Thinking of leaving...

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donttell's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-12

I have been with ML 5 years as a Financial Advisor, and I'm currently 27 years old. I'm considering leaving Merrill Lynch because I don't feel like they really appreciate the young up and coming advisor.  I.E. potential penalty boxes, continually reducing grid payouts, no retention bonus, etc.  I also feel like I have done a good job, although I still fall under quintile 3, and most of the guys I started with are no longer there.  Although,  I don't the the Independant route is best for me at this point, I feel like a "big" name is what I would be looking at.  My AUM is 38 MM, Revenue 330k, and Production Credits of $240K.  I really don't have any concerns that the majority of my clients won't follow me.  Given my situation, I would really appreciate the forums input as to a few questions:1.)  Corporate Culture.  Which firm(s) would provide the best culture to someone like me?  I have heard Morgan Stanley has a rising stars program, but i don't know if WFC/Wachovia, UBS or the like have anything similar.2.)  Looking For Opportunities.  Would it be wise to use a recruiting service?  Should I reach out to friends of mine in the industry?  What would you do?3.)  Recruiting Packages.  When people say there are offers out there toting 240% - 300% packages, is that on revenue I bring to the firm or the production numbers?  I work at ML, so that could be a significant difference between revenue and PC's.  What would a typical deal look like for someone in my position?Any advice that you could give me would be great.  Thanks so much.

Winston Smith's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-13

Merrill Lynch did a great job killing people like you.  Good luck, sounds like you'll be fine and those geniuses will probably end up offering you twice as much money trying to recruit you back in five years. 

nestegg's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-14

My advice....don't go to another Wire...if you don't like ML the others are really not much different, they all try to nickel and dime you, push out whatever type of producer is not en vogue at the time. Go to a regional, keep more of what you earn, do biz the way you want not the way the firm wants and have fun. At your production you will get a deal from a Stifel, Ray Jay etc

gtocapital's picture
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Joined: 2009-08-05

I was at ML for 4 years, posted great numbers, Q2, but didn't like the office or the support the entire time. Got sold that UBS was the ML of old times and found out that the grass was browner on the other side. Took the money, they closed my office after a few months. Needless to say, I lucked out, went independent. Hindsight 20/20, I would've either stayed at ML or gone RIA....

FrankNYC's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-18

Just curious what your annual compensation would be at ML w/ 38mm in AUM and production credits of 240k.

Shania Twain's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-23

BioFreeze wrote:
You are not an up and comer and you are not a rising star. You are not appreciated because you've done nothing to appreciate.

not much grey area in this biz.   brutal, but true.

gross talks....

ABOM's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-01

Shania Twain wrote: BioFreeze wrote:
You are not an up and comer and you are not a rising star. You are not appreciated because you've done nothing to appreciate.

not much grey area in this biz.   brutal, but true.

gross talks.... they are right, your AUM is really good but your Gross (PC's) is really low. you have survived a brutal market the like you will never see.  As for staying you need to decide on what client to cater too. high net worth (1mm+) stay at Merrill, mass affluent 100k - 1mm then you need to leave. MER, UBS will continue to nickel and dime the wrong client and advisor (under 2quintile)

SFEZ's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-25

donttell wrote:I have been with ML 5 years as a Financial Advisor, and I'm currently 27 years old. I'm considering leaving Merrill Lynch because I don't feel like they really appreciate the young up and coming advisor.  I.E. potential penalty boxes, continually reducing grid payouts, no retention bonus, etc.  I also feel like I have done a good job, although I still fall under quintile 3, and most of the guys I started with are no longer there.  Although,  I don't the the Independant route is best for me at this point, I feel like a "big" name is what I would be looking at.  My AUM is 38 MM, Revenue 330k, and Production Credits of $240K.  I really don't have any concerns that the majority of my clients won't follow me.  Given my situation, I would really appreciate the forums input as to a few questions:1.)  Corporate Culture.  Which firm(s) would provide the best culture to someone like me?  I have heard Morgan Stanley has a rising stars program, but i don't know if WFC/Wachovia, UBS or the like have anything similar.2.)  Looking For Opportunities.  Would it be wise to use a recruiting service?  Should I reach out to friends of mine in the industry?  What would you do?3.)  Recruiting Packages.  When people say there are offers out there toting 240% - 300% packages, is that on revenue I bring to the firm or the production numbers?  I work at ML, so that could be a significant difference between revenue and PC's.  What would a typical deal look like for someone in my position?Any advice that you could give me would be great.  Thanks so much.
 
