ML Financial Advisor and POA

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WealthManager's picture
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I just took the aptitude tests for entering the Paths of Achievement training program for Financial Advisor in Global Private Client group.  The tests were no big deal.   I’m sure that everything is fine with them.
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I have not yet been briefed on the next steps.  My guess is that they would want to know how I plan on bringing in business.  I saw something around about a “business plan”.  Can someone give me information on what they are looking for?  While I have a strong desire to enter Wealth Management, I don’t have any experience in the field.  Fortunately I have a fairly large network and I know a number of wealthy individuals.  Would a plan on leveraging my social network be appropriate or do I need something additional?  Another area I planned on concentrating on was independent business owners.  I feel that I have a leg up in that area since I once ran my own business and I still have access to groups of business owners.
 
An area that I’m concerned about is the initial compensation.  I am in the NY/NJ metropolitan area.  I’m a recent MBA graduate from a top business school.  According to the school’s placement survey, last year’s graduates entering Private Client Services had a base salary of $100K with a $20K signing bonus and a $40K guaranteed year-end bonus.  I understand that the first two years in the POA program are salary based and that the salary is negotiated with the branch manager.  What is the likelihood that I can negotiate a salary in line with my graduating peers?  It would be difficult to justify much less considering that I left a cushy $80K job to go back for my MBA.  Am I looking at the wrong company?  I'm also talking with JP Morgan, U.S. Trust and UBS but I am attracted to the entrepreneurial aspects of ML.
 
 
Thank you!

rightway's picture
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You forgot the BMW Lease for the first 2 years you get...Black with a Bull front license plate.

WealthManager's picture
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rightway wrote:You forgot the BMW Lease for the first 2 years you get...Black with a Bull front license plate.
HA!  That would be interesting...but not the way that things work.  Besides, why would I get rid of my current car for a BMW?
Another great thing about ML is that I live about 2-miles from their huge Hopewell complex.  That allows for a slightly lower pay than the NYC firms but not much of one.

Scorpio's picture
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As I've said here before, you do NOT want a high salary in the POA program.  

san fran broker's picture
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WealthManager wrote:
According to the school’s placement survey, last year’s graduates entering Private Client Services had a base salary of $100K with a $20K signing bonus and a $40K guaranteed year-end bonus. 

Those people are largely becoming salaried private bankers, not commission-paid brokers. The private banks and independent asset management (wealth management) boutiques pay rookies considerably more and their job is largely to service existing clients or develop relationships from well-established sources. Their lifestyle and experience is considerably more corporate and better when they are just starting out.
At ML or any of the enormous wirehouses, you will be given substantially less pay and will be expected to get clients. Your life will be miserable and degrading for a few years, as you desperately try to build a book of clients and avoid getting fired for failing to meet your fairly lofty, firm-determined  goals. You will, however, be given the chance to earn significantly more than a private banker or a junior partner in a boutique wealth management shop, and after 7 plus years of busting your ass - cold calling, begging for money, you will OWN your own clients and have an infinitely superior lifestyle to anyone but a sucessful small business owner or VC partner.
The VAST MAJORITY of rookie brokers don't make it. MS lost about 66% of its training program to attrition in the last 5 years. 66%! This is basically true everywhere - no matter how swanky the firm is (and ML ain't that swanky), most of the rookie brokers fail out. It's a really tough career to make.
Most people who do manage to make it are driven insane. Arrogance, viciousness and chutzpah are commonplace. Few branch offices are happy places. Support staff are all paid poverty wages and are completely dependent on branch managers and brokers to provide them with bonuses.
Private banks (not bank brokerages - BIG differences) tend to be rather sedate sorts of places - there's plenty of business for everyone and people are all on salary plus bonus and most don't work terribly hard. Support staff are generally well paid (relative to wirehouse brokerages) and are generally competent. The cultural differences are striking. A FEW private bankers are paid over a million dollars a year -it generally pays as well as an attorney or doctor.
The average private banker (probably) makes more than the average broker, but brokers who make more than $1million a year are in the hundreds at a major national firm.

WealthManager's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-16

Thank you San Fran Broker for all of the information that you provided.  I guess that I’m still trying to understand the distinctions between a private bank and a wire house.  My desire is to be a Wealth Manager, not a broker.  I want to manage relationships and I understand that as people become more affluent that managing their finances becomes more complex.  I want to be there to help families successfully manage their finances to better meet their life goals.  While my main interest is investment planning, I am also interested in helping with estate, retirement, income tax and philanthropic planning.  I don’t want to necessarily be an expert in all of these areas.  I more so want to be able to take the planning at least 90% of the way and leverage off of the product specialists to take the planning the remainder of the way.
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I guess that I’m a little confused.  My understanding is that UBS is the largest private bank and the Merrill Lynch is the most profitable one.  From what I’m reading here it seems that Merrill Lynch is being classified as a wire house.  Can someone please help me draw the distinctions between the two types?
 
Thank you!

