MSSB or ML: Cold calling vs. working network (older guy, pretty networked)

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Ptown's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-08

I am considering MSSB/ML and got offers of $75-80k base... older guy (37), career changer, top MBA in finance.  I have balked at doing it due to questioning whether I'd be a pu$$y on the phone as well.  I know I'd be better at selling a meeting vs. a product and look to build AUM not PCs.  Presumably PCs don't matter if you hit the other two thresholds... but is that true?  PCs are the actual revenue number.  Is it possible for an older person to take a more steady, polished approach?  I'd be able to bring about $2.5mm over immediately from family which would buy me some time, right?  Any thoughts would be appreciated on pacing yourself, etc.  I've read a lot of the BondGuy stuff and the 500 day war, etc.  While I would like to think I'd could do that, the fact that I have doubts leads me to believe I wouldn't do the requisite calls.  I've got a pretty big professional network.  Any thoughts on success of buying time with the immediate $$$ in the door and producing in a more organic matter.  I know a lot of people with money or that are service providers (lawyers, CPAs, etc.).

BudFoxofML's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-16

I moved over to ML only a few months ago and brought over around the same amount.  Mainly it depends on what you would put them into and what fees you would be charging.  In regards to building AUM and not PCs, I guess you can't have one without the other.  You just have to sit down and figure what you would feel comfortable with and what is appropriate.  But yes, PCs matter if you want a bonus. In regarding the cold calling vs. networking question, basically you just have to see what works best for you and see what sticks.  So I would not count out one or the other.  Its all just trial and error until you get something that works time and time again.

ricky32478's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-30

best advice....... pic a method of prospectings and stick to it relentlessly.  You seriously need to prospect like your addicted to it or you simply won't make it.  I just started production this month and It is way harder than I thought.  I also read the 500 day warrior and did my business plan around it and it seems a whole lot easier than it is.  I am doing well so far but I just wanted to give you some advice.    By the way, tell Merrill you want to make less that 75K because if you make more than 75K you have harder goals.  Not saying you can't make them but you might get fired otherwise.  If they give you an option say you heard that they base your goals on your salary (which they do). 

RockyFA's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-26

Location can play a roll in which works best for you.Which state will you be located in? -RFA

newregrep's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-22

From my understanding, working your network should be your 2nd year plan.  What happens to most guys with network is that, once they tap their resources, they are back to square one: Prospecting.  In my humble opinion, you should cold call and prospect first, at the same time create a brand new image for your current network as a financial advisor.  Mail them quarterly, give them a friendly call or a hand written letter with an article of interest.A letter should read something like "As you may recall from the announcement I sent you several months ago, I'm now affliated with ML/MSSB investments.  From time to time I will be sending you some material you might find of interest.  I hope you and your family are doing well" Quoted from Bill Good.This is a no-key campaign, which gives no pressure!  Attach an article of a good fund or changes in tax laws that might interest them or create an urgency.I wish you luck.

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

I agree with previous posts.  PCs matter just as much, if not more, than anything else.  I was ahead on the other two metrics, missed PC goal by about 2% (believe it or not), and was let go.  If my salary had been $5K less, I would have kept my job, received a bonus, etc.  Truly think about the advice given above about having them reduce your salary.  That just might be an added layer of safety for you in the long run.  Best of luck to you.

Ptown's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-08

All... thanks for the advice.  Any others with input would be welcomed.  The ML was at $75k... which puts me in that middle bracket.  Have people found that hitting minimums on PCs is sufficient if you are more of a top quintile in other categories?  I would hate to have a plan that I think is "safe" while looking more toward the long-term and then find myself kicked to the curb due to some draconian, herd culling, account grab by management.  I am pretty sure I can hit my numbers... "satisfactory - Tier3" at $1.8mm AUM and $30,000 trailing 12 at 12 months....If i can't, then I should be fired and would go broke anyway.  Is that 3rd tier really what matters or to you need to be 1st Tier "exceptional" to be safe:  $3.6mm AUM and $50,000.  I'd still be pretty weak if I can't do that is I am bringing family money (at a low fee) early... probably 75bps on fee based account, so only $18,500 in fees off that.

TopNotch's picture
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Joined: 2009-08-20

MSSB we were told we had to hit 2 of the 3 goals by the 9th production month.  Some hit those levels while others did not,  some stayed some were let go.  No real rhyme or reason but it seemed like the SB side was given more leeway .The only way to think you might be safe is to exceed all 3 goals, but if they are having a bad quarter adios anyway.

Flyonwall's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-25

You didn't mention what you are currently doing professionally, and how big of a step down in pay you would take to accept an FA trainee position.  I think that is important, because it seems to me that you are asking whether or not you should make the leap.  My advice would probably be, give it a shot.  If you can get by on the salary, and fail, and then go back to your previous industry without much of an issue, then you might as well try.  But only you know your situation. In my opinion, working through a trusted network is the easiest way to make it really big in this network.  Whether you bring that trusted network to the table at the outset, or develop it as you go along.  You mentioned having connections with CPAs and other COI, and that is the leverage point you can use to have business coming to you, instead of you having to find it.  It sounds like you have that potential ability, and you will hate yourself if you never give it a shot.  It is rare to find a career with unlimited earnings potential with such a good quality of life attached.

squash2's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-09

Ptown wrote:I am considering MSSB/ML and got offers of $75-80k base... older guy (37) is that older??, career changer, top MBA in financeDegrees don't matter in this business.. This is a sales job with a fancy title...  I have balked at doing it due to questioning whether I'd be a pu$$y on the phone as well If you are you better have deep pockets to fund seminars....  I know I'd be better at selling a meeting vs. a product and look to build AUM not PCs Well that is a strategy for failure...  Presumably PCs don't matter if you hit the other two thresholds... but is that true?  PCs are the actual revenue number.  Is it possible for an older person to take a more steady, polished approach?  I'd be able to bring about $2.5mm over immediately from family which would buy me some time, right? Why would you move family money?? If you fail it gets distributed to other advisors.. Bet that would create a rif in the family.. Any thoughts would be appreciated on pacing yourself, etc.  I've read a lot of the BondGuy stuff and the 500 day war, etc.  While I would like to think I'd could do that, the fact that I have doubts leads me to believe I wouldn't do the requisite calls.  I've got a pretty big professional network. You may have a big network, but why would they invest with a newbie?? Hey i know we bowl on thursdays and get drunk together, want to trasnfer your $500K ira to me so I can manage it... Experience? umm I started yesterday... Professional networks as someone mentioned before is something you lean on in years 2-5.. Once you aren't a newbie.. Same with family... Wouldn't commit my family's money to a firm I might not be at in 12 months..  Any thoughts on success of buying time with the immediate $$$ in the door and producing in a more organic matter.  I know a lot of people with money or that are service providers (lawyers, CPAs, etc.). You may know them but this is business, they aren't going to refer their clients they took years developing relationships to their "fishing buddy" who just started a new job and know nothing..Also wires aren't going to let you discount huge amounts just because people are family, especially with managed money there are breakpoints... so the idea of charging 75bps on your aunt's 50k ira is not really an option..Prospect first then bring over everything else once you made it in year 3..

Ptown's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-08

Thanks Squash2  very helpful realistic advice.  On the AUM vs. PCs comment, can you elborate?  Presumably, if I focus on AUM and tie it to a 100-200 bps fee, I hit my PCs if I hit my AUM goals... with some trading and insurance fees in there as well, right?  Am I missing something?

squash2's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-09

bump

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