VALIC vs. JP Morgan Chase

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RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Previously, I worked for a wirehouse being brand new to the business in a new area for about 1.5 years.   I am now looking at an FA opportunity at both VALIC and Chase.  Clearly, they're two different types of FA roles, both of which are different than my role as an FA at the wirehouse.  I'm looking for some honest opinions / feedback from the community.  I'll briefly outline below what I like / dislike about each opportunity:VALICLikes: Flexibility (work from home), Full Benefits (as a W-2), Income Potential ($18K base year 1 + $50K residuals + commission on new sales), Captive Client Audience (mostly Teachers), Boss (seems very reasonable).Dislikes: Company Name (is it STILL a big deal?), not being able to receive $ amount of inherited book of business in writing (told 750-1,000 clients and $50K in residuals, guaranteed, but I doubt they'll put it in writing).CHASELikes: Company Name, Work Environment (out of bank branch vs. wirehouse w no prospects), People/Team Environment.Dislikes: Working every other Saturday, seemingly high-pressure environment, people typically want to go in/out of bank and probably aren't as receptive to talking to an FA.Benefits for both firms seem comparable.  Not sure if there are things I'm not considering or any other major do's/don'ts to be aware of before accepting an offer.  VALIC seems to have rec'd a bad rep on here, but I'm wondering if things have changed at all recently.  Any honest feedback would be sincerely appreciated.  Thanks. 

blackcat's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-26

With VALIC its all about 403b and variable annuity's, maybe not the best option for the clients. Clients will be better off working with a fund family that is approved in the district and avoid the M & E's. I think this  is something you cant do working for VALIC.My guess is you would be better of at the bank. You would have more options available for your clients. 

BigFirepower's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-09

There are several banks out there, many of them hiring. I'd really try to check out a few more, and do not overlook the smaller banks, regionals. You will find a much friendlier, lower pressure situation, and less of what you've rightly described as concerns.Better to be a big fish in a small pond, especially early in your career.

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Offers have been extended and I need to make a decision - quickly.  I haven't had the best luck with other banks.  This one seems like one of the best banks to work for if I go that route, in my opinion.  I've never been big on VAs, but that doesn't mean they don't make sense in certain situations.  I feel like there will be much more pressure at Chase than VALIC.  VALIC offers flexibility, which I like greatly, but I'm not so sure if it looks as good on the resume.  Ya know?

BigFirepower's picture
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Rick, I sent you a PM. 

RickRoss's picture
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If an FA inherits a book of business (VALIC), is it truly impossible/not common practice for them to put in writing either the amount (range) of assets you would receive or the amount or residual income you will earn on the book?  I'm being told $50K in residuals.  I'm having a hard time believing this.

BigRed's picture
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I am a Client Service Associate (male) with J.P. Morgan Private Wealth Management in Chicago.  I would much rather be a Financial Advisor in the Chase Tower branch than doing what I do now, the problem is they won't hire me cause I am in support.  I would love the opportunity to work for CISC (especially because that branch isn't open on the weekend) but thats just me.

RickRoss's picture
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Posted under the rookies section.  Same name on there: RickRoss.  Thanks in advance for your insight and help.

squash2's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-09

Chase over Valic.. Don't even think twice.. Sure JPM is a bank platform, but Valic is sitting inside teacher lounges all day and hoping they don't shrink you territory..

feebasedrep's picture
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Joined: 2008-12-31

Is Chase a salary, or draw with commission. In my own circumstance of looking at banks it seemed that a draw/salry of about 25K plus commissions was the standard in Virginia/MD region....but I could be off base. These were for branch based roles as an FA as opposed to Private Banking.Anyone out there offered a straight salary, or is it mostly commission based from the get go in banks?  

squash2's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-09

Normally 3-6 month ramp up with small base then al commission.. Not difficult job, banker referr to you. Just have to coach tellers and personal bankers on what you are looking for... Payout is low but no active prospecting involved...so that is the trade off.. 

