Leaving EJ - Good Idea or No?

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blogme's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-31

First I will say that I am brand new to this forum however I have been reading it for sometime.  The reason for my question is because I have been considering leaving EJ and seeking other opportunities.  I have recently been speaking with wholesalers and discussing there responsibilities vs there pay.  One told me and I quote "when you are at regional meetings and you here the production numbers, it doesn't take long to know you making more than the top producer in the room."  I know everyone's thoughts on EJ and how everyone says it is a good place to start and an even better place to leave, but what is it that is making the grass greener on the side and would anyone suggest leaving EJ to go be a wholesaler?  If not, what would you do?

Spaceman Spiff's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-08

I think if I were going to do a job outside of Jones, but wanted to stay in the biz, I would go be a wholesaler.  I've never been able to convince one of them to tell me his actual pay package, but I know that it's not small. 
The trade off to me is the travel.  In order to do the job right you have to be in front of people frequently.  So, if you're married, you have to factor the time away from your family, living from your suitcase, restaurant meals, hours in a car, etc.  Not for me. 
And from what I understand you can't just land a job with American Funds or Franklin Templeton and become an external wholesaler.  You have to start on the inside and wait for a territory. 

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

I agree with Spiff.  Wholesalers do make decent money (mid 100's would seem about average).  But I assume that requires a decent product/firm you are wholesaling.  Of course, like in this business, the really good ones will make much more.  However, I don't know if I would want the travel, evening seminars several night per week, etc.  And territories might be hard to come by (you may have to move).  But if someone offered you the right opportunity, it might be worth it if you don't think this is for you.  Most of the MFD WS's I know were FA's for a few years before wholesaling (at many different firms).
Now, I am not sure they are making more than top producers for entire regions.  I think that has to be taken with a  grain of salt.  My region is very young (longest producers have about 15 years - and most aren't working very hard any more), and the top producers are generating in the $700K range.  With net commission, bonus, and profit sharing, they are taking home around $350K.  I don't think most wholesalers are in that range, and many of the more mature regions have much larger producers.

IndyEDJ's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

Wow:
Talk about a tough life.  Why do you want to leave retail sales blogme?  
IndyEDJ 

CIBforeveryone's picture
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Joined: 2005-07-12

With Jones you are best served with a fund/annuity company the RL or top producer in the region you are working in likes, because if you aren't, you a screwed.
 

CIBforeveryone's picture
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Joined: 2005-07-12

Typo fixed
 
CIBforeveryone wrote:
With Jones you are best served with a fund/annuity company the RL or top producer in the region you are working in likes, because if you aren't, you are screwed.
 

IndyEDJ's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

CIBforeveryone wrote:
With Jones you are best served with a fund/annuity company the RL or top producer in the region you are working in likes, because if you aren't, you a screwed.

Heck, I worked for Jones for 16 years and I know the GPs didn't like me but my customers did.  I still made a good living inspite of it.  If you like sales, I would recommend that blog go independent where you own the company.  If not, he'll be like every frickin wholesaler who gets to talk to my secretary and not me.
IndyEDJ

blogme's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-31

I have discussed the payscale with a few different wholesalers and also internals.  From what I have been tol most mutual fund wholesales make 22 to 28 bps on equity funds and between 15 to 20 bps on fixed income funds.  As far as va wholesales I have been told that they make between 30 to 35 bps with a base salary ranging (depending on what company of course) from 30k/yr to 75k/yr.  Life insurance and LTC wholesalers have told me in the range between 150k-250k.  I have been told to be a mutual fund wholesaler most firms (atleast the larger ones-that is all I have talked to) do require you to start as an internal (making on the low end 40k/yr and of course I wouldn't do that, and most firms between 75k -100k).  Of the wholesalers I have talked with they tell me you should expect to start between 150-200 and after a few years be between 400-600, not including 401k match, stock options, profit sharing, or any other benefits that Jones typically adds in.  As far as going indy I have not really explored that route for a couple reasons.  First I am still relatively young and am not sure where I am living now is where I want to be forever (I might buy a book of business later-not sure have not put much thought into it), second my book of business right now is only about 18 mil so not sure if it would be really worth it, and lastly door knocking really has burnt me out of the cold calling prospecting for right now atleast. 
Obvisouly being familiar with EJ I know how we are called on by wholesalers and how some our welcomed and others are ignored.  Is it this way with the independents and wire houses as well?  or do you feel it is different?  One of my close friends is a wholesaler and calls on wires and I here it from his prospective but I would like to see how the brokers feel about them?

