Whats the best wirehouse/firm to start off in ex. training/base salary

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flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

Hi everyone, the names Geoff hows it going this is my first post here. Hope its not the last either. Just wanted to briefly explain my situation and story. Any input would be great!

 Im 23 yrs old and Ive been interning as a broker trainee for the past 8 months and have finally just passed my 7 and currently studying for my 63. I work at a little boiler room and basically I feel the future for this branch is bad. I really enjoy this job, and im not scared of rejection or constant cold calling, ive gotten many (we call Martindale hubbard law books and prospect wealthy lawyers) great leads already of rich prospects who are interested, but fear opening over the phone, but I know I can open a few of these guys if i catch them on a good day with a great idea.

Unfortantly the Brokerage Firm that I work for is just so unethical and full of bs, that I just don't see a future for myself here. On top of that new accounts arent being opened and my boss is losing alot of his clients money and just burning and churning the crap out of his clients (hes a great salesman). The 80's and 90's ways of selling over the phone like a hot shot wallstreet coke addict broker are over and my boss is a piker he's only opened up 2 new accounts in the past 8 months has only opened up maybe 2 new accounts, all of our equity and bond ideas reseach is tied down to a flashy sales pitch and there isn't any research around it. 100% of our business model is cold calling these lawyers hoping that we get an old attorney from the south who is sitting by his phone with his check book in his hand waiting for our call. I just hate my boss he isj ust an unethical guy, his liscence is about to get suspended by FINRA, I have to jump ship now.

Luckily I live in Affluent CT and all the big brokerage firms are litterally just a 5 min drive from each other. So what is a good place to start off as a new young and hungry Financial Advisor which for the most part ethical a great place to work. I hustle like no other im not afraid of rejection, and Im known in my town I know I can open up some rich local guys, what is a good place to start off at?

kidadly's picture
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Joined: 2013-06-07

Edward Jones.... period, end of story. There's no equal for someone like yourself. Ethics, commitment to training, and a strong research department with principals. And finally, EJ is not a public company unlike the vast majority of the larger alternatives.

tomkonk's picture
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Joined: 2012-10-12

Never Jones! I would hook up with an independent RIA and learn the Fee Based busness - Jones is still a commissioned based American Fund shop where you will have to sell something everyday to get paid - sounds like you didn't like that model?

fitz1949's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-01

I agree with tomkonk. Fee based is the future of our industry. I would strongly urge you to study for the Series 66 rather than 63. You'll need that for Advisory business. Good luck!

wagslady's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-07

I agree with kidadly. Edward Jones is the best place to start. There is no better place, for training, support and ethics in this industry. Contrary to tomkonk and fitz1949, it is NOT an "American Fund shop". They are sadly misinformed! You can also build a fee-based business as well as commission at Jones. It's your business to build. Stick around at Jones and you'll be one of the highest paid advisors in the industry. Check it out! Plenty of sources will back that up.

flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

Thanks I appreciate all your input guys. Sorry I meant to say series 66 lol. Ill definitely look further into Edward Jones, I would love to work and have the support of a big bank like that

Me Is JJ's picture
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Joined: 2012-09-26

If you go with a bigger wirehouse I'd suggest Wells Fargo Advisors. I'll be candid - I went through training at Merrill but when I missed the 66 by a point I had a box at my desk. Came over to WFA and it's a whole different world. They bring you back to headquarters for two one-week training sessions with 50-100 other classmates and it is highly focused. Their training/systems/sales support is really phenomenal... people are nice, courteous, helpful, KNOWLEDGABLE and will actually say that they are there to help. Stringent benchmarks like anywhere and once you're in production it's up to you, but I'd say WFA. There's also no stink of Wall Street... original company was AG Edwards, so mid-western ethic and approach. And if you're just starting out don't get hung up on the "fee based" thing... NO ONE can start like that, but eventually once you're established you can build that type of business anywhere.

JFinn's picture
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Joined: 2013-06-14

Are you wanting to be a financial representative or a broker agent? I would say search around and throwing your hat in the ring with a few different firms would be the best. I also would have to advise against Eddie Jones, just have heard horror stories. I don't know much about the PMD programs or the WFA, but I do have to say that if you are a new young guy like I am, which I have passed 7, health, & life - still studying for 66, you have to look at places that are willing to pay set salary + commission for a certain time period. Otherwise, it can be a scary world not knowing where your paycheck is coming from. That being said, don't flock to EJ - the burn through FA's like nuts. When I was in for my 7, there were 10 EJ new people, out of which 7 had failed their first attempt & a few had failed their second. Just does not sound like a quality place to start out. Perhaps, it is different once you have a book and network already established.

flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

Yeah ill keep you guys informed, just started doing some online applications tonight to everywhere so ill keep you guys informed

flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

Yeah ill keep you guys informed, just started doing some online applications tonight to everywhere so ill keep you guys informed

flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

yeah so been contacted and interviewed by citibank wealth managment, Well Fargo, Edward Jones, and NorthWesteren Mutual. Think I killed all the interviews and gotta say

EDJ seems like they will hire anyone, Northwestern is strictly 100% commisions but all you own all your whole book seems ok but I cant work for free until then, Citibank seems like crap. I like Wells Fargo they pay full salary and you have to open up a minimum of 25 accounts with 1k in each. That sounds like cake

JD1029's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-01

Any update Flowerchild?

Paranoid Android's picture
Joined: 2013-09-26

I've worked at both Jones and a wirehouse. Both opinions are right in this thread, both are terribly wrong.

You aren't an American Funds chop shop, I don't even think I ever sold an American fund, unless it was a roll over situation where the 401k was already there so they got NAV. I used primarily MFS and Blackrock in my time there, and they didn't have a problem with either, MFS being preferred, Blackrock not being preferred. Your training is based all around American funds yes, they'll even make you have an "ICA guide pitch"...but when it comes down to it, you don't have to use them. In some instances, you do have to go out of your way to not use them, but you could effectively build a business without ever touching an American Fund.

You can't start fee based, at least for a little bit. Knew a guy who started fee based, was placed on pip for not generating enough up front commissions. The wirehouses give you incentive to build fee based, as they look at those numbers deeper and multiply your month to date fee based by 12. Jones just looks at the hard number, says "You didn't generate the 5600 in commissions you were supposed to" or whatever it is.

I would say your best bet living in Affluent CT, would be a wirehouse. People from the stretch of east coast from Boston to NY have a sense of entitlement, where they seem to want to work with a big wall street name...but not only that, the training is very similar if not at least more relevant for affluent CT at the wirehouses than Edward Jones. The thing is, my time at Jones, they keep telling you "No one trains like this in the business" "We do the best training in the business" and things along those lines, and I ate it up like most do...then I left, and found out that it's pretty much just basic sales training. The FAA program at Morgan Stanley and the PMD program at Merrill are both fantastic ways to get into the business and learn from vets who have been around forever.

They all have their strengths and weaknesses...in the end, it comes down to you and how bad you want it.

JD1029's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-01

Thanks for the update....I have read a lot of posts on this forum, and it sounds like Wells Fargo or Morgan Stanley are the best choices. ML sounds a lot more cut-throat, little support, and high hurdles.

Anyone who disagrees, please explain.

gekko the great's picture
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Joined: 2013-11-08

The firm you choose also depends on your target market. Ed Jones does very well in the $50k-$250k space, mostly selling annuities and mutual funds on commission. Wirehouses like Merrill and MSSB tend to want to play in the $250k-$10mil space.

If you are going with a wirehouse, be prepared to have pressure to bring in those high net worth clients, or you'll be shown the door in short order. Also keep in mind that you are 23 and are competing in your market against advisors with 25 YEARS experience.

If you go the EJ route, and there isn't a market for that in your affluent area, then it may not be the right fit either.

There are great people at all these firms and also plenty of scumbags at each one too. Don't let that be your primary driver in making a choice.

Paranoid Android's picture
Joined: 2013-09-26

gekko the great wrote:
The firm you choose also depends on your target market. Ed Jones does very well in the $50k-$250k space, mostly selling annuities and mutual funds on commission. Wirehouses like Merrill and MSSB tend to want to play in the $250k-$10mil space.

If you are going with a wirehouse, be prepared to have pressure to bring in those high net worth clients, or you'll be shown the door in short order. Also keep in mind that you are 23 and are competing in your market against advisors with 25 YEARS experience.

If you go the EJ route, and there isn't a market for that in your affluent area, then it may not be the right fit either.

There are great people at all these firms and also plenty of scumbags at each one too. Don't let that be your primary driver in making a choice.

Yup, the logo on the business card doesn't change someones ethics. When it comes down to it, we're all based on revenue generated, no matter how much your firm talks about how it's the most ethical in the business(Note: They all say that). You'll watch as some people who would screw their own grandmother out of her last penny win awards, while you scrap by to hit your PDP, or Teir 1, or whatever numbers you're trying to hit doing the right thing.

Regardless of if you're at an RIA, JP Morgan, Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley, etc. etc....the business comes down to you...you'll be able to find ethical mentors at all of them.

