Starting with MSSB

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MBA2FA's picture
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I'd like to thank everyone who gently encouraged me not to take a job with EDJ.  Yes, I am eating my words.  After careful consideration, I decided to rescind my Jones offer even without a guaranteed backup plan in place.  For me, I think the "recipe for success" would have been a "recipe for disaster"Fortunately, I just got a call today with an offer from MSSB.  While both firms have their merits, (and are as different as night and day), I feel I am a much better fit with MSSB.  I must say that I am quite glad that I had the opportunity to interview with both firms, thus providing me with a basis to compare each opportunity.I some ways, Jones offers more freedom and in other ways MSSB does.For example, Jones has a proven system as to the best way to grow your business.  There is plenty of debate as to how manadatory adherence is, but nonetheless, the company wants people to do many things a specific way.  At the same time, Jones FA's enjoy incredible autonomy and an extremely flat management structure.  It seems Jones wants FA's to feel like they are running their own small business.With MSSB, you have to show up to a big, fancy branch office and regularly answer to "da man" because you pass him in the hallway every day.  Just by the nature of logistics, they have a much closer eye on what you are doing (the office isn't really big enough to hide in).  My BM told me he is a big stickler for monitoring my activity.  At the same time, they had me complete a business plan which led to great discussions on how I want to structure my business.  I was challenged to create unique and creative ways to build my business.  It was not good enough to say I would call my contacts, create lists, ask for referrals, cold call, etc.  They really wanted out of the box thinking.I will refrain from making predictions about my success or failure.  I just know that this is a very exciting opportunity and I am extremely optimistic about the future.  I think my chances of success are considerably better with MSSB than EDJ (I am referring to myself and nobody else).I guess it's time to put my money where my mouth is and start studying for the 7.

Mike Damone's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-01

Good luck to you and keep us posted.

voltmoie's picture
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Give us the specifics on your offer? Salary and for how long? What are the production expectations?

ohbrother1's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-30

That's awesome news - I've been keeping up with your posts.  I'm in the same boat - I just completed the background and credit check with MSSB after a few interviews and testing. 
 
I'm also curious about your base and production requirements as well - would also like to know about whether you are starting on a team or on your own.  Thanks!

bluewire's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-04

Congrats and best of luck!
 
Out of curiousity, did you interview at a legacy MS office or legacy SB office?

fa09's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-03

Not sure how comfortable you are with posting salary and production requirements on here but a PM would be appreciated to compare apples to apples :-)

fa09's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-03

Oh and as was mentioned... all the best and keep us posted! (Preferably in less than 7 paragraphs. Just kidding)

MBA2FA's picture
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By popular demand.... I'll give you a little more info on the offer.  It is with a former SB office.  During the interview, I used my impending EDJ start date to but a fire under the MSSB guys.  It was kind of a double edged sword.  I made it through the entire process with MSSB (from first interview to offer) in less than two weeks, but they based my compensation on Jones (very low) compensation.  They figured that if I was willing to work for Jones, why should MSSB offer a great deal more?Anyway, MSSB offered me a starting salary 1.5 times that of Jones.  Jones salary extends to 12 months in production while MSSB keeps me at full salary through 24 months of production and then gradually declines declines.Both companies have extra bonus opportunities for the new guys.  With MSSB, you can earn about $35k extra in the first three years as well as over $100k in deferred compensation over the first five years.The minimum goals with MSSB are laughable.  I could basically open one account every other month and still keep my job.I have no idea if everything is different for the former MS branches of for FA's being hired on a team.  I love the environment of my branch office and I am very excited to hit the ground running.  They gave me a very nice office with plenty of room to spead out.  I have several small children running around my house all day.  I don't think I could have ever survived working out of my home with Jones.

