whatever it takes, I just need some guidance.
 
Where do I start?  Are there any good books?  Is cold calling from a certain list the right idea, or do I have to look elsewhere?  As I said, I don't really have a personal network out here yet to tap, so this is making it a bit harder.  Looking forward to your responses.Why do you want this job so badly? If you were told you'd be paid shit and work tons of hours why? solely cause of the money?

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Not sure why some of my recent posts have been getting cut off and only partially posted.  Hopefully this entire post goes through.
 
Got the 2nd interview coming up.  Don't exactly have a specific business plan / details on how I will approach my target market yet. 
 
Wing it?  Scramble and just put it together?  A sign that I'm not ready?
 
I've been reading a lot about interns that get brought on.  Most of them are paid.  I'm willing to bet they don't bring in a huge client base, if one at all.  Should I be willing to bet they might take me on w/o potential clients?
 
Top 3 things to walk into the next interview with are...?

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RickRoss wrote: 
Top 3 things to walk into the next interview with are...?pants, shirt, shoes

OS's picture
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RickRoss wrote:
Wing it?  Scramble and just put it together?  A sign that I'm not ready?
 
Just go in there and show them that you can wing it without a plan.  It's not like there's any planning involved in being a FA, and they'll appreciate the fact that you can wing it with your future clients life savings too. 
Seriously though, if you haven't been motivated enough to sit down and right out a detailed plan by this point, do yourself a favor and get off your a** today and go get a seasonal job at UPS or FedEx.  You have "Lazy Piece of S***" written all over you and I'm guessing the people at ML can read.

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OS wrote:RickRoss wrote:
Wing it?  Scramble and just put it together?  A sign that I'm not ready?
 
Just go in there and show them that you can wing it without a plan.  It's not like there's any planning involved in being a FA, and they'll appreciate the fact that you can wing it with your future clients life savings too. 
Seriously though, if you haven't been motivated enough to sit down and right out a detailed plan by this point, do yourself a favor and get off your a** today and go get a seasonal job at UPS or FedEx.  You have "Lazy Piece of S***" written all over you and I'm guessing the people at ML can read.
 
OS, you know nothing about me or my past working experience to make such a rude and bold comment.  Didn't your mother ever tell you that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all?  It's people like you that make this forum unbearable at times.
 
This is the Rookies & Trainees section of the forum.  If people with slight ignorance to the industry annoy you and you don't want to help out by giving constructive and non-condescending advice, take your dirty little fingers and click on another section!
 
Jerk.

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I'm sorry Rick. 

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Final Interview is approaching.  If an offer is made, how much negotiating room do I have with the salary? 
 I know they're planning to bring 7 more rookies on in addition to the existing 3. 

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http://www.investmentnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081217/REG/812178496

If you really want to be at ML I would take what I could get, and keep my resume handy just incase.  If ML is a backup plan, or if you have other offers on the table, try to get what you feel you need or what you've been offered at other firms.

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Wow.  Thanks for the link.  Any other similar articles out there? 
 
I haven't asked any questions regarding job security or the changes BoA might bring to ML in the interviews; I wasn't sure that would be appropriate.  But they can't honestly think I am not concerned at all about what's going on.
 
I guess I hope an offer with MM comes along soon.  No base/training pay, but since it's a mutual company, things like this are much less likely to occurr. 

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If you haven't brought up the merger or job security yet, I would wait until you have an offer on the the table before you bring it up.  Then just say something like, "ML is by far my first choice and it is where I really want to build my business, I just want to make sure if I accept this offer and turn the others down I'll be given a fair chance to meet the requirements without being laid off beforehand."  I think that's fair, and it'd be interesting to hear how they respond.  Of course the people at the branch level probably have nothing to do with what trainees get laid off, but maybe they could at least give you some insight on the whole thing.
Good luck!

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Thanks, OS.
 
Glad to see our interaction has turned around for the better. 

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RickRoss wrote:Not sure why some of my recent posts have been getting cut off and only partially posted.  Hopefully this entire post goes through.
 
Got the 2nd interview coming up.  Don't exactly have a specific business plan / details on how I will approach my target market yet. 
 
Wing it?  Scramble and just put it together?  A sign that I'm not ready?
 
I've been reading a lot about interns that get brought on.  Most of them are paid.  I'm willing to bet they don't bring in a huge client base, if one at all.  Should I be willing to bet they might take me on w/o potential clients?
 
Top 3 things to walk into the next interview with are...?
 
NEVER assume the interns do not have a natural network if the firm brings them on. there's a lot going on behind the scenes all the time, you don't know who's nephew that intern is, who's cousin he is, or how he/she got there in the first place. Mommy and daddy have a big account and little Johnny gets a red carpet for an internship, he says he can reel in uncle and cousin and branch manger gives him a shot, happens all the time and it's really lame if you ask me.
 
