Morgan Stanley's Reach for Excellence

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wadsworth's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-27

Hi! I am new to this forum but I have read many of the posts.  They were very helpful.  I am considering transitioning into this field but had several questions before jumping in.  I have read that about 80% or 90% fail in this particular training program.  If it matters any, I am young professional located in Texas.What can I expect from Morgan Stanley's Reach for Excellence training program?  I have applied to be a financial advisor in their Global Wealth Management department. 

  • Will there much training in sales or other tools for being a successful advisor?  Or is is more about their products?
  • How long does the training last?
  • Do you get much time to study for the tests at work, or do they expect you study on your own time?
  • When do you have to take the tests?
  • How long do you have to work for MS in order to not be pursued for training fees should you decide to leave?
  • Does MS provide any lists of people for prospecting?
  • How does MS encourage new FA's do to get business?  Is it more your personal network or cold calling?
  • What is the typical number of hours a new FA can expect to work?
  • What can I expect my salary to be for the first two years, approx $40K?

I know this is a long list of questions.  I really do appreciate your help, even if you only have time to answer a few questions.Many thanks!!

doberman's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-22

These are questions you should direct to Morgan Stanley. Ask the Branch Manager to lunch and grill him/her. Asking these questions will only help your chances at getting hired, if you want the job.
In fact, these are questions you should ask every prospective B/D employer.
However, leave off the question about the recovery of training fees, should you leave early. It's better form to ask for a copy of the employment contract, should your interview process progress that far. In the contract, will be the terms of the dollar amount and length of time you have to be employed before they attempt to recover their training fees.
Good luck! 

Cowboy93's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-10

Will there much training in sales or other tools for being a successful
advisor? Or is is more about their products?
   Much about tools, process, etc....some about products, but not as much
as their used to be

How long does the training last?
    Two months after you take the 7 until production, then you considered
in the RFE program for years in production; salary usually for 18 mos
after going into production

Do you get much time to study for the tests at work, or do they expect
you study on your own time?
    you study at work...about the only thing you do for awhile I think

When do you have to take the tests?
   two months after you're hired

How long do you have to work for MS in order to not be pursued for
training fees should you decide to leave?
   I agree don't ask...assume 3 years or so though; they generally don't
come after you (even though they could) unless you move to a competing
firm and try to take cilents

Does MS provide any lists of people for prospecting?
probably not

How does MS encourage new FA's do to get business? Is it more your
personal network or cold calling?
    whatever works...which way they point you depends partially on branch
manager/sales manager, etc

What is the typical number of hours a new FA can expect to work?
   from 40/week up to as many as you want or need to....if you treat like it
you are an entrepenuer as you should, probably be around 50-60 hrs
week

What can I expect my salary to be for the first two years, approx $40K?
probably reasonable, but I believe it is only for 22 months total (4 mos
before production and 18 mos during)

wadsworth's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-27

Thank you, Doberman and Cowboy93, for your help.  I really appreciate your time and insight.  I have a few more questions with regards to the following statement:
"How long does the training last? Two months after you take the 7 until production, then you considered  in the RFE program for years in production; salary usually for 18 mos after going into production"
Are you not paid a salary during the first two months of training?
What does "in production" mean?  
Thanks again for your help.  Your posts have been quite informative; I appreciate it! 
 
 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

wadsworth wrote:


  • Will there much training in sales or other tools for being a successful advisor?  Or is is more about their products?
  • How long does the training last?
  • Do you get much time to study for the tests at work, or do they expect you study on your own time?
  • When do you have to take the tests?
  • How long do you have to work for MS in order to not be pursued for training fees should you decide to leave?
  • Does MS provide any lists of people for prospecting?
  • How does MS encourage new FA's do to get business?  Is it more your personal network or cold calling?
  • What is the typical number of hours a new FA can expect to work?
  • What can I expect my salary to be for the first two years, approx $40K?