BankFC's picture
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You are defintiely barking up the wrong tree by applyin to ML POA program if you want to do what you outlined above.
Everything you said you wanted to do could be done as an ML FA, but only if: 
A)  You have been a BROKER for twenty years and have ACQUIRED those clients, or
B)  You are part of a high performance team, and they see fit to let you do the cake work (planning) while they do the hard work (generating business and prospecting).  This is unlikely, because most would expect you to pull your weight and bring in new business (which would consume the VAST majority of your time).
While the ink might still be drying on your newly minted MBA, fact is unless you have a CFP, CFA, etc your career specific (financial planning) knowledge might be limited. 
If you really want to do what you said above, my suggestion would be to look at trust companies, either independent or bank-owned.  You might not make $80,000 right off, but it is low stress, planning oriented (as opposed to sales oriented), and stable. 

BankFC's picture
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By the way, maybe I'm just confused...but who would go so far as to apply to somewhere like ML and NOT KNOW they are a wirehouse?????
Obviously UBS is a swiss bank, and ML has similar services on the INSTITUTIONAL level, but ML POA is the training program for the BROKERAGE SALES FORCE.  Nothing more, nothing less.

WealthManager's picture
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BankFC wrote:
By the way, maybe I'm just confused...but who would go so far as to apply to somewhere like ML and NOT KNOW they are a wirehouse?????
Obviously UBS is a swiss bank, and ML has similar services on the INSTITUTIONAL level, but ML POA is the training program for the BROKERAGE SALES FORCE.  Nothing more, nothing less.

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I understand that the POA is for becoming a Financial Advisor in the Global Private Client division and that their responsibilities are to offer clients advice, guidance and services for financial planning.  I personally would never want to say that I’m a broker that works for a wire house.  Aren’t those terms from the past?  I don’t mean that just from the semantics viewpoint but hasn’t the market changed to where the consultative client centric wealth management approach is the path with the greatest chance for success? 
 
Doesn’t Merrill Lynch also have Private Wealth Management teams?  Don’t these teams go further than just investment advice but also help with estate planning, charitable trusts, endowments and other tax trappings of the rich?  I’m not saying that being part of a private wealth management team is where I want to be, but my understanding is that a GPC FA can certainly leverage the services that are offered.
 
Maybe my head is in the clouds and I am far from reality, but I saw Merrill Lynch as a great place to start a business.  I love how entrepreneurial it is.  They have a great depth of services in addition to embracing open architecture.  I feel that they give me more latitude than other places.  For example, if I choose to I would be able to pick up small 250K clients who I feel that have potential.  However, I’ve heard many complain about the $15M in 2-years.  Who would want to continue in the business if that is all that they are able to get in AUM in that period of time?  I just can’t see how anything under $25M would result in a paycheck that isn’t enough to warrant continuing.  Am I wrong?

 

blarmston's picture
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Doesn’t Merrill Lynch also have Private Wealth Management teams?  Don’t these teams go further than just investment advice but also help with estate planning, charitable trusts, endowments and other tax trappings of the rich?  I’m not saying that being part of a private wealth management team is where I want to be, but my understanding is that a GPC FA can certainly leverage the services that are offered."
 
I am part of GPC, and our Private Wealth Dept is basically the same entity. The difference lies in the fact that PW goes after larger acoc**ts, and that they dont get paid on assets under 10M. All in all, the platform and product/service capabiltities are the same for GPC and PW. Of course, there are some PW advantages when it comes to access to institutional research, etc, but both groups provide comprehensive planning services....

Scorpio's picture
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From what I'm seeing, you do not want to be in sales.  If that is
the case, forget about Merrill Lynch and the "wealth management" aka
brokerage business altogether....

Scorpio's picture
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P.S.  Please do not waste an NYU MBA on being a FA/broker/wealth
manager....you obviously have exceptional intelligence and this
position requires no significant intelligence whatsoever.  You
would be wasting possibly your strongest asset.

blarmston's picture
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"P.S.  Please do not waste an NYU MBA on being a FA/broker/wealth manager....you obviously have exceptional intelligence and this position requires no significant intelligence whatsoever.  You would be wasting possibly your strongest asset."
How does being a SUCCESSFUl FA require having no exceptional inteeligence? Grbated, it doesnt take a genius to pick up a phone and cold call for 8 hours/day. Nor does it take much for someone to be personable and socialable. However, when you are competing for a person's wealth and commitment, it does take intelligence in terms of strategy development, presentation, and execution. You have been involved with great organizations- do you think everyone is a brainless grunt???
Please share your thoughts... I will wait patiently as I rebalance a clients portfolio (a local trust attorney..) and run a proposal for a $4M prospect... God I love being dumb...
The one thing I agree is that an NYU MBA is something of accomplishment...

Scorpio's picture
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Blarm- By no means was I implying that brokers are DUMB.  You do
need to have at least average college level intelligence.  But
someone who got accepted and completed an MBA at NYU is probably in the
top 1% of the population in terms of intelligence, and that is an asset
that he can more greatly leverage in a different job capacity. 
I'm fresh out of college with a finance degree, and can honestly say
that I have yet to use one peice of knowledge I obtained at
college.  Meaning I could have come here straight out of high
school and been in the exact same place....except that the firm
requires a college degree for the only reason of perception of
competence by the public....