Second thing, someone suggested take a junior spot or an operations job. Fair advice to get a foot in the industry but I think firms would hire a vaccum salesman sooner than an operations person to be a new FA. Seems like "sales experience" or having the right contacts are the only things that matter when trying to get into an FA program, sending wires and checks really won't get you closer to being a marketable candidate as an advisor. This is also something I think is lame, rarely ever do I see a firm give people a chance to transition into an FA role from a support role. Problem with working in the industry in a role other than that of an advisor is that all the contacts you make will already have an advisor since they work in the industry, if you try another industry first it might give you a chance to build a book of prospects through your employment and then after a few years you could be an FA and call on those people. The people from your former industry will eventually become your prospects if you make the right moves and have a good reputation it can springboard you beyond the typical rookie or rich kid, if you start in the industry as a support person you can never really call on your former coworkers since they are already lined with their firm.
 
Don't take this the wrong way, but I'd be shocked if ML hires you based on your posts. I think the mutual companies will pretty much throw anything against the wall to see if it sticks, if you're dead-set on this then maybe that will work out. 

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smokescreen agent wrote:RickRoss wrote:Not sure why some of my recent posts have been getting cut off and only partially posted.  Hopefully this entire post goes through.
 
Got the 2nd interview coming up.  Don't exactly have a specific business plan / details on how I will approach my target market yet. 
 
Wing it?  Scramble and just put it together?  A sign that I'm not ready?
 
I've been reading a lot about interns that get brought on.  Most of them are paid.  I'm willing to bet they don't bring in a huge client base, if one at all.  Should I be willing to bet they might take me on w/o potential clients?
 
Top 3 things to walk into the next interview with are...?
 
NEVER assume the interns do not have a natural network if the firm brings them on. there's a lot going on behind the scenes all the time, you don't know who's nephew that intern is, who's cousin he is, or how he/she got there in the first place. Mommy and daddy have a big account and little Johnny gets a red carpet for an internship, he says he can reel in uncle and cousin and branch manger gives him a shot, happens all the time and it's really lame if you ask me.
 
Second thing, someone suggested take a junior spot or an operations job. Fair advice to get a foot in the industry but I think firms would hire a vaccum salesman sooner than an operations person to be a new FA. Seems like "sales experience" or having the right contacts are the only things that matter when trying to get into an FA program, sending wires and checks really won't get you closer to being a marketable candidate as an advisor. This is also something I think is lame, rarely ever do I see a firm give people a chance to transition into an FA role from a support role. Problem with working in the industry in a role other than that of an advisor is that all the contacts you make will already have an advisor since they work in the industry, if you try another industry first it might give you a chance to build a book of prospects through your employment and then after a few years you could be an FA and call on those people. The people from your former industry will eventually become your prospects if you make the right moves and have a good reputation it can springboard you beyond the typical rookie or rich kid, if you start in the industry as a support person you can never really call on your former coworkers since they are already lined with their firm.
 
Don't take this the wrong way, but I'd be shocked if ML hires you based on your posts. I think the mutual companies will pretty much throw anything against the wall to see if it sticks, if you're dead-set on this then maybe that will work out. 
 
Well, smokescreen, I would be extremely surprised if an offer wasn't made after my final interview this week.  Things went very well, and it's pretty clear that if I was brought back numerous times that they're interested.
 
As someone pointed out with a previous post / link, there was an article regarding ML laying off 400 trainees last week.  I did (very carefully) bring this up in the interview today, and was led to believe I'm not in danger.
 
Thanks, though, for keeping the faith about me getting hired based on my posts.  Shows you really did your due diligence. 

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smokescreen agent wrote:
I think firms would hire a vaccum salesman sooner than an operations person to be a new FA. Seems like "sales experience" or having the right contacts are the only things that matter when trying to get into an FA program.
 

For all the FA hopefuls out there, pay very close attention to the above quote.  If you can’t sell or you don’t have contacts ready to hand you over millions, this very likely is not the career for you.  I’ve made it through ML’s POA training and I’m making it so far, but having to deal with these facts has been my biggest struggle by far.<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
--WM

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RickRoss wrote:
As someone pointed out with a previous post / link, there was an article regarding ML laying off 400 trainees last week.  I did (very carefully) bring this up in the interview today, and was led to believe I'm not in danger.
 

I’m not an eternal pessimist but you should be very careful.  You must always consider the other party’s motivations when evaluating the validity of what they lead you to believe.  A recruiter will tell you almost anything to have you accept the position.  They don’t get paid unless you get hired.  Part of a branch manager’s compensation is tied to headcount and hiring.  I expect that when you do get your offer, they will want you to sign everything and start before the end of year.
<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 
The 400 POA firings came down from corporate and the branches had nothing they could do.  Regardless of what they lead you to believe, you are in danger.  You MUST make your numbers and now it seems that you may also need to exceed your numbers.
 
--WM

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