Kevin Jurovich's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-06

Anytime you are starting your career off as a FA the hardest place to make that happen is a wirehouse. I worked at Morgan Stanley and am now with wells fargo the major difference is the walk ins! At a bank people walk in the door everyday and sit with a banker or teller and if they have assets over a certain amount they get walked over to your desk and boom you just added a client to your book. Once your book is established go ahead and hit a wirehouse and the majority of your business can then come from word of mouth through your current customer base. Just my 2 cents

gekko the great's picture
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Joined: 2013-11-08

Agree with Kevin. At the wirehouses, keep in mind that all of the senior guys have been there forever (most wirehouse guys are lifers) so they have been all calling on the same people in your market for decades. Any "rich guy" you can think of, has been called on by every wirehouse guy in your market. So you will have a hard time standing out as a newbie.

Paranoid Android's picture
Joined: 2013-09-26

gekko the great wrote:
Agree with Kevin. At the wirehouses, keep in mind that all of the senior guys have been there forever (most wirehouse guys are lifers) so they have been all calling on the same people in your market for decades. Any "rich guy" you can think of, has been called on by every wirehouse guy in your market. So you will have a hard time standing out as a newbie.

Plenty of new money and money creating events out there. I mean, if you look at it that way then there would never be any new advisors out there at all...which isn't the case.

flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

Thanks for the input everyone I agree with alot of what has been said here and also have been following many of your post esp paranoid android for sometime now.

So to update just quit my current starting boiler room firm where I started my career. Been there full-time for a bit over a year where I started off as an intern/broker trainee, put my hours, opened up some accounts via cold call, gained some sales skills and confidence on the phones and got licensed a while ago. Been interviewing with alot of firms (big wirehouses) and got turned down by most of them or others want me to work strictly commission (work for free) which I don't want to do.

Although I could of stayed with this firm and continued to open accounts and get paid the "broker" salary plus commission over there for the first 2 years (which would prob equal with commission 30-40k). The business model over there really is a boiler room down to the definition and I feel bad for the people opening accounts there because in the long run they are being churned and losing money. To many regulations are not being followed and although I can be opening multiple accounts while putting in work its only a matter of time until this firm get shut down and I don't want my licenses and work being associated with that firm when the time comes. Ultimately my decision for leaving was based on a few things. From speaking with past FA' who left that firm and other FA's from other firms who've I who are working on Wallstreet or in the big Wirehouses they've stated that they really do f*** you over there and its not a place you want to stick around for a long time. Since day 1 they've lied to me about minor things and even in some instances not paid me commision for accounts that ive opened so, I really don't want to open any more accounts for them. So I left and couldn't be happier about the situation not working for them.

The big Wirehouses (J.P., MSSB, Merril,UBS) I imagine really want someone with an existing book (vets), or extremely wealthy network (daddy is the CEO for his trust fund-FA son and knows alot of $$$ clients). I can't blame them because I can't see myself realistically bringing in 12 million in first year assets without an existing book, obviously its not impossible but the statistics for someone fairly new is extremely low.

I interviewed twice with Wells Fargo I really liked there presentation of the company and hurdles for new FA's but ultimately was turned down from them as well :( which kinda pissed me off lol oh well. I imagine they want someone more established as well with assets.

Currently interviewing with and met with Edward Jones guys, and a few other small indy firms. Ive read alot on here about the notoriety that is Edward Jones and interviewed with them. Im currently still in the interview process with them. From my observations they like hiring career changers and military vets, i don't know what the logic behind that is considering the reality of how tough this industry and sales is in general, people come into this without knowing the reality of what being a broker actually is. I also don't understand the logic of having a branch with 1 FA and BOA working while 5 miles away is another branch with 1 FA, what a waste of overhead in my opinion. Why do they want there advisors going after the small accounts? some of the stuff at EJ just seems so absurd. But also there are some good points of this firm, great place to start out in, ok salary and......I think thats it. the door to door sales I imagine isnt for everyone or every location but obviously just like cold calling its a numbers game and as long as your putting in work you should be able to sell. This is obviously an advantage compared to the wirehouses which dont do any door to door prospecting. Where i live the majority of households are working with someone and have disposable income, so it really comes down to whether they are open to hiring another broker (and from my experiences, the wealthier someone is the more open they are to hiring another broker, and throwing you a couple thousand your way if they like the idea)

Regardless of what firm i end up going to, they all have there pros and cons, and you gotta drink that kool-aid and be about that life. Although Im still fairly new ive been doing this for some time now to know the stress and sacrifice put into this career and spoken with enough people in the industry to know that you have to put in work to succeed and not everyone in this industry will succeed. So im just looking forward to whichever company I end up going with.

flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

Thanks for the input everyone I agree with alot of what has been said here and also have been following many of your post esp paranoid android for sometime now.