BerkshireBull's picture
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MBA2FA wrote:By popular demand.... I'll give you a little more info on the offer.  It is with a former SB office.  During the interview, I used my impending EDJ start date to but a fire under the MSSB guys.  It was kind of a double edged sword.  I made it through the entire process with MSSB (from first interview to offer) in less than two weeks, but they based my compensation on Jones (very low) compensation.  They figured that if I was willing to work for Jones, why should MSSB offer a great deal more?Anyway, MSSB offered me a starting salary 1.5 times that of Jones.  Jones salary extends to 12 months in production while MSSB keeps me at full salary through 24 months of production and then gradually declines declines.Both companies have extra bonus opportunities for the new guys.  With MSSB, you can earn about $35k extra in the first three years as well as over $100k in deferred compensation over the first five years.The minimum goals with MSSB are laughable.  I could basically open one account every other month and still keep my job.I have no idea if everything is different for the former MS branches of for FA's being hired on a team.  I love the environment of my branch office and I am very excited to hit the ground running.  They gave me a very nice office with plenty of room to spead out.  I have several small children running around my house all day.  I don't think I could have ever survived working out of my home with Jones.

What are the minimum goals and what are your goals?  Have you decided what types of products you want to specialize in?

SB0807's picture
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The minimum is the "absolute" minimum. The BOM can decide at anytime to can you if he/she thinks you aren't gonna make it.
Good luck sir and keep us posted.

MBA2FA's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-01

My goals (subject to change/modification) right now are as follows:Year 1: $75k Production and $10MM AUM ($4MM Fee based)Year 2: $150k Production and $20MM AUM ($8MM Fee Based)Year 3: $225k Production and $30MM AUM ($12MM Fee Based)I'm working on my prospecting/marketing plan now, but I'd be lying to you if I claimed I have it all figured out where I'm going to get the business from.I want to focus on the pre-retirement/retirement market, but don't most people?  I see a lot of opportunity focusing on 401(k) rollovers.  I have also though about trying to become "Baby BondGuy"  He seems to be doing quite well (on the other hand, he would do well in any area).What type of specialization has the most opportunity?  I don't want to be too broad or too narrow when I say, "I do this....."  I like working with HNW professionals like doctors, but don't necessarily want to focus just on them.  Are the investment needs of a doctor significantly different than a chemical engineer?  I have no clue.  Maybe I'll be able to tell you in a few years.

voltmoie's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-05

I agree, 10mm AUM in today's market?  That's tough to do for a new guy, I think.  Especially since MSSB has account minimums.  You might want to re-think those 401k rollovers or put a good plan in place to target those.  I've personally only seen two rollovers 150k plus so far since folks seemed to be MUCH more aggressive than needed in these plans.  Lots of money in CDs and MMs though.  I am raiding the cookie jar on my local MSSB guy.  This dude has about the whole town in just 1 mutual fund.  C class.  No diversification.  Guy in the top ten list for my state in production.  Guess it was easy to pitch?Good luck ... you better come out running and gunning.

BerkshireBull's picture
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voltmoie wrote: I agree, 10mm AUM in today's market?  That's tough to do for a new guy, I think.  Especially since MSSB has account minimums.  You might want to re-think those 401k rollovers or put a good plan in place to target those.  I've personally only seen two rollovers 150k plus so far since folks seemed to be MUCH more aggressive than needed in these plans.  Lots of money in CDs and MMs though.  I am raiding the cookie jar on my local MSSB guy.  This dude has about the whole town in just 1 mutual fund.  C class.  No diversification.  Guy in the top ten list for my state in production.  Guess it was easy to pitch?Good luck ... you better come out running and gunning.

What did you pitch his clients?  A-shares?

3rdyrp2's picture
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MBA2FA wrote:My goals (subject to change/modification) right now are as follows:Year 1: $75k Production and $10MM AUM ($4MM Fee based)Year 2: $150k Production and $20MM AUM ($8MM Fee Based)Year 3: $225k Production and $30MM AUM ($12MM Fee Based)
 
$10 million assets and $6 million is non-fee based, and the production goal is only $75k?  You planning on putting that $6 million in cash to pay for the fees on the other $4 million or something?  I'm trying to guess how $10 mil of assets will convert to that little of production.  Although you are at the point still where you have no clue what pays you what.

fa09's picture
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Whats the grid like there?

3rdyrp2's picture
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iceco1d wrote:Those goals don't look like a walk-in-the-park to me (except the fee-based AUM bogey)...
 
No kidding, if he can get it as a 1st year advisor then I'll stick my size 14's in my mouth, but if he gets a client per week they must average $200,000 in assets to reach $10 mil by years end. 