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Chase is $3K / month forgiveable draw for months 1-7.  $2K / month forgiveable draw for months 8-18.  So, $31K 1st yr.I think I'm going to go with VALIC.  I know there's a lot of negativity out there, but the people seem great, the offerings relatively comprehensive, and if you're good at what you do, I would think sitting in a teacher's lounge is, in a sense, a gold mine.   No?Chase = 10+ hour days.  Saturdays.  Pressure.  Micro-management.  Oh, and get this, no vacation time.  There's no PTO.  Just paid LOA after you actually produce.  B.S.!

gettingstarted's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-25

RickRoss wrote:Chase is $3K / month forgiveable draw for months 1-7.  $2K / month forgiveable draw for months 8-18.  So, $31K 1st yr.I think I'm going to go with VALIC.  I know there's a lot of negativity out there, but the people seem great, the offerings relatively comprehensive, and if you're good at what you do, I would think sitting in a teacher's lounge is, in a sense, a gold mine.   No?Chase = 10+ hour days.  Saturdays.  Pressure.  Micro-management.  Oh, and get this, no vacation time.  There's no PTO.  Just paid LOA after you actually produce.  B.S.!VALIC sounds like a pretty good deal RickRoss - how did you find them or did they find you? 

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Both, actually.  Tell me what you like about VALIC over Chase.  I agree with you, but I'd like to hear your side.

gettingstarted's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-25

RickRoss wrote:Both, actually.  Tell me what you like about VALIC over Chase.  I agree with you, but I'd like to hear your side.Well -  I agree with some that  a bank gig could be good, but I REALLY agree with why you think VALIC = lifestyle.  It's important to me.  I also disagree that teachers is a crap market.  I used to be one for one...  Second, they all have spouses...  I know tons of teachers (Females) that have husbands that make six figures+ and they have 401k's, rollovers, parents, in laws, etc...  I see the teacher as just an "in", a prospecting step in other words.  Just because they do $100 a month in their  403(b) doesn't mean they suck.  Ask about their husband/wife, parents, etc...  My 2 cents...

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Couldn't agree more.  Thanks for the insight.

squash2's picture
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Wife: "Hey honey i met this guy in the lunch room today at my school who says he can work with us and YOUR 401K"Primary Bread Winner: "Yeah... ok.... why is he sitting in a teacher's lounge all day?"Wife: "I am not sure, but he is with this company AIG VALIC... heard of them ?"PBW: " Yeah i think they got $85 billion in bailout money because of how the handled their investments"Wife "WHAT?"PBW: "I will stick with my wirehouse/bank that only got $25 billion... or the RIA who didn't get any or the indy" 

RickRoss's picture
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SeneyTwo's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-18

RickRoss-Wondering if your still pleased with your decision?I am currently a 1 year indy whose been struggling and approached by both VALIC and Chase.  Expenses and personal obligations are why I am considering a change.  My book has been growing slowly, but I don't know that I can hold on and continue to have my family suffer...due to my chasing the Indy dream.  Prior to becoming indy I was successful in bank and credit unions, but as was mentioned the entire book does not move with you, some will follow while others are dedicated to the institution....my dilemma is should I stay or should I go and if I do choose to go which is the better of the the two evils. Looking for some honest advice.

blackcat's picture
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Joined: 2010-03-26

SeneyTwo, I'm in a similar situation. Left old firm to go Indy, took some clients but not enough to live on. My feelings were stay with company be more rooted and never leave, or make the move and go Indy. Went Indy with not much planning and preperation since management became aware of my intentions. My opinion is Indy is better in the long run. Chase is lesser of the two evils, and with VALIC your only investment options for clients will be Annuity's. If you leave VALIC probly wont take any clients with you and with CHASE more investment options and a better chanc of taking clients with you if you go Indy again. Stick it out or go with Chase. Just my thoughts.

SeneyTwo's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-18

Thanks for the insight,.

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

You'll hear different opinions on this forum, obviously, which is why you're here.  My list of pros/cons between Chase / VALIC:Chase - Pros: Name recognition, access to banking clients and all their financial information (of what they have at Chase, not necessarily all-inclusive), team-oriented environment, great benefits.  Cons: Micro-management, working every other Saturday, call nights 1x/week, most branches open until 6pm, people there to bank (not invest), inability to take clients with you when you leave (bank owns the book, not you; you will sign agreements stating you cannot take / solicit clients for 1 year after you leave or they will come after you).VALIC: Pros: Work/Life Balance, more relaxed environment, inherited book of business (existing participants in existing 403B plans), easier time prospecting for add'l assets based on existing relationship with VALIC as 403B provider - trusted, great benefits.  Cons: Lack of communication b/w people in the organization (although this happens everywhere), "too much" flexibility in your work schedule (only a bad thing if you don't/can't manage your time well), takes several weeks to get clients transferred over to your rep# initially, they can adjust your territory as they see fit, very difficult to take existing clients with you as VALIC's transfer out process is quite involved. To blackcat's point, yes, there is a focus on annuities being an insurance-based firm; however, there is also a managed platform where you can put people in wrap accounts, handle individual brokerage accounts, etc., just like you could at a bank or a wirehouse.