Cowboy93's picture
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Yes, BUT--if you are intelligent in a field where intelligence is not a prerequisite, might it not be easier to compete?  I think once you get past the very difficult task of acquiring a client, having the intelligence to know how to best serve them speeds up the trust and confidence that engenders loyalty to the point of referrals.  In other words, it could be an advantage.  If you want to go get a job at Goldman or McKinsey, you're competing w/every other genius out there.  If you can make this career work, you can eventually work "smart" and not too terribly hard.  Not so much in i-banking or corp manager type work.

blarmston's picture
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Scorp and Cow- agreed...

Proton's picture
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Wealth Manager,
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You are very fortunate to be receiving excellent advice in some of the posts in this thread.
 
A couple things:
 
Yes it does help to be smart and educated in this business.  I realize that there are examples of people that succeed without these traits, but education helps.  That does not mean that clients will be leaping at the opportunity to work with you, but anything that helps you establish credibility in the broader business community is a good thing.
 
I do think you are seriously underestimating one facet of this business.  Specifically, it is much harder to gather $15 M in two years than some of the comments in your posts might suggest.  It sure helps to know people with money, but that does not mean that they will immediately (or ever) become your clients.  In general, a client has to like you and be dissatisfied with their current broker.  I intentionally use the term broker because all of this stuff about wealth management is basically marketing fluff put out by the firms.  It is often a fatal flaw for brokers to smoke the same stuff that firms are trying to use as a hook for clients.
 
The other thing is that everybody and their brother is in the business in some form or other.  There are wirehouses, banks, insurance people, etc. all over that are looking for the same assets and clients.  Some of the competition are hacks, but the volume of people out there prospecting adds to the level of noise.  Some of the competition are young and hungry and will promise things that they cannot deliver (i.e., snakeoil / EIA vendors) and some of the competition will just pay attention to some of your clients that are feeling neglected while you are out prospecting.
 
Unless you are very lucky or well-connected, I think you will find that even the $250K clients you refer to are not that easy to find.
 
Bottom line – you can probably succeed in this business if you are realistic (and better yet, cynical) about what you are doing.  

rightway's picture
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Why is it that everyone wants to start in this business at the level
that took most of us 10 years to achieve?  When I started in the
business I was 24 and was so hungry to learn anything, open anything,
and basically tell everyone what I was doing and ask them to become a
client. 

Now we have college grads saying they want to come in and manage a pile
of assets and affluent relationships without paying any dues or taking
the time to learn the business...which is the best education of
all.  We should not discourage young people from getting into this
business, but rather educate them on the realities of it and the
wonderful benefits that await them a few years down the road. 

This is a noble and rewarding carreer, one in which you make lasting
effects on peoples lives by making their dreams and aspirations come
true.  You get total flexibility with your time, make more money
per hour than 99% of the attorneys and doctors out there, and go to
sleep every night knowing your clients rest easy because of the work
you do.  New advisors and those considering this fine career
should know it is front end loaded with challenges and hard work, but
so very worth it.

Proton's picture
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I agree with you and I don't mean to come across as overly negative in my post.  The failure rate for new folks is just so high and I think a lot of it is due to unrealistic expectations.
 

BankFC's picture
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rightway wrote:Why is it that everyone wants to start in this business at the level
that took most of us 10 years to achieve?  When I started in the
business I was 24 and was so hungry to learn anything, open anything,
and basically tell everyone what I was doing and ask them to become a
client. 

Now we have college grads saying they want to come in and manage a pile
of assets and affluent relationships without paying any dues or taking
the time to learn the business...which is the best education of
all.  We should not discourage young people from getting into this
business, but rather educate them on the realities of it and the
wonderful benefits that await them a few years down the road. 

This is a noble and rewarding carreer, one in which you make lasting
effects on peoples lives by making their dreams and aspirations come
true.  You get total flexibility with your time, make more money
per hour than 99% of the attorneys and doctors out there, and go to
sleep every night knowing your clients rest easy because of the work
you do.  New advisors and those considering this fine career
should know it is front end loaded with challenges and hard work, but
so very worth it.

This is pretty much what I was trying to say.  I definitely think you expect to walk in and start managing stacks of money, and it just doesn't work that way.  ML does have great tools.  But the best tools in the world are useless if you have no clients to use them on.  A 250K client is hardly one to scoff at, one that "might have potential."  If that was so, then why is that the (250K) the magic bogey HOUSEHOLD (aggregate) number ML has been pushing???  Because that is ML's bread and butter.  Sure the million dollars liquid clients comes along from time to time, but not everyday.I agree with Rightway.  If you want to go to ML great.  If you want to be entrepreneurial, fine.  I still say most folks couldn't give a rats a** about an NYU MBA...you think your gonna impress the guy who has built a 10 million dollar business with a degree that anybody with a decent GMAT score and stayed awake in class could have done?Not around here anyway.  I got into law school, so should I brag about that too???

Scorpio's picture
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I think the whole trainee business model at the firms is f'd up. 
My office has 30+ POAs, many of them kids, all of whom are crashing and
burning.  There are only about 5-7 POAs that are on track to make
it. 

A better business model is this - instead of sending 30 trainees to the
wolves, bring in about 5-10 new college grads to work directly with a
senior FA who wants a team member.  Their primary role would be to
help with planning and work the lower book.  Their secondary role
would be to integrate themselves in the community, with a long term
objective of gathering assets.  Then start their clock at say year
10, and if they don't gather the assets that are expected put them in a
"penalty box" with a reduced payout or something until they bring it
up. 

