PWM Job Security

thedude12r43w's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 326

Hey everyone,

Background:
I'm currently a junior at Emory Goizueta setup to do a summer internship in accounting but am exploring some alternate career paths. I am interested in staying in Atlanta.

So I've been reading some posts about PWM/PB and see that the salaries are good with 60-70k base and some bonus all for < 80 hours a week.

However, what I am worried about is job stability. Is this the type of job where everything depends on sales and if you don't deliver you will be fired quickly? Or is this the type of job where you can keep your head down, do your work, support the relationship managers and maintain good job security + career progression. I understand that bringing in new business is necessary for all higher levels of almost any position (including accounting) but how soon is it needed in PWM and is it needed to advance or to simply keep your job.

Also can someone confirm what typical hours are and if the culture would be more lax in Atlanta?

Thank you for your time.

Comments (6)

Dec 5, 2011

Don't know about Atlanta specifically, but different firms will have different quotas of AUM to reach. If you are looking for more job security and less pressure, try going to a non/bulge bracket shop or work for a successful independent advisor. Bringing in new business is going to be a necessity after year 1 at most places, and definitely by year 2 most anywhere. You have to get time to get your Series 7 and Series 60 but after the training period you have to hit the ground running and bring in new clients. Some firms you have to be a horrible slackoff to get fired, while at others you will be under constant pressure to perform or be out the door.

Best thing to do would probably be to pick a place with a slightly older crowd around the office (ie they need someone to hand accounts down to) and build relationships with their clients. I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating it would be to start from nothing at a bulge bracket without the help of some senior guys. Either that or you have to be amazing at getting people to give you money to manage or know alot of wealthy people that are willing to invest with you. Getting along with with and getting respect from the old guard, both people more senior than you at your office, and clients, is crucial.

I've done an internship in PWM in a non-sales role and have some experience on the topic but maybe someone can weigh in on Atlanta for you.

Dec 5, 2011

I am not an Atlanta local so do not have roots here but I am married and will settle down here as my wife's family is from here as well. Is this the type of business I really need to have significant connections in at the get go? Not the typical analyst experience is it?

Dec 5, 2011

Chris Gardner stories don't happen everyday in the PWM business. If you aren't sure you have amazing sales skills and are someone that people trust without much hesitation, I wouldn't recommend starting off in PWM because the exit opportunities are pretty limited. There is no way I'd want the pressure of meeting quotas at a BB bank, but plenty of people do quite well at it even without prior connections.

No, it's not the typical analyst experience. If I were in your situation and already married I wouldn't risk it and I'd stick to ibanking, equity research, or accounting instead at least for 2 years and then if you still want to have a crack at PWM do it after you have some other experience under your belt. Banking jobs in Atlanta, from what I've heard, aren't nearly as intense as NYC.

Dec 5, 2011

Basically what draws me to PWM is the higher starting salary (60-70) with bonus and good work life balance. As well as my interest in finance and investments. I'm a top student at Emory with 3.8 gpa but dont know if I would be good at sales since its not something thats guaranteed. I know ill be able to handle the quant stuff and do all required work but doing something that depends on another person is challenging. Ultimately, I'd like to depend on myself for my success and not on whims of others. Yes, getting promoted anywhere also depends on your personality. But as long as I come into the office and do my work I want to be able to keep my job - not have my job hang by a thread if I don't do enough sales. Thats the dilemma. But 65-70 out of undergrad with bonus potential seems so sweet (especially in comparison to 55k little-no bonus in public accounting).

Dec 5, 2011

It's sales man. Some places the PWM will be more structured and geared towards people with higher net worths (ie- $5mm+ as opposed to, say $1mm+).

If you're going to a firm like JPM's Private Bank, you will get a structured analyst program where they work to develop you in the area you specialize (some people focus on clients, some on structuring portfolios, etc). Others will be cold-calling shops where you make 500 calls a day and try to sell the company's services. And others will fall somewhere in between. It definitely helps to know what kind of firm you're going to. I know there's information about that on this forum, but I'm not going to dig through it, I'll let you do that.

Chances are you'll end up in a position where you're making a helluva lot of phone calls. If you don't think you can sell over the phone, then this probably isn't the industry for you. As I said, though, some places are a little more structured and get their analysts involved in things other than selling on the phone, you may want to try and figure out which places these are.

Dec 5, 2011
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