MBA2FA's picture
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Perhaps a year from now I'll look back on these goals and say, "What was I thinking?"  For now, I want to be unrealistic as long as I can.  When I started out in pharma, I set ridiculous goals and achieved them.  As I look back, I would never set such impossible goals if I knew then what I know now.Based on what I know, these goals are highly aggressive.  My BM thinks I can do it.  Perhaps he's ignorant, or just blowing smoke.  It's just nice to have someone believe it you.  It's nicer when that person is your boss.The good thing about these goals are... even if I only perform at 50% of these numbers, I will still have a job.

SometimesNowhere's picture
Joined: 2008-12-22

MBA2FA wrote:Perhaps a year from now I'll look back on these goals and say, "What was I thinking?"  For now, I want to be unrealistic as long as I can.  When I started out in pharma, I set ridiculous goals and achieved them.  As I look back, I would never set such impossible goals if I knew then what I know now.Based on what I know, these goals are highly aggressive.  My BM thinks I can do it.  Perhaps he's ignorant, or just blowing smoke.  It's just nice to have someone believe it you.  It's nicer when that person is your boss.The good thing about these goals are... even if I only perform at 50% of these numbers, I will still have a job.
 
Do those numbers include mortgages? I had a friend at Merrill that had similar goals, but they included mortgage...

gb0413's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-21

i just purchased my series 7 study materials online today....looks like we are in a very similar boat.  I'm not with MSSB but another firm very similar in structure.  I've basically been told by my BM that he will be keeping an eye on me and as stated in an earlier post, will be able to detirmine if i will make it or not.  Opening up enough accounts fast enough is really one of my only few concerns going into this business.  I'm confident in my product and i'm a very hard worker, I just need to come up with a plan to pitch enough prospects.  Actually more than enough prospects!
 
Good luck to you, it'll be interesting to hear how it turns out

eman07's picture
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If you want a marketing/business development plan, read Tested in the Trenches right now.

Squash1's picture
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First of all those goals don't seem that easy... $200K/week good luck with that.. Second of all "Tested in the Trenches" is terrible and if you don't believe me i will sell you mine for $10..
 
What was your "out of the box" business plan.. hard to believe there are any left..

voltmoie's picture
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BerkshireBull wrote:voltmoie wrote: I agree, 10mm AUM in today's market?  That's tough to do for a new guy, I think.  Especially since MSSB has account minimums.  You might want to re-think those 401k rollovers or put a good plan in place to target those.  I've personally only seen two rollovers 150k plus so far since folks seemed to be MUCH more aggressive than needed in these plans.  Lots of money in CDs and MMs though.  I am raiding the cookie jar on my local MSSB guy.  This dude has about the whole town in just 1 mutual fund.  C class.  No diversification.  Guy in the top ten list for my state in production.  Guess it was easy to pitch?Good luck ... you better come out running and gunning.

What did you pitch his clients?  A-shares?
 
Service

Greenbacks's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-21

Correction it is not MSSB it is CIti-Morg.

Contrary to what they say, they did not join the to firms together for the benefit of the clients, they did it because they could not manage the firms assets.   <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 130 years
 
Good luck at the morg!

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I agree Volt.  I pitch philosophy, process and service.  I have a unique process and philosophy (it's actually not all that unique, I think I just communicate it well to prospects).  In this market, you MUST project some sort of differentiating factor to prospects (even if it's not all that unique).  You can't just be like all the other FA's out there (gee, look at this Hypo.  It lost less than the market last year....).  And actually, my conservative philosphy saved a lot of people last year.  I have many retired clients that are almost back to even from the high point in 2007.

SB0807's picture
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MBA2FA wrote:My goals (subject to change/modification) right now are as follows:Year 1: $75k Production and $10MM AUM ($4MM Fee based)Year 2: $150k Production and $20MM AUM ($8MM Fee Based)Year 3: $225k Production and $30MM AUM ($12MM Fee Based)I'm working on my prospecting/marketing plan now, but I'd be lying to you if I claimed I have it all figured out where I'm going to get the business from.I want to focus on the pre-retirement/retirement market, but don't most people?  I see a lot of opportunity focusing on 401(k) rollovers.  I have also though about trying to become "Baby BondGuy"  He seems to be doing quite well (on the other hand, he would do well in any area).What type of specialization has the most opportunity?  I don't want to be too broad or too narrow when I say, "I do this....."  I like working with HNW professionals like doctors, but don't necessarily want to focus just on them.  Are the investment needs of a doctor significantly different than a chemical engineer?  I have no clue.  Maybe I'll be able to tell you in a few years.
 