That way, when their primary role switches over to prospecting (yr
~10), they will a) already know a ton of people because they have
integrated themselves in the community; b) be able to say "ive been at
merrill for 10 years..i.e credibility; c) actually know the business
and what to do with people's money; d) be in their early 30s and
look/seem more responsible and trustworthy....

blarmston's picture
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I would agree with that concept somewhat, but how about 2-3 years instead of 10.... Mother would never pay for that long...

rightway's picture
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The program I run has over 80% success rate over the last 3
years.  I have seen POA's team up with Sr FA's, work together in
groups on seminars and networking, and go solo.  WHy do they
succeed?  Its because of themselves, far more than their
situation...but they don't come in fresh with everything in
place.  We meet weekly for 1 1/2 hours covering prospecting,
product/planning, and business management. 

I breed a culture of acknowledging this career as much more than what
90% of these posts describe it as.  I encourage them to open any
account they can, regardless of size to get experience; as all ML FA's
are paid on EVERYTHING for the first year and the cut-off for getting
no comp at all is $50,000, NOT $250,000.  Their marketing and
efforts should be directed at $100,000 plus however. 

How do they get clients?  They cold call, do seminars, network,
and specialize.  They do ALL of this every single day.  They
organize their day and track activities and success (all of which I
teach).  Then they focus more time on the activities they are
getting the most success.  I have seen them get published, get
asked to be guest speakers, open 5 mil plus relationships, and 1 get a
15 mil 401k.  Nearly all of the POA's in my region have graduated,
are on track to graduate, and will continue to do so.  The ones
that don't have the attitude displayed out here on so many of these
posts.  We hire right and work very hard to instill a culture that
is positive, exciting, fun, and disciplined.

You can succeed in this business at ML, a bank, Indy, or a
regional.  It really does not matter because in all rests on you,
not your firm.  You should just make sure your firms culture and
platform can fit the type of business you would like to build.

xmsbroker's picture
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rightway wrote:The program I run has over 80% success rate over the last 3 years.  I have seen POA's team up with Sr FA's, work together in groups on seminars and networking, and go solo.  WHy do they succeed?  Its because of themselves, far more than their situation...but they don't come in fresh with everything in place.  We meet weekly for 1 1/2 hours covering prospecting, product/planning, and business management.  I breed a culture of acknowledging this career as much more than what 90% of these posts describe it as.  I encourage them to open any account they can, regardless of size to get experience; as all ML FA's are paid on EVERYTHING for the first year and the cut-off for getting no comp at all is $50,000, NOT $250,000.  Their marketing and efforts should be directed at $100,000 plus however.  How do they get clients?  They cold call, do seminars, network, and specialize.  They do ALL of this every single day.  They organize their day and track activities and success (all of which I teach).  Then they focus more time on the activities they are getting the most success.  I have seen them get published, get asked to be guest speakers, open 5 mil plus relationships, and 1 get a 15 mil 401k.  Nearly all of the POA's in my region have graduated, are on track to graduate, and will continue to do so.  The ones that don't have the attitude displayed out here on so many of these posts.  We hire right and work very hard to instill a culture that is positive, exciting, fun, and disciplined.You can succeed in this business at ML, a bank, Indy, or a regional.  It really does not matter because in all rests on you, not your firm.  You should just make sure your firms culture and platform can fit the type of business you would like to build.
this is a good post.  a lot has to do w/ the specific branch
 

fired?'s picture
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Scorpio you have a very naive view of the way business works. Your desire to have someone mentor you and groom you for success is naive and foolish. If that is your desire, perhaps you should have signed on as an intern. Do you think that associates in Investment Banking or law have "senior bankers" hold their hand till they are experienced? No, they do grunt work and have to prove themselves. An NYU MBA is only going to provide you with the opportunity to work hard and prove yourself. There is a reason 60% of associates at top-law firms fail after three years (WSJ two weeks ago). It is the same as the reason 66% of rookie advisors fail. Laziness and a sense of entitlement. If your serious about being an advisor, stop complaining and work harder and smarter. Please don't come on a message board after 90-120 days on the job and discuss a career you know absolutely nothing about. It's disrespectful to everyone on the board that diligently works on their clients behalf.     

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fired? wrote:Scorpio you have a very naive view of the way business works. Your desire to have someone mentor you and groom you for success is naive and foolish. If that is your desire, perhaps you should have signed on as an intern. Do you think that associates in Investment Banking or law have "senior bankers" hold their hand till they are experienced? No, they do grunt work and have to prove themselves. An NYU MBA is only going to provide you with the opportunity to work hard and prove yourself. There is a reason 60% of associates at top-law firms fail after three years (WSJ two weeks ago). It is the same as the reason 66% of rookie advisors fail. Laziness and a sense of entitlement. If your serious about being an advisor, stop complaining and work harder and smarter. Please don't come on a message board after 90-120 days on the job and discuss a career you know absolutely nothing about. It's disrespectful to everyone on the board that diligently works on their clients behalf.     
while his view is a little naive, this is a horrible comparison.  in fact there really is no comparison bw being a broker and being a lawyer. 60% of associates at top law firms do not fail after 3 yrs.  they quit for quality of life reasons and most of them continue practicing law for a smaller firm that doesnt require 80 hour work weeks.  failed brokers and those who quit dont migrate to wirehouses where the hours are better.
likewise, ibankers and associates may not have their hand held but they do have consistent work.  all they have to do is do it.  there is a lot more structure.  you cant simply expect to 'work hard' and bring in $40mm in 3yrs.
 

