AMA: Financial Services: My journey from nothing to pretty decent.

CloseMinded's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 513


As a long time reader of WSO I have benefited a-lot from the wealth of knowledge shared among our members. Our members represent some of the best our industry has to offer. If you've spent more than 10 minutes reading the forums its fairly evident our following are graduates of the top universities, employees of the premier firms, and incredibly successful. Well, all things considered I would like to welcome you to my first AMA: Financial Services, my journey from nothing to pretty decent.

First off I'd like to introduce myself as Senior Relationship Banker at Huntington Private Bank. My role is a blend of Personal Banker, Financial Planner, Consumer/Commercial Lender, and Relationship Manager. I hold series 7, 52, 66, 24 licenses, various insurance lines, NMLS ID, and CFA Level I & II. My team and I manage a book comprised of appx $200mm of DDA, $120mm Consumer Notes, $2bn Commercial Notes, and $700mm Investment AUM.

I'm a 31 year old armed forces veteran who holds a B.A. in Theology / Philosophy, a B.S. in Political Science, and a M.S. in Nursing, from The Armed Forces Academy of Health Sciences. Born to a household below the poverty line, and resident of section 8 housing, at 16 I was the first of my family to attend college. I was an awful student, and while I enjoy learning I couldn't stand University. I applied the minimal amount of effort, with the maximum amount of speed resulting in completion of my B.A. in 18 months and a G.P.A. not impressive to McDonalds. I then enlisted in the Navy where I served the next 4 years as a corpsman, then nurse, and finally nurse practitioner until being medically separated.

Wanting to try something aside from medicine, following my military service I joined the Financial Services Industry in December of 2011 after becoming a licensed Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments in Nashville, TN. Over the next year I would prospect daily knocking on doors to meet clients, and using the trunk of my car as my office until I received my branch in March of 2013. Becoming a Limited Partner of the firm Early 2014, I remained with Jones until February of 2016 to pursue independence, and a higher revenue share. At my exit my book of business with Jones was 100% organic to my production, with appx $37mm AUM. My 1st year (2012) as an FA I earned net $41k, with my last years (2015) income netting $107k.

In February of 2016 I joined Waddell & Reed Financial Advisors as a Principal coaching advisors and developing vertical markets for my complex in Nashville. I continued to run a small book of business in wrap accounts with 13 households, and $19mm AUM managed at 2% annually. 2016 resulted in my personal best income year to date of $344k. Unfortunately the following year W&R revamped their entire business model, resulting in my role dissolving. 2017 I would elect to leave the advisory branch of W&R and sell my remaining practice for $625k that May. I was soon offered a role with the asset management division of the firm as the Director of Business Development for the sister company Ivy Funds in Overland Park, KS. Compensation was more than fair for the work load at $140k annually, but more changes with W&R had me looking to leave, and resigning August of 2018.

After a couple of stressful years I choose to take a 6 month overlanding trip to reset before digging back into the business. Through personal connections I joined Huntington Private Bank early 2019. Bankings compensation is a slightly higher salary at $150k annually, but B.P.S. on production are reduced. This year should finish around $200k. NOW having shared all this, my intent isn't to measure dicks with the pay. It also isn't meant to devalue those who worked their asses off at the best schools for the jobs they have. Ideally I hope to encourage those looking into the industry who don't match the normal path. Coming up on 8 years in the industry I can truly attest to the potential for success. I would say on average for those 8 years I've worked 60 hours weekly. Add it all up, and since 2011 I've made appx $1.75mm, or a little less than $250k annually, and at 60hours a week I can pretty confidently say my time is worth around $70 an hour.

Obviously each experience is different, but I am certain that with the proper sweat equity this industry is welcoming. I will admit this route was mostly commission at first, and there were several times I would go months without making any money at all. The hours this route were light compared to the IB guys, and can be as flexible as you'd like, but you need to be a naturally social person to make it work. All things considered I'd say it's been a pretty decent career thus far.


Having shared my perspective, I hope someone can find value from it. I'd love to answer any questions you may have about building your book, presentations that work, or your thoughts in general.

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Comments (6)

Jan 16, 2020

Thanks for sharing! After your 6 month trip, how did you frame your time off to potential employers, and current employer during interviews? Specifically, did they view it as a negative when that you had taken time off?

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Feb 24, 2020

Honestly I didn't try to spin it any way other than I wanted to walk away. I believe that a man owes no apologies for living his life to his own drum.

Jan 16, 2020

Navy Corpsman? Respect.

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Jan 16, 2020

Thanks for sharing. Can you walk us through how you go about making the decisions to pursue these different career avenues? It seems like you have been all over the place (I mean that respectfully as it sounds more challenging than a typical linear career path) and you have managed to be successful. Also, with such varied roles but similar success in each, what traits or actions have set you apart from others?


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Feb 24, 2020

I believe my success in business is a result of my posturing. I'm not incredibly good looking, intelligent, or even that friendly, but I am extremely charismatic. I serial network almost accidentally by talking to everyone. that's my skill, everyone has their own.

Jan 29, 2020
But who's to say what's fair to say and what not to say? Let's ask Dr. Dre
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