FYI to those are who are unfamiliar with the MSSB productions standards, the ones he is referencing is the top tier goals to get the quarterly and year end 25k stock bonus.

chief123's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-28

So do you have to hit both to get the bonus?
 
What percentage of people actually hit that?

SB0807's picture
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3rdyrp2 wrote:MBA2FA wrote:My goals (subject to change/modification) right now are as follows:Year 1: $75k Production and $10MM AUM ($4MM Fee based)Year 2: $150k Production and $20MM AUM ($8MM Fee Based)Year 3: $225k Production and $30MM AUM ($12MM Fee Based)
 
$10 million assets and $6 million is non-fee based, and the production goal is only $75k?  You planning on putting that $6 million in cash to pay for the fees on the other $4 million or something?  I'm trying to guess how $10 mil of assets will convert to that little of production.  Although you are at the point still where you have no clue what pays you what.
 
 
10MM in assets and you expect more production? Gotta remember you don't have those assets for the entire year. Assuming 1% ROA and having 10MM the entire year you're only at $100k. Considering the firm ROA is somewhere between .60-.70, I think 75k is still tough to get in the first year even with the assets.
 
If you're running a fee based book there's no way to get the total production, that's why MSSB allows you to do two out of three (total assets, total fee based, total production).

chief123's picture
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So commission is not what they are looking(no A shares)?
 

3rdyrp2's picture
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SB0807 wrote:3rdyrp2 wrote:MBA2FA wrote:My goals (subject to change/modification) right now are as follows:Year 1: $75k Production and $10MM AUM ($4MM Fee based)Year 2: $150k Production and $20MM AUM ($8MM Fee Based)Year 3: $225k Production and $30MM AUM ($12MM Fee Based)
 
$10 million assets and $6 million is non-fee based, and the production goal is only $75k?  You planning on putting that $6 million in cash to pay for the fees on the other $4 million or something?  I'm trying to guess how $10 mil of assets will convert to that little of production.  Although you are at the point still where you have no clue what pays you what.
 
 
10MM in assets and you expect more production? Gotta remember you don't have those assets for the entire year. Assuming 1% ROA and having 10MM the entire year you're only at $100k. Considering the firm ROA is somewhere between .60-.70, I think 75k is still tough to get in the first year even with the assets.

 
That was my question.  He says $10mm but only $4mm is fee based.  What is the other $6mm going into?  With $6mm going into something thats not fee-based, assume he's getting 2% on that money (the net pay of me assuming $3 mil goes into cash products that he gets 0% on and $3 mil going into A shares, annuities and other stuff he averages a 4% upfront hit on).  If he averages 2% on $6mm thats $120,000 production, then the fee-based stuff on top of that should get him no less than $150,000.  Unless the payout on products at MSSB is MUCH less than I would think.

svm21's picture
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A couple months ago I read a Havard Business School Case Study on Edward Jones. Among many other things it provided pay outs percentages of the brokerage houses. Edward jones was in the top two for three out of five production levels. Smith Barney-Morgan Stanley were under 35% in a one or two, and I beleive at one level it dipped below 30%. So take what you will from that. $10 million in 1 year?! Jesus I hope to get 10-15% of that my first year at Jones.

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svm21 wrote:A couple months ago I read a Hazard Business School Case Study on Edward Jones. Among many other things it provided pay outs percentages of the brokerage houses. Edward jones was in the top two for three out of five production levels. Smith Barney-Morgan Stanley were under 35% in a one or two, and I beleive at one level it dipped below 30%. 
 
Then they were using bogus pay-out schedules. There's no production level below $250k (for vets) that isn't above the lowest number you cited.

