Sponsorship Question

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billybob13's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-28

I am a current professional looking to become a FA.  I would like to keep my current job while I am going through the licensing process.  I have done some research and it appears that Ameriprise would allow me to do this.  My question is, if I allow Ameriprise to sponsor me to get my series 7 license, can I then move onto a firm such as ML, UBS, SB for a FA position and complete my training?  My other concern is that if I go to ML, UBS, SB now and they sponsor me for the exam, if I don't pass it the first time I am out of a job, and I would have had to quit my current job in order for them to sponsor me.  I am very passionate about becoming a FA but have a young family and am trying to risk manage the situation.  Any thoughts.

OldLady's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-19

You basically have two choices:  1) go for broke, get hired for a quality firm's training program, bust your butt to be sure you pass the exam first time, and then give up 2-3 years of your life being one of the survivors who makes it to the 5 year point, OR 2) play around at becoming an FA: get hired by Ameriprise or some other second rate firm while keeping your day job; likely screw over your friends, family & contacts (because that's who they really want); and very likely washout (because you never gave it your all and you end up at a third-rate firm with a mediocre (at best) reputation.  In the best case scenario, you (and more importantly, your clients) survive, you learn the business (or at least try to), and at some point can move to a better firm or go independent.
 
Being licensed DOESN'T make you more attractive to firms -- it actually makes you LESS attractive (why would a winner not choose a winning firm?). 
 
You say you have a passion about becoming an FA.  Many people think they do, because they don't realize what the job entails.  Your focus on your family and managing the risk (just in the way you approached this forum) throws up a red flag to me that you won't make it now.  And please don't get me wrong -- I'm a firm believer people's families should come first.  But the way the business is now, your business would have to become your entire world (or very close to it) for at least two years, and most people it takes close to five years to clear the hurdles to have financial security in this profession. 
 
The best advice I can give you is to perhaps study for the CFP or CFA on your own time, pay down your debts and build up your savings, and then in 2,3,5, or 7 years, when you and your family are in a better position, re-examine if you want to make this your career.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

 I am very passionate about becoming a FA but have a young family and am trying to risk manage the situation.  Any thoughts.
 
How long can you go without income by living on savings, credit card, etc.?

billybob13's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-28

You guy's need to understand that I have almost not debt, and can afford to become a FA with little to no income while I build my book of business.  What I am trying to do is mitigate my risk of not passing the test the first time.  I am very intelligent, a very hard worker and can no doubt be a successful FA.  However, I am a very poor test taker.  With a top tier firm if I don't pass the first time I am left with nothing.  It's like putting your clients money into a stock just before earnings come out and you have no idea what is going to happen.  The bottom line is I need to know that if I get sponsorship either through Ameriprise or some other way.  Once I get licensed can I get a job at at top tier firm?  Thank you.

MISS JONES's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-28

billybob13 wrote:
You guy's need to understand that I have almost not debt, and can afford to become a FA with little to no income while I build my book of business.  What I am trying to do is mitigate my risk of not passing the test the first time.  I am very intelligent, a very hard worker and can no doubt be a successful FA.  However, I am a very poor test taker.  With a top tier firm if I don't pass the first time I am left with nothing.  It's like putting your clients money into a stock just before earnings come out and you have no idea what is going to happen.  The bottom line is I need to know that if I get sponsorship either through Ameriprise or some other way.  Once I get licensed can I get a job at at top tier firm?  Thank you.
 
Billy- In most cases the firm that sponsors you will want you to sign a contract. So to answer your questions.. You could transfer to another firm once that contract is up. (3-4 years) The problem you will have then... is.. Now you need to transfer all of your clients to your new B/D. Most on this board can tell you how difficult it is to transfer accounts out of Ameriprise.. They sure do make it HARD!
 
* My advice.. Start with a firm you will want to work for from the beginning to the end.
 
Hope that helps.
 
Miss J

norway401's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-16

From a person that is a soon to be " career changer " and having to go through the thought process you do have considerable things to ponder in making this move. In my current situation , I am a Branch Manager and have seen many people in the industry I am currently employed in think this job is a walk in the park. The stats are very similar in terms of retention rate.....after three years the starting group of ten has been narrowed down to 2 to 3 survivors.
My suggestion is if you do have the " passion " for this industry , you need to make the commitment to the industry. Your family will need to understand that you are going to be very focused for the next ie. two years. For the record , my experience in my particular business , the people that were unable to devote to the job usually end up either being discouraged ( quit ) or their production does not measure up and the company ( dehires ) the employee. Best put .... you are either in or out.