IndyEDJ's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

blogme wrote:
Obvisouly being familiar with EJ I know how we are called on by wholesalers and how some our welcomed and others are ignored.  Is it this way with the independents and wire houses as well?  or do you feel it is different?  One of my close friends is a wholesaler and calls on wires and I here it from his prospective but I would like to see how the brokers feel about them?

Blogme, being independent means 7000 more mutual funds to choose from and 7000 more wholesales that are calling you.  Add to that the annuity guys and you willl find out that it is hard to get through to the broker.  I average three to four calls a week from wholesalers trying to figure out my business.  (which is all managed) I even have them walk into my office to cold call me. I have gotten to the point where I do not talk to Wholesalers as a rule.    It was a ton easier dealing with wholesalers when I got calls only from the 7 sisters at Jones. Old Tom Bartow once told me that he would not wish being a wholesaler on his dog let alone a broker.  Does that date me?
IndyEDJ
 

exhausted's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-24

Blogme, I have been considering the same thing, i've actually had one interview already. I should tell you that our agreement w/preferred funds will come into play here. If you submit your resume and they want an interview, they will contact you and tell you b/c of this agreement we have, you will have to tell your Regional Leader before you interview. I went ahead and did that and then didn't get the job (went to someone with more experience). Let's just say home office hasn't been as polite lately. I can give you some more info if you want it PM me. var SymRealOnLoad;
var SymRealOnUnload;

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Roadhard's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

Exhausted, big mistake at Jones, asking permission instead of forgiveness.  If you are going to leave--you need to be the biggest supporter of Jones until the moment you give your notice!  I was at EDJ for 14 years until 4 months ago and went indy--wow what a difference.
Life is good! 

IndyEDJ's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

Roadhard:
What were the biggest changes you observed leaving Jones?  Just Curious.
For me, my regional leader whom I helped make GP with my recruiting never called to ask me why I left.  I still haven't talked to him in 8 years. 
By the way, it is SOOO nice to have good stock!!
Indyedj

Roadhard's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

Sorry to take so long to post IndyEDJ!
1.  Over the years they I found that they provided opportunities for those people they liked--mostly younger FA's (IR's).  I know of three people who started the same time I did--yet they did not stay at their first branch--they were moved around to bigger branches when someone left--all three moved up to regional leader--then GP.  To me they were on the way up within a year of of comming on board.  All were young and were well liked by the regional leader.  So if the regional leader likes you--you will receive at a minimum a good chunk of LP if not better.
2.  They increase many fees--I remember when a TOD was $25 to set up at Jones--then it was $40--now it is $75 on setup and $200 when the client won't argue about it!  Here it is free, just like many of our mutual funds.
3.  Dividend investment fees--at Jones 2% to reinvest stock and closedend funds--Here it is free.
4.  While others decreased their commissions on stock trades--they went way up at Jones.  Just a couple of years ago a 100 shares of stock would cost a max $100-150.  Now it could be as high as $280 to $320.
5.  I was tired of recruiting--yes it was voluntary--but if you didn't recruit you got very little LP when it was offered. 
6.  I spent 14 years there--when I left I had one FA call me to wish me luck--I was named mentor of the year for my region several years ago and a rookie's best friend.  It is like I left the family with a dark secret.  I did a goodknight too and that person didn't even call me.  I ran into her a beertent and you would have thought I had stabbed her in the heart.
So after 14 years, 14 recruits, one goodknight and one heart attack, I left for Indy World--the difference is night and day.  I feel refreshed with the move.  I hold nothing against EDJ--but after the one year of non compete is over (8 months) I'm going on a recruiting spree to grow (our firm).  I'm going to write a short book on (Things I Wish I Had Done Prior To Leaving Edward Jones, BUT DIDN'T).  It might give someone some ideas up to one year prior to leaving the mother ship!
 

Big Taco's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

I don't know if you're serious about writing a book or not, but just curious, wouldn't EDJ try to sue the pants off you?  Also, aside from our sometimes myopic existence as FAs, who the heck would want to read a book about EDJ?  I guess Grisham made a dumptruck load of cash and he writes about lawyers... maybe someone should write about the super intriguing lives of FAs for a while? 