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svm21 wrote:A couple months ago I read a Hazard Business School Case Study on Edward Jones. Among many other things it provided pay outs percentages of the brokerage houses. Edward jones was in the top two for three out of five production levels. Smith Barney-Morgan Stanley were under 35% in a one or two, and I beleive at one level it dipped below 30%. So take what you will from that. $10 million in 1 year?! Jesus I hope to get 10-15% of that my first year at Jones.
10-15% of that?  Dude, you better find something else to do if you think that small.  I'm 15% of that three months in without an office and screwing around half the day.  Money is out there to be had, you just have to keep asking for it.  10k. 40k, 100k .. it's all the same to me.If I find someone with cash and a slight interest I'm seriously like a stalking ex-girlfriend. Calling them all the time, driving by their house hoping to see the car in the drive-way so I can stop by, sending them stuff in the mail.  It's a sick obsession .... I LOVE YOU MONEY!

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Dude, I'm fresh out of college. I know what the Barron's Top 100 advisor's produce, I know what the EDJ's reps in my region produce( top guy $200 million AUM), I knew what the NWM reps made in my office, but besides that.....yea I'm pretty clueless to what amount of AUM a Edward Jones Rep is supposed to have 1st year. As for thinking small? Jesus, I can honesty say your the first person to have said to me, ever. I've been called everything in the book besides that. wow, just wow. So, what should I am for my first year. $5 million, $7 million? I mean want to be above average, but I have no idea what the avg is for a 1st year guy.

chief123's picture
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I think an average for Jones starting is $4MIL yr 1..

voltmoie's picture
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svm21 wrote:Dude, I'm fresh out of college. I know what the Barron's Top 100 advisor's produce, I know what the EDJ's reps in my region produce( top guy $200 million AUM), I knew what the NWM reps made in my office, but besides that.....yea I'm pretty clueless to what amount of AUM a Edward Jones Rep is supposed to have 1st year. As for thinking small? Jesus, I can honesty say your the first person to have said to me, ever. I've been called everything in the book besides that. wow, just wow. So, what should I am for my first year. $5 million, $7 million? I mean want to be above average, but I have no idea what the avg is for a 1st year guy.
Don't "wow" me, son.  If you are so clueless go ask some of those reps. in your region what to expect and then set your personal goals.  My personal goal is 7mm 1st year with 2mm in advisory solutions. No idea if they are low or high but some type of target is better than none, at least for me.

Moraen's picture
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I think you both should clarify. First "producing" year. Or first year. There is a training period. My can sell was in the middle of October, and I only brought in $700k my first calendar year.

chief123's picture
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I think the assumption here is first producing year. $7MM is a decent goal and a good number.. around $585K per month or $150K/week. If you are able to do that I would increase your advisory or use C shares in part of the other $5MM you are planning to bring in..

voltmoie's picture
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That's good advice, thanks.  This is a stupid question but do we still get paid 12b1 fees on C shares?  My goals are based on a rolling 12 month period that started after I got my can sell.

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voltmoie wrote:

svm21 wrote:Dude, I'm fresh out of college. I know what the Barron's Top 100 advisor's produce, I know what the EDJ's reps in my region produce( top guy $200 million AUM), I knew what the NWM reps made in my office, but besides that.....yea I'm pretty clueless to what amount of AUM a Edward Jones Rep is supposed to have 1st year. As for thinking small? Jesus, I can honesty say your the first person to have said to me, ever. I've been called everything in the book besides that. wow, just wow. So, what should I am for my first year. $5 million, $7 million? I mean want to be above average, but I have no idea what the avg is for a 1st year guy.
Don't "wow" me, son.  If you are so clueless go ask some of those reps. in your region what to expect and then set your personal goals.  My personal goal is 7mm 1st year with 2mm in advisory solutions. No idea if they are low or high but some type of target is better than none, at least for me.LAWL!!!  You're up, at 'em, and loaded for bear this morning aren't you?

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voltmoie wrote:That's good advice, thanks.  This is a stupid question but do we still get paid 12b1 fees on C shares?  My goals are based on a rolling 12 month period that started after I got my can sell.
 
Seriously???

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Sorry I can have the depth of knowledge you do.  I'm pretty sure 12b1's are paid but really have no idea, hence my question.  Can you take me under your wing and show me the world?

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chief123 wrote:voltmoie wrote:That's good advice, thanks.  This is a stupid question but do we still get paid 12b1 fees on C shares?  My goals are based on a rolling 12 month period that started after I got my can sell.
 
Seriously???How we get paid can be one of the most confusing things for a new broker to learn, and the funny thing is the less you worry about getting paid the more you will get paid.  It's embarrassing to admit but for the first 6 months I was in the business I thought B shares paid the broker nothing upfront and a 1% trail for 7 years before turning into A-shares.