Deals are based on PC's, not revenue.......
 
Most deals have between 120-130% upfront......with another 150% or so available on the back end......You qualify by bringing assets over, your reward is based on your production at certain snapshot points in the future.
 
If you have friends that you can confide in, that are in offices you'd like to work at, I would recommend reaching out to them........
 
They'll get paid for bringing you over..........
They'll give you the closest thing to an honest answer, when you have questions about anything........
 
All things being equal, I'd probably recommend Morgan then WFC then UBS.....in that order.
 
Good Luck..........

LA Broker's picture
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Joined: 2008-12-03

BioFreeze wrote: donttell wrote:I have been with ML 5 years as a Financial Advisor, and I'm currently 27 years old. I'm considering leaving Merrill Lynch because I don't feel like they really appreciate the young up and coming advisor.  I.E. potential penalty boxes, continually reducing grid payouts, no retention bonus, etc.  I also feel like I have done a good job, although I still fall under quintile 3, and most of the guys I started with are no longer there.  Although,  I don't the the Independant route is best for me at this point, I feel like a "big" name is what I would be looking at.  My AUM is 38 MM, Revenue 330k, and Production Credits of $240K.  I really don't have any concerns that the majority of my clients won't follow me.  Given my situation, I would really appreciate the forums input as to a few questions:1.)  Corporate Culture.  Which firm(s) would provide the best culture to someone like me?  I have heard Morgan Stanley has a rising stars program, but i don't know if WFC/Wachovia, UBS or the like have anything similar.2.)  Looking For Opportunities.  Would it be wise to use a recruiting service?  Should I reach out to friends of mine in the industry?  What would you do?3.)  Recruiting Packages.  When people say there are offers out there toting 240% - 300% packages, is that on revenue I bring to the firm or the production numbers?  I work at ML, so that could be a significant difference between revenue and PC's.  What would a typical deal look like for someone in my position?Any advice that you could give me would be great.  Thanks so much.You are not an up and comer and you are not a rising star. You are not appreciated because you've done nothing to appreciate.
 
Bio Freeze
You are a tool....anyone that posts pictures of his outdated gold watch on a forum is a sad case.
Donttell, at 27 those numbers are very impressive and a lot of firms will jump at your potential.  You will be a million dollar producer at 35 if you keep it up.  I would check out MSSB, regionals and would not rule out the independent route LPL, Raymond James.  You have enough assets to do well going Indy.  If it were me I would go indy and start a practice, get some advisors working under you and the money will roll in. 

chief123's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-28

You should check out a regional like stifel or the like... More appreciation for your level. Still brand name.