SeneyTwo's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-18

Thanks.

SeneyTwo's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-18

Thanks.

SeneyTwo's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-18

Thanks.

brobot's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-19

iceco1d is a career Valic agent he can answer all your question.

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

Hey Rick, I am taking a look at both Chase, Valic, and starting out as a indy.  I have been an advisor in the past but have been wholesaling for the last 3 years.  Looking at making a change and came accross this thread.Any new thoughts??

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

Go to Chase if you enjoy micromanagement and low pay.Go to VALIC if you enjoy freedom with the ability to make a lot of money.Can't comment on going Indy.  I can say that if you're unsure, it's probably not the right move for you.

BigFirepower's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-09

Rick, you sound like you are pleased at Valic. Good for you, glad it's working out for you.

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-14

I have noticed many postings in the paper for VALIC. They are SunLife now I believe and was American General and then AIG right? Rick Ross, you have to give more details because these guys have a bad reputation in my area. As for JP Morgan Chase, I guess it all depends. Jamie Diamond runs a tight ship. Very impressive but I have no clue if it trickles down to the individual FAs.

hh99's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-18

I'm a licensed banker with Chase and the FAs at my branch do not work Saturdays. They did maybe one or two Sats when they first joined the company but that's it.

They seem to have a lot of flexibility as far as their schedules, but I suppose it's all relative. Bankers have practically none.

I rarely see an FA after 5pm even though we're open til 6pm. Don't let people scare you.

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

They also probably make only $50K / year. 

hh99's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-18

RickRoss wrote:They also probably make only $50K / year. 

Nah....our new guy isn't great but he still made 90-100k last year. Guys in nicer areas do better.

I think he could do more for himself instead of relying on our referrals so much, but that's between him and his manager!

(I'm trying to decide whether or not to go for an FA position w/ Chase...which is part of the reason I've been reading these forums lately)

RickRoss's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-14

VALIC is also a great way to be able to do both 403(b) business on the VALIC side, as well as brokerage business, wrap accounts, etc., on the brokerage side, a.k.a. Valic Financial Advisors (or VFA).  Makes it a great way to prospect existing clients who have group accounts on the VALIC (annuity platform) side and still be able to compete w other firms w/o having to shit slam people into an annuity that are used to a mutual fund platform.  Just my two cents.

Bureaucrat's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-09

I'm at Chase and make more than 50k ;)I work every Saturday, go to every call night, and show up at 830 am and leave at 620pm.  I cover 3 branches and flip CDs into funds all day long... 401k rollovers fall into my lap often enough... existing book is slowly getting moved to managed money... old annuities are slowly getting 1035'd... referrals via email from bankers and branch manager... no high pressure micromgmt...It's not that bad of a gig :)

RickRoss's picture
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Bureaucrat wrote:I'm at Chase and make more than 50k ;)I work every Saturday, go to every call night, and show up at 830 am and leave at 620pm.  I cover 3 branches and flip CDs into funds all day long... 401k rollovers fall into my lap often enough... existing book is slowly getting moved to managed money... old annuities are slowly getting 1035'd... referrals via email from bankers and branch manager... no high pressure micromgmt...It's not that bad of a gig :)

I work when I want, make calls when I want, and do what I want. I make $100K+. I usually decide not to work Saturdays, unless I feel like it. I am not trapped by four walls. My name is Rick Ross.

RickRoss's picture
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RickRoss wrote:Bureaucrat wrote:I'm at Chase and make more than 50k ;)I work every Saturday, go to every call night, and show up at 830 am and leave at 620pm.  I cover 3 branches and flip CDs into funds all day long... 401k rollovers fall into my lap often enough... existing book is slowly getting moved to managed money... old annuities are slowly getting 1035'd... referrals via email from bankers and branch manager... no high pressure micromgmt...It's not that bad of a gig :) I work when I want, make calls when I want, and do what I want. I make $100K+. I usually decide not to work Saturdays, unless I feel like it. I am not trapped by four walls. My name is Rick Ross.+1

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