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voltmoie wrote:
Sorry I can have the depth of knowledge you do.  I'm pretty sure 12b1's are paid but really have no idea, hence my question.  Can you take me under your wing and show me the world?
 
That would be a 1% trail GDC per year, Voltmeister, with .25% paid quarterly.

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voltmoie wrote: Don't "wow" me, son.  If you are so clueless go ask some of those reps. in your region what to expect and then set your personal goals.  My personal goal is 7mm 1st year with 2mm in advisory solutions. No idea if they are low or high but some type of target is better than none, at least for me.
 
Are you in Seg 2 already? When is your goal for seg 3? How much/how many clients do you have in Adv. Sol. so far? For first year goals that's agressive, but I think doable... now I have to re-think my own goals...

millionairemind's picture
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75K year 1 not easy and there is no way you will hit that on 1 account every 1.5 month

lucky7's picture
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Similar situation to you.  I have been interviewing at MSSB and EDJ.  Got call should have offer at MSSB tomorrow.  Not sure what to expect.  Is it true that you don't get any comp in under 100k household account?  I know things will be very tough but looking for better understanding how comp, bonuses, etc. factored.  I am definitely leaning toward MSSB over EDJ but think concerned if will end up getting small accts initially and they won't even count.  Is comp generally all based on AUM?  Seemed like that is what goals on business plan were but then prior poster talked about additional fee based breakdown etc?  How is training with MSSB to pass 7 etc.?

Squash1's picture
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Having worked at EDJ, I would say go with MSSB.

svm21's picture
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If you think you can get $10 million aum in your first year in the business, then go for it. If not EDJ. 

SB0807's picture
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lucky7 wrote:
Similar situation to you.  I have been interviewing at MSSB and EDJ.  Got call should have offer at MSSB tomorrow.  Not sure what to expect.  Is it true that you don't get any comp in under 100k household account?  I know things will be very tough but looking for better understanding how comp, bonuses, etc. factored.  I am definitely leaning toward MSSB over EDJ but think concerned if will end up getting small accts initially and they won't even count.  Is comp generally all based on AUM?  Seemed like that is what goals on business plan were but then prior poster talked about additional fee based breakdown etc?  How is training with MSSB to pass 7 etc.?
 
75k is the minimum household size for non-fee based accounts. 25k-75k you'll get paid if the assets are fee based (wrap platforms, c-shares, trail paying annuity, etc). Under 25k you get nothing. However, FA under five years this does not apply. You can get paid on everything but it encourages you to not take small stuff.
 
As far as Series 7. You got two months to study, and you are expected to do nothing else. You get one shot or you get canned.

lucky7's picture
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Thanks so much for the insight.  This is very helpful detailed info.  Is this industry standard or info specific to MSSB Reach for Excellence program? 

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Joined: 2009-06-01

Well, I'm almost a week in, so maybe I can add a little more insight.  The pass rate for the series 7 at MSSB is 95%.  I have been studying like a madman... it's great so far.A few thoughts on the branch.  I think this is a million times better thank Jones (for me anyway).  Wholesalers bring by lunch almost every day.  It's nice because I can leave my private office (notice I say office, not basement), for 20 minutes, learn about some new products, get a free lunch and get back to work.  There are several veteran advisors around all day to answer questions and bounce ideas off of.I really love the resources the firm provides as far as marketing materials, cold call scripts, email and mail templates, drip campaigns, etc.  Plus, they have really cool products for the HNW crowd (alternative investments, hedge, private equity, etc).There are two new FA's that are about 6 months in production and I know that one of them hasn't sold squat!  He complains about how hard things are and how bad the market is... he works from about 8-6:30 or so... and I have only seen him on the phone twice (his office is right next to mine).I have been working from about 7-7 each day and I can say that I am usually the first to arrive and the last to leave.  If anyone washes out at my branch, I can say laziness is a big factor.  Usually the place is pretty empty by 5:30 or 6 PM.  I undertand the veterans don't have to work much, but it's amazing to see the newer guys go home so early.Well, so far I have been averaging about 96% on my Series 7 quizzes, but I don't want to leave anything to chance, so I better get back to work!

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