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

donttell wrote:I have been with ML 5 years as a Financial Advisor, and I'm currently 27 years old. I'm considering leaving Merrill Lynch because I don't feel like they really appreciate the young up and coming advisor.  I.E. potential penalty boxes, continually reducing grid payouts, no retention bonus, etc.  I also feel like I have done a good job, although I still fall under quintile 3, and most of the guys I started with are no longer there.  Although,  I don't the the Independant route is best for me at this point, I feel like a "big" name is what I would be looking at.  My AUM is 38 MM, Revenue 330k, and Production Credits of $240K.  I really don't have any concerns that the majority of my clients won't follow me.  Given my situation, I would really appreciate the forums input as to a few questions:1.)  Corporate Culture.  Which firm(s) would provide the best culture to someone like me?  I have heard Morgan Stanley has a rising stars program, but i don't know if WFC/Wachovia, UBS or the like have anything similar.2.)  Looking For Opportunities.  Would it be wise to use a recruiting service?  Should I reach out to friends of mine in the industry?  What would you do?3.)  Recruiting Packages.  When people say there are offers out there toting 240% - 300% packages, is that on revenue I bring to the firm or the production numbers?  I work at ML, so that could be a significant difference between revenue and PC's.  What would a typical deal look like for someone in my position?Any advice that you could give me would be great.  Thanks so much.
You're an impressive up and comer and, at 27, you're a rising star. If you made all that production on your lonesome, then you've got a talent for this business.Stickiness and character of production is what will determine your offer (and whether you're a star or not), but any manager or firm (non-pwm) is going to be interested in you. The key variables that you aren't including are what % of your T12 is recurring (big issue), what % of assets are wrapped, and what percentage is rep-as-pm vs. money managers or funds.If your business is truly yours and under your management, then a junior partnership in a high-end RIA is probably an option. While you're not interested in going independent, you may have an interest in working for one of these type firms. The environment is much better than you will see at any wire and is largely what you imagined life would be like when you started. (Attractive, professional, real executive assistants, better decor than an ML branch, expense account, big office, real leads, etc.) But what will matter to them is how much rep-as-pm assets you have. (In your case, you'll need to have most of your assets and be expected to produce most of what you're currently making - immediately.)If your production includes a lot of commissions, like most brokers, then you can look at joining a smaller RIA or an indy B/D operation. Your perceptions may be inaccurate about these firms. These range dramatically in conditions and resources. Best and worst. (But, $15-20 mil of your assets would need to be easily moved.)In both cases, all that these firms will offer are better opportunities to grow your business and keep more of what you make. There isn't much to expect other than a reasonable salary from either of these type firms. No check - just the opportunity to get equity.If you're looking to switch firms, can't go RIA- and really want to move (or the check), then pretty much the obvious choice would be Morgan Stanley. It's the only real wire left. All the others are essentially banks now that don't allow for new entrepreneurship. It's sad, but true. They simply don't allow new million dollar producers at any of the other national firms [maybe UBS]. MS's still an investment bank. And while it's a pale, bank holding company version of the institution that it once was, it's still all about making money. I would check out the branches VERY long and hard. Talk to a bunch of different managers as each office is radically different. And they are making some of the best payouts right now. But, you should consider the fact that any check will include a 7-9 year contract and that's a really, really long time when you're 27. You may just want to stick it out and see how things turn out for the industry over the next couple of years.

pewter's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-13

regardless of the bone head bashing environment on here, your numbers are good. Not to sound like a panzy, but anyone who started in the biz during the last 10 years, and still produces a fair number is a stronger individual than the 80's & 90s. Raymond James may give you upfront money, and you can grow an idependant business form there, and sell it some day. That's my advice.

Northfield's picture
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Joined: 2007-04-10

donttell wrote:I have been with ML 5 years as a Financial Advisor, and I'm currently 27 years old. I'm considering leaving Merrill Lynch because I don't feel like they really appreciate the young up and coming advisor.  I.E. potential penalty boxes, continually reducing grid payouts, no retention bonus, etc.  I also feel like I have done a good job, although I still fall under quintile 3, and most of the guys I started with are no longer there.  Although,  I don't the the Independant route is best for me at this point, I feel like a "big" name is what I would be looking at.  My AUM is 38 MM, Revenue 330k, and Production Credits of $240K
 
You don't really make a compelling case for leaving. Going to any other wirehouse will not get you any more love or attention once the honeymoon phase is over. $240k in production is just not moving the dial enough, regardless of age, to garner much attention.
 
Good reasons for leaving for another wire might be:


  1. You're broke and need a check.

  2. You're stuck at $240k and need a kick in the rear to get motivated.

  3. The local environment/manager is toxic.

  4. You're about to get fired or are falling into the 5th quintile.

If one of these reasons describes your situation, then, yes, get a recruiter and cut a deal.
If not, then put your head down and get your production up to $500k where you will likely start to get the attention you desire.
 
