Valic - Compensation/Current Opportunity

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KYF 13's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-04

I have an interview with Valic tomorrow and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on questions to ask.  I have read many of the posts on here and other forums speaking negatively about Valic but most are atleast a couple years old.  Has Valic changed there practices or is this still a place to stay away from?Also, what is the current comp structure?  I have read first year 18k salary plus "trail" commissions from the book of business you are given.  Is this still correct and what is the average "trails" on the assigned books?  Does everyone receive similar size books or is there a large discrepancy?  Any suggestions on how to maximize the size of book I am given?   

njh_at_lfg's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-17

Valic (AIG), run, run, run away fast.  Unless you have a GED then it might be a great opportunity.

KYF 13's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-04

In my conversations today I was told it is typical for a Valic advisor to make 100k+.  Can anyone validate this?

Stockguy2011's picture
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Joined: 2011-03-28

KYF 13 wrote:In my conversations today I was told it is typical for a Valic advisor to make 100k+.  Can anyone validate this?That may be true, but you will never make more than that.  You will have 10,000 clients, most want nothing to do with you and will rollout at first opportunity.  It is basically a call-center job dealing with investments and ANNUITIES (no bingo).  Really depends what you are looking to get out of a career.I want 150 clients with a million each at 1%.  Not 10,000 with $3,000 each, making 25 bps.

njh_at_lfg's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-17

Recuriters are all going to inflate your projected income.  As a matter of fact I think you get a unicorn to ride to work and will begin shitting jelly beans once you sign the contract.  Please post an update 6 months in and let us know if your career is as the recuiter said, if you decide this is what you want to do.My juniors that work the teacher market love to see new Valic, Fidelity, and TIAA reps.  They make a good living stealing all their business. 

iceco1d's picture
iceco1d (not verified)

Stockguy2011 wrote:KYF 13 wrote:In my conversations today I was told it is typical for a Valic advisor to make 100k+.  Can anyone validate this?That may be true, but you will never make more than that.  You will have 10,000 clients, most want nothing to do with you and will rollout at first opportunity.  It is basically a call-center job dealing with investments and ANNUITIES (no bingo).  Really depends what you are looking to get out of a career.I want 150 clients with a million each at 1%.  Not 10,000 with $3,000 each, making 25 bps.Alright, most of this post is completely false.  I'm not at VALIC (although I do business with their independent channel), but they are a direct competitor of mine in the 403(b) marketplace (which is where I do most of my business).PROS OF VALICa)  No micro-management.  You'll likely work from home, with no one looking over your shoulder, and very few required meetings.b)  In the 403(b) marketplace, they are respected, and have payroll slots at almost every K-12 institution in the country.  They also have payroll slots at many universities, so you will have access to prospects that have some money.  You do not have to cold call if you don't want to, because you can keep yourself plenty busy working the 403(b) market.c)  You may inherit a book.  Most people have told me the book they actually get, is smaller than the book that was promised to them.  However, it's a book, nonetheless.  Keep in mind, you should be asking yourself, "what kind of broker left this book behind?"  More on this in the "cons" section.d)  Payout can range from 35 - 65%, I believe.   e)  You'll have constant "flow" coming in each month from payroll contributions, so very few "dry" months.f)  You won't face very many complicated cases.  Teachers have simple financial lives mostly.CONS OF VALICa)  Relatively limited product offering.  Sure they have a platform that clears through Pershing, but they really want you to sling their Portfolio Director TSA and adding their Guided Portfolio Services to it (fee based on a VA).  b)  You will have a shit load of clients.  At book maturity, probably 2,000 - 2,500 clients.  However, the idea that you won't make more than $100K a year is false.  My local VALIC captive rep has just under $100MM AUM and makes significantly more than $100K.c)  Your book will NOT be portable.  For one, with 2,000 clients, how would you logistically move them to another b/d?  Even if you tried, you have to move them to a b/d that has payroll slots with all (most) of the employers you're currently doing business with.  Finally, you'll have a very stiff non-compete.  If you go with VALIC, plan on retiring there, or starting almost completely over down the road.d)  They have an independent channel now, so basically any indy (including LPL) can use the same products as you, and use the payroll slots you've established in most of your schools.  e)  You'll be seen as unsophisticated by any of the traditional brokerages (ML, etc.), of course, most 403(b) reps are actually unsophisticated...if you're not, you can use that knowledge as a strength.That's about it for now.  PM me if you want to learn about what your life in the 403(b) marketplace would be like. 

series7taxguy's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-16

Everything icecold said is correct. The only addition I would make is that you will get jerked around on your payout. "Managers" at VALIC almost all get flow assets until they are assigned to a rep. Let's say you're coming on board at a certain time and promised 3 groups, a couple non profits and a school district, for example. This might be a couple thousand clients. The manager will continue to jerk you around to actually assign those to your rep number so you're there sometimes months. I confirmed this with a level of management above the district manager who was leaving for another firm due to her own irritation with a comp situation. In my Texas training, nearly everyone in the room said they'd experienced this. It's a commonly known bait and switch. You will get jerked around on the "flow."More than this, you will never actually own the flow anyway. Whenever the company finds it convenient in the recruiting process to bring on someone new, you're book will be pruned and sent to a new advisor. Sometimes this is just a perk for the friend of the manager. Either way, it's not your book. The bottom line is that you will not be building anything of your own. I've known a few people that have left and took no one with them. I personally didn't even try to go after the client base. You can't really move hundreds of $1,000 accounts, most of which have an outstanding loan.

Stockguy2011's picture
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Joined: 2011-03-28

I apologize for my exaggerations taken literally.  But of you both proved my point.  Work for Valic if:1) You want to be seen as unsophisticated ie. Salesman.2) You want to work with teachers. (How much do they make again?).  I run the other direction from Teachers.3) You want to sell a product and not your investment expertise.4)  You want to have "thousands" of accounts5) You want to be the Suckerfish in the ol' bait and switch.6) You don't wan to have your own clients - You'd rather be someone else's PIMP.Now that I re-evaluate things that sounds FANTASTIC.  KYF my first post was incorrect, upon further review this actually sounds like the opportunity of a LIFETIME!!!  Go get'em slugger.

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Those same "unsophisticated" reps at Valic make more than some of the bigshots at the wires.  Trust me, I know.

PushForward's picture
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Joined: 2011-04-07

For me, the part about not owning your book is the largest drawback. For me that would be a deal breaker. Building and owning your own book are fundamental to this business; owning your book is owning your independence.

series7taxguy's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-16

That will not happen at Valic. On any given day you may open your company issued laptop to see that one of the clients has been "reassigned."  Are they still witholding trails on competing products? That's usually not mentioned until you're there. You will be highly encouraged to sell proprietary, in part by a back office that will be even more incompetent than is already the case when a non-valic piece of business is submitted.

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Back office sucks, yes, you sacrifice owning your book and forego the independence piece, but all the other factors still hold true. 

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

KYF 13, what did you decide?

AnthonyK's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-13

I have been at VALIC for alittle over 2 years.  It's been great.   They gave me (right away) about 350 clients and 15,000,000 in assets. I also have places to go every single day to see people...yes, teachers....but teachers have money guys!  They are also married to small business owners.     Made 130K in 2011 and have full benefits...including a new penion plan AND a 40K with a big match.   I like all the other managers and advisors too.    

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