fired?'s picture
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xmsbroker you are 100% incorrect. Lawyers and "brokers" careers are extremely similar. More so than you could ever imagine. You will never, ever, make partner at a prestiguous las firm without exhibiting an ability to bring in clients. NEVER. Failed brokers and those who quit don't work at wirehouses because they can't. Many of them leave for careers at Scottrade, Banks, or small independent shops. Again, very similar to a lawyer. Finally, lawyers that work at small law firms won't make significant money unless their name is on the door or if their doing personal injury which most law school graduates claim they will never practice.

Investment banking associates will never get consistent work unless they prove themselves by crunching numbers that no-one will ever look. Many of them are expected to compute complicated IRR computations by hand when they can easily be done using an HP calculator. It is a horrible existence for the first few years. Do you think that IB associates walk in the first day and are given the keys to the google account? Get real.

The only difference is law firms and Invesment Banks are more reluctant to fire new hires after 12 months because of the higher salaries they are paid. They know who is going to be successful after 3-6 months, just like in retail.

What does a branch manager care about firing some disgruntled rookie making $25-30,000? Most of the kids on this board need to learn more about business before running your idiotic mouths.

WealthManager's picture
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rightway wrote:The program I run has over 80% success rate over the last 3 years. 
Thank you for posting one of the most insightful replies that I have seen.  These forums seem to be filled with a fair deal of noise from people who I doubt will make it far in the business.  It’s the signal provided by people like you (and others) that makes it worthwhile to continue using these forums as a resource for information.
<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 
I’m not an expert, but an 80% success rate seems extremely high.  What is the average success rate?  How much of the success do you attribute to screening before hire and how much do you attribute to the culture?  I would think that culture is the main driving force, but I could also see that filtering out the negative people ahead of time helps keep the momentum.
 
I’ve been putting more thought into how I will attract clients.  I feel that the majority will be though my network but I do plan to also focus on independent business owners.  Cold calling feels like a dirty term since I personally would never buy anything from someone who just calls me out of the blue.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t use it as a tool, especially one to gain experience from and to try new approaches out on.  What types of resources are there for warm calling?  Are you allowed to prospect existing clients who are being handled only by the call center and may have additional funds to bring to ML?
 
 I didn’t mean to sound like a snob with the 250K client minimum.  I was actually using that to say how I enjoy the latitude that ML gives.  I’ve spoken to Goldman and JP Morgan.  Their minimums are $10 and $5 million.  It is interesting to hear that clients as low as $50K are allowed.  I though they anything under 100K would go to the call centers.
Thank you!

Scorpio's picture
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Wealth Manager-

I wish you good luck and I hope you make a great salesman. 

Scorpio's picture
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BTW, the "noise" as you call it on these forums is also worthwhile
information because its reality.  If it were absent from these
forums, you would be disillusioned.

xmsbroker's picture
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fired? wrote:xmsbroker you are 100% incorrect. Lawyers and "brokers" careers are extremely similar. More so than you could ever imagine. You will never, ever, make partner at a prestiguous las firm without exhibiting an ability to bring in clients. NEVER. Failed brokers and those who quit don't work at wirehouses because they can't. Many of them leave for careers at Scottrade, Banks, or small independent shops. Again, very similar to a lawyer. Finally, lawyers that work at small law firms won't make significant money unless their name is on the door or if their doing personal injury which most law school graduates claim they will never practice. Investment banking associates will never get consistent work unless they prove themselves by crunching numbers that no-one will ever look. Many of them are expected to compute complicated IRR computations by hand when they can easily be done using an HP calculator. It is a horrible existence for the first few years. Do you think that IB associates walk in the first day and are given the keys to the google account? Get real. The only difference is law firms and Invesment Banks are more reluctant to fire new hires after 12 months because of the higher salaries they are paid. They know who is going to be successful after 3-6 months, just like in retail. What does a branch manager care about firing some disgruntled rookie making $25-30,000? Most of the kids on this board need to learn more about business before running your idiotic mouths.
First of all, I'm not sure why youre so adamant about the 'similarities,' its okay for brokers to be different than dr.s, lawyers, and bankers.  Brokers enjoy more freedom and sacrifice some security.  As do most salesmen, brokers theoretically have unlimited upside but make far less at the mean and medians.  There is also a far greater barrier of entry in law and even IB.  
The definition of 'Lawyer' is too broad to compare to 'Broker.'  SOME lawyers do have similar careers to brokers.  However, not the ones you referenced w/ the WSJ article.  Personal injury, malpractice, dui, etc. lawyers that hang their own shingle share some similarities in that they have to scrap and build up clients.  Everyday they could find a good client and double their income or lose a client(s) and be hungry.   They are more in control of their paycheck and have the potential to get rich very quickly.  However, most do not and many struggle.
This is a world away from the corporate lawyers you originally refered to - those referenced by the WSJ who work 'Biglaw.'  The market salary for 1st yr law associates at the top firms is $145k + bonus.  Associates work very long hours and often do mundane work.  They do not bring in clients nor are they really even allowed to solicit (that distinction alone makes your comparison foolish).  Lawyers that leave these top firms rarely go from biglaw to personal injury.  There are thousands of firms in b/w who are dying to take associates w/ Watchell on their resume.  The hours are a lot better and the chances of partner much greater.  while the upside is less than Watchell, they still make a couple hundred grand.  Its laughable that you compare this to the transition of a failed ML broker -> Scottrade rep (making $26k).
Yes, you have to work hard in any profession.  No law is not easy or glamorous most of the time.  Obviously I know that IB analysts dont 'have the Google' account day one.  These are not revelations you have uncovered.  We all know work is tough and generally tougher in the beginning.  There is no need to draw blind comparisons bw different professions when there are plenty of other sales professions that are better examples.     