 

shantom1's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

ABOM wrote: Shania Twain wrote: BioFreeze wrote: You are not an up and comer and you are not a rising star. You are not appreciated because you've done nothing to appreciate. not much grey area in this biz.   brutal, but true. gross talks.... they are right, your AUM is really good but your Gross (PC's) is really low. you have survived a brutal market the like you will never see.  As for staying you need to decide on what client to cater too. high net worth (1mm+) stay at Merrill, mass affluent 100k - 1mm then you need to leave. MER, UBS will continue to nickel and dime the wrong client and advisor (under 2quintile)

Sounds about right on the production for those AUM's.  Not sure what the difference is between gross and PC, we don't have that crap where I am- you get paid on what ever revenue you produce no matter where it comes from w/o any haircuts.  Going off of gross you are running an ROA of .87, which is quite good. 
 
I would say in todays environment with not a lot of experience you have done well, do not listen to the trolls who forgot what they had for breakfast much less where they were at 27 (yeah we know troll, you did $3.5mm in gross when you were 26 ).
 
I would stay away from the wires, they churn and burn reps like a stratton broker c/b's clients.  Look at regionals.  Avoid haircuts and payout is more important than upfront cash.  That's not to say upfront is bad but the devil is in the details.  I high payout for quite some time will pay you well and give you time to build a strong base...

Shania Twain's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-23

BioFreeze wrote:

dude   so g*y

StockJock1's picture
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Joined: 2009-11-15

Where are you located?  Shoot me a message if you're not comfortable posting it.

donttell's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-12

It was around 90K W-2 Income.  With that production 2 years ago, i likely would have made over 100k with additional money put for retirement, but they did 3 things:  Cut the Grid, no payout for HH under 100k, and no retirement awards.

donttell's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-12

FWIW, the detail that i left out is that I was originally with a team and couldn't wait to get out.  There was no way that I would get my production up to 500k without some serious adjustments in the team split.

ytrewq's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-02

I am with Shantom1.  What is a PC?  Is it higher or lower than gross?  Is it just another way for firms to dink your pay and act like it is "normal"?  More made up numbers that screw the FA or is it legitimate?

Omar's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-19

donttell wrote:
It was around 90K W-2 Income.  With that production 2 years ago, i likely would have made over 100k with additional money put for retirement, but they did 3 things:  Cut the Grid, no payout for HH under 100k, and no retirement awards.
 
 
You have enough assets and production to Indy.  My numbers were similiar to yours and it's worked for me.  Just keep you expenes low.  Assuming you have good relationships with your clients, you should consider going on your own.
 
If you produce $240K at 90% payout, you're looking at $216K.  Even if you spend $30K in expenses, you're still making 2X last year's W-2.  Think about it.

Cowboy93's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-10

Agree with the above--don't write off indy so quickly...at least examine that path a little more closely.  Makes for a clear and compelling reason for clients to follow you and you have a liftetime to benefit from clearing more.

Independent's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-15

What is your reasoning that you would not want to go the independent route?  If it is lack of start up capital, a lot of firms will provide this to you.

cutacheck's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-21

What Indy firms will provide start up capital?

cutacheck's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-21

At this point all firms pretty much suck and are cut throat. If you want to double your book in two years, go to WFC on the ISG platform. Exploit the sh*t out of the company, se them for the leads and referrals, and than go INDY. Even if it is a 9 yr contract who cares, bail in two and settle for .40 cents on the dollar, walk a way with double the business.

fredsac's picture
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Joined: 2009-11-17

What is the ISG platform? I've had several recruiters pitch me but I assumed it was bullsh*te? any input appreciated.

cutacheck's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-21

The only reason why i suggest the ISG platform is because since you come from a wirehouse and are young and hungry you will crush it with your energy and skills by "exploiting" the leads you get.    

fredsac's picture
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Joined: 2009-11-17

They want us working in a "family office" atmosphere, supposedly a new silo. Anyone hear of this new LOB? Hi-net worth etc,etc.

exUBS's picture
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Joined: 2009-04-23

Can someone in WFC-ISG move to Finet ?  If so, may be a viable option for the original poster. 

cutacheck's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-21

Yes, from what I hear it is seemles to the client and they do not even know.   You can do 1 million in revenue and go Indy under the WFC umbrella and start getting paid out huge.

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