Big Taco's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

BTW, I didn't mean to insult when I wrote "who the heck would want to read a book about EDJ?"
Instead of EDJ, feel free to insert "any financial services firm",
after "heck", insert: "(other than us on this website)"

IndyEDJ's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

Big Taco:
Heck, I had the best stories from my short term experience at Prudential Securities.  They say that dead men tell no tales but did you know that they can still trade securities??
 
IndyEDJ

Big Taco's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

Sounds interesting, I'm game for a good Prudential story.

Roadhard's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

This book would be like a long checklist of everything we wish we had done before we left our last firm to go indy--but didn't because that would have been against our non-compete--if you get my drift.  How would you have like to have the new firm forms and transfer forms filled out ready to sign before you left your old firm so that after you resigned--all they had to do was sign.
When I left I think I got 2 hours of sleep per day 7 days a week for the first 60 days because all I did was do transfer paperwork and met with clients.
Don't you wished you had all the cost basis before you left.  For those of you that didn't come from Jones--they don't transfer cost basis like everybody else.  If you have the client request after they transfer all Jones sends is the client's 1099's for a lot of years.
Making sure you place annuities that happen to be custodian by your firm back to the client name from the IRA. 
They is a lot of work to get ready to leave your firm to go indy or to go to another firm. 

Dust Bunny's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-07

Convert all your brokerage statements to "in depth" the cost basis will show on the statements.  Then all you need is the latest statement copy to transfer that information over.   You won't have a per share cost or cost for multiple blocks of shares if purchased separately, just a lump sum total.  It's better than nothing.

GoldCaddy's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-16

It is amazing to me that anyone stays at Jones.  Financial Advisors are supposed to be able to take a hard, cold look at facts and then make an economic decision.  I hold no animosity toward Jones.  They trained me, taught me how to stay out of trouble and collected the lion's share of the GDC.  It was their right to do so, just as it was my right to leave and make four times my best year at Jones the first year I left.  I drive a fine German automobile, am free of debt, my clients refer their friends and I"M HAPPY. 
If someone decides that the modern day version of indentured servitude can be best found at Edward Jones then more power to them.
By the way, I drive by my old EJ office each day and I'm in the office before my replacement (there have been five guys in that office since I left) and leave after he does.  I'm working long hours and love it.
 

IndyEDJ's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

GoldCaddy:
It is because Jones will hire anybody with a pulse to pass the series 7 and become a broker unlike the big wirehouses.  If they make it past the first two years then they go on to make a good living.  100 grand a year plus nice vacations in a small town makes it very difficult to leave.
It is only when the pain of staying at Jones becomes very real (either compliance or business) that a broker will decide to leave and go Indy.  It is only then that they realize how much pain they endured and how much happier they are now.  My wife reminds me daily.
IndyEDJ

marsauceo's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-16

I agree with IndyEDJ.  I was at Jones for about 6 years and the compliance was a nightmare to go through.  And I understand that in a setup with no onsight branch manager you have to be cautious but oh my gosh...sometimes it was down right brutal. 
When I was leaving Jones I considered going to another brokerage and was told that it was pretty easy to transfer a book because of the abundance of products and service.  I was honestly a little bit burnt out and decided to go to inside sales at VA.  It was a great decision for me because I am now an external and I really enjoy it.  I will say that the insurance company and mutual fund company makes a difference.  If you go somewhere with name recognition, there is a chance you won't have to prospect as much. 

techo's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-24

Most of the folks that seem down on Edward Jones seem to have experience.  Where would you recommend people start then?  I have been lurking here for a while.  I haven't been able to decide where I would start if I go that route.  Every time someone mentions a company, someone else has a disparaging opinion of it.

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

techo wrote:Most of the folks that seem down on Edward Jones seem to have experience.  Where would you recommend people start then?  I have been lurking here for a while.  I haven't been able to decide where I would start if I go that route.  Every time someone mentions a company, someone else has a disparaging opinion of it.
You will find that in any company, in any industry.  No firm can make everyone happy all the time.  You have to decide what makes you happy, and what is important to you, as well as what bothers you.  Then do a lot of research based on those criteria.

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