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xmsbroker, you are flat-out wrong. A UMich and Yale educated lawyers recently worked in my office, and my significant other is also an attorney. They had associate positions at Reed-Smith and Houston Harbaugh. I conceded that the salary is much higher, but the mundane nature of the job is similar in the beginning. Everyone focuses on the sales aspect of the job. If you want to be a salesman please go sell shoes or become a drug rep. I've been able to raise $25 million in three years and I can't sell anything. Make of that what you will.   

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Last thing, the big firms don't make you solicit at first, but you have to get a client if you want to make partner. Trust me.

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fired? wrote:xmsbroker, you are flat-out wrong. A UMich and Yale educated lawyers recently worked in my office, and my significant other is also an attorney. They had associate positions at Reed-Smith and Houston Harbaugh. I conceded that the salary is much higher, but If you want to be a salesman please go sell shoes or become a drug rep. I've been able to raise $25 million in three years and I can't sell anything. Make of that what you will.   
I know full well what im talking about.  My dad and sister are lawyers for vault 50 firms and i was a broker for 4 years...
"the mundane nature of the job is similar in the beginning."
That is way too vague.   You could apply that statement to virtually any 2 jobs on the planet.  However, the differences b/w prospecting and working on documents are vast and generally suit different types of people.       
"Everyone focuses on the sales aspect of the job.  If you want to be a salesman please go sell shoes or become a drug rep."
Thats because it is a sales job.  Its okay to sell stuff.  You sound ashamed to be a salesmen.  Even most kool-aid drinkers acknowledge that 'FA' or 'wealth advisor' or whatever is sales position.  Why do you think this site is called Registered Rep?  Why are you measured on production (sales) rather than the alpha, beta, or rho of your clients' portfolios?  
 

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fired? wrote:Last thing, the big firms don't make you solicit at first, but you have to get a client if you want to make partner. Trust me.
That is often (not always) true.  you certainly will have to at least inspire faith that you can soon bring in money, but that scenario is unlike being a broker and needing to put numbers up day 1.  By that point a lawyer has 3 yrs of industry schooling and 7+ years of work exp.  In fact, that scenario is similar to the 10 yr broker training plan that someone suggested but you were completely against.  I agree that a 10 yr broker grooming/training program is not going to happen

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There are sales aspects to every job in business. Production, aka revenue, is relevent to every business. Advisors that only embrace the sales aspect of the job are not going to be successful in the business 10-15 years from now. Yes, you must generate revenue, but it shouldn't come from trying to sell, sell, sell. It should come from thoughtful planning and implementation. Lawyers working on the minutia in a document and advisors working thru a cold-calling list aren't similar? I beg to differ, they are both thankless jobs that do not yield results until much farther down the road. Estate planning attorney's receive the majority of their trust documents from the National Assocation of Estate Planning Attorney's. Any lawyer will tell the documents are the easy part. The difference between a lawyer and an advisor is in the barriers to entry. The big firms simply hire too many advisors. Most fail and come to these forums to disparage the industry.     

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fired? wrote: I've been able to raise $25 million in three years and I can't sell anything.    
What are the key factors to your success?  What areas do you target?
 

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fired? wrote:There are sales aspects to every job in business. Production, aka revenue, is relevent to every business. Advisors that only embrace the sales aspect of the job are not going to be successful in the business 10-15 years from now. Yes, you must generate revenue, but it shouldn't come from trying to sell, sell, sell. It should come from thoughtful planning and implementation. Lawyers working on the minutia in a document and advisors working thru a cold-calling list aren't similar? I beg to differ, they are both thankless jobs that do not yield results until much farther down the road. Estate planning attorney's receive the majority of their trust documents from the National Assocation of Estate Planning Attorney's. Any lawyer will tell the documents are the easy part. The difference between a lawyer and an advisor is in the barriers to entry. The big firms simply hire too many advisors. Most fail and come to these forums to disparage the industry.     
"I beg to differ, they are both thankless jobs that do not yield results until much farther down the road."
Wrong again.  As youve already agreed with, law associates at top firms get paid $145k+.  Id say thats a more than fair thanks.  And they arent scrounging to find the work.

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I love my career.  