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

billybob13 wrote:I am a current professional looking to become a FA.  I would like to keep my current job while I am going through the licensing process.  I have done some research and it appears that Ameriprise would allow me to do this.  My question is, if I allow Ameriprise to sponsor me to get my series 7 license, can I then move onto a firm such as ML, UBS, SB for a FA position and complete my training?  My other concern is that if I go to ML, UBS, SB now and they sponsor me for the exam, if I don't pass it the first time I am out of a job, and I would have had to quit my current job in order for them to sponsor me.  I am very passionate about becoming a FA but have a young family and am trying to risk manage the situation.  Any thoughts.
 
To answer your question directly - no, you really can't get hired, sponsored, and trained by one firm, then move on to another.  As someone mentioned, choose the firm you want to stay with, and just make it happen.  If you can't pass the test at Merrill, why would you pass it at Ameriprise?  It's the same test.
 
Now, you can go and buy the study books ahead of time, study for six months, and decide if you think you can pass at that point.  If so, go apply at Merrill, UBS, EDJ, wherever, and take the test with them.  If you don't pass at that point, you will never pass it.  After 6 months of study, you will have a good idea if you can pass.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

billybob13 wrote:You guy's need to understand that I have almost not debt, and can afford to become a FA with little to no income while I build my book of business.  What I am trying to do is mitigate my risk of not passing the test the first time.  I am very intelligent, a very hard worker and can no doubt be a successful FA.  However, I am a very poor test taker.  With a top tier firm if I don't pass the first time I am left with nothing.  It's like putting your clients money into a stock just before earnings come out and you have no idea what is going to happen.  The bottom line is I need to know that if I get sponsorship either through Ameriprise or some other way.  Once I get licensed can I get a job at at top tier firm?  Thank you.To answer your 'bottom line' question in a word - no.  As an unlicensed trainee with Ameriprise or any firm, you will be required to sign a training agreement that stipulates if you leave within a certain period of time (usually 3 - 5 years) you will repay the firm for your training costs.  These costs will vary from firm to firm, but count on about $50-75K, often prorated down as you approach the end of your contract period.So in theory you COULD get licensed one place and then go somewhere else early on, but you'll be liable for a good chunk of change if you do, so it's certainly not a winning plan to rely on.Having said that, you're right to be wary of this career change, but you're really worrying about the wrong thing even if you are a poor test taker.  Passing the tests is not what causes people to fail in this business, it's an inability to attract enough clients with money quick enough.  Sure, the tests can be a pain and require some serious preparation, but obsessing about it is misplaced worry.  If you put in the work, you can pass.  Period.You should still worry, though, about how in the world you will convince lots and lots of people to trust you - with your lack of relevant experience - with their hard earned nest egg.  Now THAT is worth worrying over, and is the reason about 90% of new news are no longer around by the end of 5 years.  Not a test that the majority of takers pass.  Keep your eye on the ball.If you choose to get into this industry, go all in with what you think is the best firm.  The alternative may seem safer, but in reality it's only a straighter route to your next career change.

billybob13's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-28

With a firm such as Ameriprise I pay for my own training and materials for the series 7 exam.  So how is it possible to owe them money?  Technically with them I don't have a job until the offer me one after I pass the series 7.

MISS JONES's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-28

billybob13 wrote:With a firm such as Ameriprise I pay for my own training and materials for the series 7 exam.  So how is it possible to owe them money?  Technically with them I don't have a job until the offer me one after I pass the series 7.

 
I guess as long as they dont have you sign a contact then you shouldn't have any problems.. I would make real sure of this before you go ahead with it. If you do go this route then be very careful what you then say to ummm the new firm. You don't want them to get the impression that you used Ameriprise to just get a license.. They may sense that you have no loaylty (which you don't) and not hire you.. In this business loyalty is everything.. From your clients and from your firm..
 
Think it over. Double check you belief on the training expenses and then make the leap..
 
best of luck. Miss J

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