Regarding training--much will depend on the branch you're in.  Some branches offer extraordinary training others not so much.  Additionally it will depend on how you come across--don't be arrogant and don't be shy about asking for help.  The firm has no vested interested in seeing you fail.
Training is a lifelong challenge.  Your formal training will probably last about four months due to an NYSE rule that requires that you cannot have public contact for 120 days after your date of hire.  Exactly when you sit for the various exams is somewhat flexible, generally they should all be completed around the 90th day after hire so that the last thirty days of your 120 can be devoted to intensive product and procedure training.
You will be given plenty of time to study at work.  It's really all they can use you for, although some managers may have you raise money for a charity to get you accustomed to cold calling.  Other managers may have you actually cold call for a licensed broker--taking care to not imply that you are registered.  "Mr. Johnson, my name is Norm Newbie from Morgan Stanley.  I am calling to invite you to a seminar......" or something similarly benign.  Sometimes the new kid is treated much like a fraternity pledge--if that happens where you are go along with it as much as you can, it will help you bond with those who will be invaluable as mentors in the coming years.
It is very unlikely you'll be given many, if any, meaningful leads.  That is the universal problem that everybody who ever picks up the phone faces.  It is my opinion that the phone is the most intimidating instrument on earth--it's demoralizing as well.  After a long day of having people hang up on you, scream at you, or worse it's damn tough to remain upbeat.  Be like the kid in the old joke with the punch line, ".....there has to be a pony in here somewhere."
If you work less than 50 to 60 hours a week for the first several years you probabaly won't make it.  Let everybody in your social circle know that you're going to appear to be one rude SOB, but that you have to do it so that later you can be the life of the parties that you'll be having at your house.
Stay away from family and friends as clients for at least a year.  You're new and are going to stumble, say stupid things, make mistakes and so forth.  Better to do that with strangers.  You'll be on salary for 18 to 24 months--it's going to be tough to not call your rich Uncle or that friend of your father's because you're wanting to show the manager some numbers.  I've been a manager and I'd rather see you talking to strangers--tell me about that uncle and tell me you're going to leave him alone for a year so that you don't blow it.  I'll understand and mentally give you credit for something that will come in later.
Finally regarding salary.  $40 certainly is reasonable, but be prepared to engage in a discussion that is slanted to determine why you need what you need.  If you come across as being capable of getting along on next to nothing I'm likely to see you as a slacker who I am not interested in hiring.  On the other hand if you come across as somebody who needs more than I think you can reasonably expect to be paid at your age and family situation (married?  kids?) you'll come across as a loose cannon and probable future problem for me and my branch.
Getting hired by a firm like Morgan Stanley is not easy--anybody who gets a job at a premier firm was 1 in about 5,000 resumes that were scanned into the HR computers.
Which is why if such a firm offers you a position you simply must take the first offer, and why so few of those who achieve the honor of being able to carry a major wirhouse firm's business card do not see the grass to be greener anywhere else.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Regarding the salary question.  Do everything you  can to not answer it.  Say something like, "I can't imagine that Morgan Stanley would be anything but fair" and stop talking.
The manager may offer you more than you'd ask for.

Cowboy93's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-10

Yes, you do get a salary from day one...I wasn't sure what you meant by "training."  As DA states, you are really "training" until you've been at this for several, if not many, years.  But you can open accounts, make recommendations, and invest people's hard earned money after 4 months....so you're not JUST "training" after that time; 2 months of which is after you've passsed the 7.  You're still in RFE (ie in the "training" program) for 2 years after you can open accounts, etc...that is more commonly known as being "in production."
Devil's posts above are very useful--read and re-read.  In particular, you are fooling yourself by pulling in family and close friends/acquaintances early on....if you do it, DON'T count them in your own evaluation of how you're doing.  You need to learn how to convert strangers (and referrals from your circle) into people who trust you with their life's savings.  Not easy, but learn fast and you'll be rewarded more than most people around.

pretzelhead's picture
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Joined: 2007-03-23

You learn something new everyday in this biz.  My old man has been doing this for 40 yrs and says the same. 
 

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