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Wealth Advisor my clients are 85% physicians and the remainder are professionals in a variety of different fields. The largest client is $5 million. The top-5 clients account for approximately $10-12 million. My methods were networking, referrals, cold-calling, exceptional service and most importantly luck and hard work. The luck was a result of the hard work.

xmsbroker, only the top 1% of law school grads get jobs at top firms and 60% of them fail. Do the math, very few lawyers make $100k out of law school. The average is between $40-60k. You have no idea what you are talking about.

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Associates don't fail after 3 years, they are pushed out, to make room for a new associate freshly out of law school.  Law firm partners need worker bees, the type of people who will work 80 hours a week typing briefs and doing research, alone, for $60k a year.  After 3 years, you have too many miles on you, and you are starting to feel entitled to a raise.  Out you go.

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fired? wrote:xmsbroker, only the top 1% of law school grads get jobs at top firms and 60% of them fail. Do the math, very few lawyers make $100k out of law school. The average is between $40-60k. You have no idea what you are talking about.
WOW, I can't believe we have a debate on the starting salaries and working conditions of young lawyers, people on this board will argue about anything.
fired?, as an exlawyer I have to say that your views on the profession are not terribly accurate.  I graduated from a law school that has never cracked the top 25 (I think 26 was its best showing on the US News rankings, but it usually bounces around somwhere in the 30's) and everyone in the top third of my class, and a fair number of those in the top half, got jobs at top firms - and by "top" I mean those firms paying $125,000 plus to first years, the top of the market when I graduated. 
Also, your comparison of our job with that of lawyers is pretty far off base.  Partnership at most firms is a 7-10 year track.  During the first half of that, work is handed to you (or more accurately, forced on you).  No client development on your part is expected.  It isn't until you become a mid-level or senior associate (years 5+) that this becomes an issue.  And despite your assertions, there are plenty of partners that never bring in clients - they are called service partners.  Of course that is its own kind of hell, because without clients you have no job security. 
As a lawyer, you spend the first part of your career working on cases/deals sourced by others and learning the craft.  Only much later do you start to develop your own clients.  In this profession, it's just the opposite.  You are expected to bring in clients from day one or you are fired, and there is no such thing as a "service" broker that has no clients but makes the big bucks.
 

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Good post Lawsucks. 

Just think about the autonomy you have in this profession compared to
what Lawsucks described.  If you can manage to get good at
bringing in clients, you make more money than 1-5 year lawers with
total freedom.  after that your income just goes up and up and
your flexibility with time gets bigger and bigger. 

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lawsucks wrote:
fired? wrote:xmsbroker, only the top 1% of law school grads get jobs at top firms and 60% of them fail. Do the math, very few lawyers make $100k out of law school. The average is between $40-60k. You have no idea what you are talking about.
WOW, I can't believe we have a debate on the starting salaries and working conditions of young lawyers, people on this board will argue about anything.
fired?, as an exlawyer I have to say that your views on the profession are not terribly accurate.  I graduated from a law school that has never cracked the top 25 (I think 26 was its best showing on the US News rankings, but it usually bounces around somwhere in the 30's) and everyone in the top third of my class, and a fair number of those in the top half, got jobs at top firms - and by "top" I mean those firms paying $125,000 plus to first years, the top of the market when I graduated. 
Also, your comparison of our job with that of lawyers is pretty far off base.  Partnership at most firms is a 7-10 year track.  During the first half of that, work is handed to you (or more accurately, forced on you).  No client development on your part is expected.  It isn't until you become a mid-level or senior associate (years 5+) that this becomes an issue.  And despite your assertions, there are plenty of partners that never bring in clients - they are called service partners.  Of course that is its own kind of hell, because without clients you have no job security. 
As a lawyer, you spend the first part of your career working on cases/deals sourced by others and learning the craft.  Only much later do you start to develop your own clients.  In this profession, it's just the opposite.  You are expected to bring in clients from day one or you are fired, and there is no such thing as a "service" broker that has no clients but makes the big bucks.
 

thank you

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rightway wrote:Good post Lawsucks.  Just think about the autonomy you have in this profession compared to what Lawsucks described.  If you can manage to get good at bringing in clients, you make more money than 1-5 year lawers with total freedom.  after that your income just goes up and up and your flexibility with time gets bigger and bigger. 
Exactly why I got out.  I didn't mind that there was a lot of grunt work in the early years - we all have to pay or dues.  But when I started noticing how many partners were siting next to me in that windowless conference room on a Saturday afternoon, I realised that there was no end to the treadmill. 

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fired? wrote:Wealth Advisor my clients are 85% physicians and the remainder are professionals in a variety of different fields. The largest client is $5 million. The top-5 clients account for approximately $10-12 million. My methods were networking, referrals, cold-calling, exceptional service and most importantly luck and hard work. The luck was a result of the hard work. xmsbroker, only the top 1% of law school grads get jobs at top firms and 60% of them fail. Do the math, very few lawyers make $100k out of law school. The average is between $40-60k. You have no idea what you are talking about.
Are you always this ornery or just when youre defensive and know youre talking out of your a$$? 
First of all,  far more than "1%" of all law school grads get jobs at top firms.  I love it when people throw out arbitrary percentages as fact.  Virtually everyone at the top 15 or so schools can have a 'top' job if they want it.  Those schools alone account for ~10-15% of all law grads.  So your 1% claim is automatically wrong by at least a factor of 10.  And as Lawsucks pointed out, the top 1/4 - 1/3 grads of schools in the top 30 or so can get these jobs.
Secondly, that assertion is really neither here nor there.  I never made any statements about ALL law grads.  You brought up the WSJ article which only applies to the top grads and the top firms.  Why are you suddenly making statements about all law school grads/firms?   This is irrelevant.  Obviously if someone goes to law school at Western New England College they are going to have a hard time getting a good job.