So to update just quit my current starting boiler room firm where I started my career. Been there full-time for a bit over a year where I started off as an intern/broker trainee, put my hours, opened up some accounts via cold call, gained some sales skills and confidence on the phones and got licensed a while ago. Been interviewing with alot of firms (big wirehouses) and got turned down by most of them or others want me to work strictly commission (work for free) which I don't want to do.

Although I could of stayed with this firm and continued to open accounts and get paid the "broker" salary plus commission over there for the first 2 years (which would prob equal with commission 30-40k). The business model over there really is a boiler room down to the definition and I feel bad for the people opening accounts there because in the long run they are being churned and losing money. To many regulations are not being followed and although I can be opening multiple accounts while putting in work its only a matter of time until this firm get shut down and I don't want my licenses and work being associated with that firm when the time comes. Ultimately my decision for leaving was based on a few things. From speaking with past FA' who left that firm and other FA's from other firms who've I who are working on Wallstreet or in the big Wirehouses they've stated that they really do f*** you over there and its not a place you want to stick around for a long time. Since day 1 they've lied to me about minor things and even in some instances not paid me commision for accounts that ive opened so, I really don't want to open any more accounts for them. So I left and couldn't be happier about the situation not working for them.

The big Wirehouses (J.P., MSSB, Merril,UBS) I imagine really want someone with an existing book (vets), or extremely wealthy network (daddy is the CEO for his trust fund-FA son and knows alot of $$$ clients). I can't blame them because I can't see myself realistically bringing in 12 million in first year assets without an existing book, obviously its not impossible but the statistics for someone fairly new is extremely low.

I interviewed twice with Wells Fargo I really liked there presentation of the company and hurdles for new FA's but ultimately was turned down from them as well :( which kinda pissed me off lol oh well. I imagine they want someone more established as well with assets.

Currently interviewing with and met with Edward Jones guys, and a few other small indy firms. Ive read alot on here about the notoriety that is Edward Jones and interviewed with them. Im currently still in the interview process with them. From my observations they like hiring career changers and military vets, i don't know what the logic behind that is considering the reality of how tough this industry and sales is in general, people come into this without knowing the reality of what being a broker actually is. I also don't understand the logic of having a branch with 1 FA and BOA working while 5 miles away is another branch with 1 FA, what a waste of overhead in my opinion. Why do they want there advisors going after the small accounts? some of the stuff at EJ just seems so absurd. But also there are some good points of this firm, great place to start out in, ok salary and......I think thats it. the door to door sales I imagine isnt for everyone or every location but obviously just like cold calling its a numbers game and as long as your putting in work you should be able to sell. This is obviously an advantage compared to the wirehouses which dont do any door to door prospecting. Where i live the majority of households are working with someone and have disposable income, so it really comes down to whether they are open to hiring another broker (and from my experiences, the wealthier someone is the more open they are to hiring another broker, and throwing you a couple thousand your way if they like the idea)

Regardless of what firm i end up going to, they all have there pros and cons, and you gotta drink that kool-aid and be about that life. Although Im still fairly new ive been doing this for some time now to know the stress and sacrifice put into this career and spoken with enough people in the industry to know that you have to put in work to succeed and not everyone in this industry will succeed. So im just looking forward to whichever company I end up going with.

flowerchild136's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-11

Also I agree that there are also alot of scummy guys and good guys at every firm. its just a matter of how you want to do your business and whether you want to risk your name, liscense, and reputation in being a typical broker scum and IMO its not worth it in the long run

Inwuwetrust's picture
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Joined: 2013-02-03

my recommendation is to go somewhere you own the book. Edward Jones is a good place to start, but remember they OWN your book and you work for THEM.

most likely, your best bet is to find a small independent practice and start as a junior advisor - taking over a small portion of a veteran advisor's book and servicing them.

Paranoid Android's picture
Joined: 2013-09-26

I disagree the wires want someone with an existing book or wealthy family. They just want someone they feel will be successful, because with 50% drop rate...they don't want to eat that cash. I know a few wirehouses are starting trainees in specialized roles like Financial planning or lending, doing that training for a year or year and a half or whatever and then sending them into the FA program...makes it much easier to A. Find a vet to partner with B. get acclimated to the system and C. Have a specialization that you KNOW like the back of your hand, making you extra dangerous when prospecting instead of just being the next new kid calling to pitch Tesla stock.

When it comes down to it, don't count any companies out and find the situation that you feel will not only be teh best for you, but that you'll be actually learning in. The biggest key to the beginning of your career is to be a sponge.

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