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Can anybody give me any insight into Merrill Lynch's PMD program? I'm currently going through the interview process but not sure it is something I want to do. How much training do they really give you? What is the starting salary like while you go through the training? Are you basically just cold calling people all day long?

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Comments (8)

  • whysopoor's picture

    From speaking with the PMDs that were working there while I interned: the first few months, you're paid to study for your series 7/63 licenses. They have all the study materials and practices tests you need, and they expect you to ace it on the first try. Once you go through the study process and get those, it's a sales job where you are paired up with an FA as your "mentor" and start learning to cold-call. As you progress, you have various benchmarks to meet and the field thins dramatically. The full program is supposed to last 3-4 years, but only 1-3 of every 30 PMDs or so will make it. Most of your day is picking up the phone, calling someone, pitching, hanging up, and picking up the phone again.

    Annualized pay is 50k and phases into commision-based over the course of the program. Someone else mentioned having a rich uncle that will give you a couple million to play with. I'd say that's very likely the only way to get through it.

  • vr4mitsu's picture

    Thanks for the insight. Just out of curiosity, what state did you intern in? Also, where did you ultimately start with your first job?

  • sfbroker's picture

    The ML PMD program is just like every other training program at main wirehouse firms (MS, WFA, UBS). They all say that they are different but they aren't.

    What your experience will be like has more to do with the location and culture of the branch you work at vs. the actual firm. Some locations will put you through training and then throw you into an office with a phone and say good luck and others will be more committed to helping you succeed. This might include giving you some smaller accounts that the larger producers don't want, hiring you directly onto an existing team that already has a large client base or maybe connecting you with walk in business or potential clients that contact the branch manager directly. There are many ways they can help you if they decide they want to.

    As far as prospecting most branches could care less about how you bring in clients. Phone, cold walking, networking, etc...they don't care, just bring in assets and produce. If you can do this nobody will say anything which is one of the wonderful things about this business. If you are successful you can come and go as you please, run your business how you choose and work with whomever you decide to work with.

    It's not to say that getting any help will make the process of growing your book of business easy but it will give you a realistic chance of success. Today most firms will pay someone with experience a salary of about 65K to 80K (this is the west coast, I have no idea in other areas) and then you can make commission on top of that. The salary is temporary and goes away in about 2 years so if you don't rapidly build up your client base you will starve once you come off salary. I would say that you are probably looking at 70K to 100K your first couple of years, a slight drop off for years 3 and 4 and then a solid 6 figure job after that. Once someone is established and has some time in the business (10 years+) you are probably looking at 200K/year on the low end and up to 1MM/year on the high end.

  • sfbroker's picture

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