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Courtesy of the US Department of Labor:

Earnings [About this section] Back to Top

In May 2004, the median annual earnings of all lawyers were $94,930. The middle half of the occupation earned between $64,620 and $143,620. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of lawyers in May 2004 were as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises $126,250
Federal Government 108,090
Legal services 99,580
Local government 73,410
State government 70,280

Median salaries of lawyers 9 months after graduation from law school in 2004 varied by type of work, as indicated in table 1.

Table 1. Median salaries of lawyers 9 months after graduation, 2004 Type of work Salary
All graduates
$55,000

   
Type of work
   
Private practice
80,000
Business/industry
60,000
Judicial clerkship and government
44,700
Academe
40,000

   
Source: National Association of Law Placement

Salaries of experienced attorneys vary widely according to the type, size, and location of their employer. Lawyers who own their own practices usually earn less than those who are partners in law firms. Lawyers starting their own practice may need to work part time in other occupations to supplement their income until their practice is well established.

Most salaried lawyers are provided health and life insurance, and contributions are made to retirement plans on their behalf. Lawyers who practice independently are covered only if they arrange and pay for such benefits themselves.

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fired? wrote:Courtesy of the US Department of Labor: Earnings [About this section] Back to Top In May 2004, the median annual earnings of all lawyers were $94,930. The middle half of the occupation earned between $64,620 and $143,620. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of lawyers in May 2004 were as follows: Management of companies and enterprises $126,250 Federal Government 108,090 Legal services 99,580 Local government 73,410 State government 70,280 Median salaries of lawyers 9 months after graduation from law school in 2004 varied by type of work, as indicated in table 1. Table 1. Median salaries of lawyers 9 months after graduation, 2004 Type of work Salary All graduates $55,000     Type of work     Private practice 80,000 Business/industry 60,000 Judicial clerkship and government 44,700 Academe 40,000     Source: National Association of Law Placement Salaries of experienced attorneys vary widely according to the type, size, and location of their employer. Lawyers who own their own practices usually earn less than those who are partners in law firms. Lawyers starting their own practice may need to work part time in other occupations to supplement their income until their practice is well established. Most salaried lawyers are provided health and life insurance, and contributions are made to retirement plans on their behalf. Lawyers who practice independently are covered only if they arrange and pay for such benefits themselves.
 
what is your point?

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The point is it is very rare for an entry-level attorney to make six-figures plus. Fact is a number of law specialties are very similar to the career of a financial planner. Most of the posters on this site are simply brokers and salesmen, not financial planners. That is the final point. I will never post on this forum again.

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Please forgive me if I try to steer this thread back onto the original topic.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
Ok, I’m progressing in my interview process with ML.  I am now scheduled for a ½ day assessment/simulation.  Part of my job is to prepare a 15-minute presentation (without electronic presentation materials) to pitch an IRA geared towards small business owners.  Can anyone offer any insight or suggestions to this phase?
 
Partly (and thankfully) due to these forums I’m facing the grim reality that I will likely be taking a pay cut if I am to accept this position.  While that annoys me to no end, I’m not necessarily deterred from pursuing this career path.  What do the experienced players see as being the critical success factors?  How long should I expect to wait until I’m making the $140K per year that my peers are making?  (Assuming that I’m in the NY metropolitan area and that I am able to make the hurdels)
 
In these forums I’ve heard that the success rate for new FAs ranges from as low as 10% to as high as 80%.  What is everyone’s feeling as to the correct success ratio. 
 
I’m not overly concerned with the success ratio but my feeling is that the culture of the office plays a key role.  How big of a part is culture when compared to individual drive/determination?
 
Thank you!

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WealthManager wrote:
Please forgive me if I try to steer this thread back onto the original topic.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Ok, I’m progressing in my interview process with ML.  I am now scheduled for a ½ day assessment/simulation.  Part of my job is to prepare a 15-minute presentation (without electronic presentation materials) to pitch an IRA geared towards small business owners.  Can anyone offer any insight or suggestions to this phase?

Partly (and thankfully) due to these forums I’m facing the grim reality that I will likely be taking a pay cut if I am to accept this position.  While that annoys me to no end, I’m not necessarily deterred from pursuing this career path.  What do the experienced players see as being the critical success factors?  How long should I expect to wait until I’m making the $140K per year that my peers are making?  (Assuming that I’m in the NY metropolitan area and that I am able to make the hurdels)

In these forums I’ve heard that the success rate for new FAs ranges from as low as 10% to as high as 80%.  What is everyone’s feeling as to the correct success ratio. 

I’m not overly concerned with the success ratio but my feeling is that the culture of the office plays a key role.  How big of a part is culture when compared to individual drive/determination?

Thank you!

Good lawd, why do you feel the need to post in BOLD AND BIG LETTERS????

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