Retail Sales (Fin Advisor) transitioning to Institutional?

papashango9's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 8

Hello, I am new to this forum and have read a ton of topics and really like this community...I hope i can pick your brain for some advice.

I am a financial advisor for a large bank (retail, in DC) trying to make the move to NYC and get into institutional sales. I also worked at Merrill for a short period in private wealth management (cold calls all day) but that is a ridiculous mountain to climb for a 25 year old, so a retail bank was a better fit. Currently i meet with bank customers, convince them to invest, pitch funds, structured products, annuities etc. I am a top producer, but I cant do this shit forever, convincing non investors to invest and explaining investments to people who invest in CDs etc. Also a lot of people who work in the bank environment dont even have college degrees. Don't wanna sound like a jerk but there is a huge intellectual gap between me and colleagues/clients. I am pretty white collar, solid undergrad b school and I want to work with smarter people and have a more inspiring work environment. I am 7 years out of undergrad, 4.5 years as registered rep in sales. I do pretty well, make good money (not wall street $ though, but six figs), but dont want to do this forever, and need to correct the path before it gets too late.

I am in DC area and want to move to NYC so want to make the job change at the same. I know wall street firms like to hire either out of undergrad or MBA, or an experienced hire who is doing the same work and is ready to go/bring clients.

I am somewhere in between in that I have sales and investment experience, Series 7/66 but there would be some learning curve lets say in equities sales.

1) For those who are in sales or trading, would a company hire someone like me assuming I knock out the interview? I look and act the part and interview very well, have 3 very good companies on my resume. If i got into institutional right out of undergrad (I could have), I would obviously be fine. But i decided to try Tech sales and consulting for a couple of years before finding my interest in finance and the markets. I am confident it is mostly a matter of getting the interview and i can close from there.

2) If 1 is yes, should I target BB banks or boutique? I would need some training but much less than a new analyst out of college.

2) Do you think i could get the NYC job interviewing from DC or would you recommend i resign and move to NYC and aggressively pursue jobs when im up there? Would a NYC headhunter be helpful? I have some money in the bank so 4 months without job is not going to kill me. But I hate to quit a decent job, and we are just socially trained to believe that is a bad idea, an unemployed candidate looks less attractive, less leverage etc.

I appreciate any advice or insight you may have!

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Comments (4)

Sep 18, 2011

If you want to change gears, who the hell cares what other people think. I'm on the verge of leaving sales and moving to the middle office of a different product at a different bank - short term pain, long term happiness, and we already make more than a lot of people so who the hell cares. As for F/A to institutional, a very old friend of mine went from IT to sales support to institutional and it took about a year to network through the different roles and build if you already have sales experience, you're a step ahead of the game.

Sep 18, 2011

I would definitely network in the appropriate channels as you mentioned - but considering you mentioned that you went to a solid undergrad and have work experience, why not consider going for your MBA? A lot of sales guys I've met have also have a CFA (although I suspect it was more branding than skill-set building).

Sep 18, 2011

Have you considered going back to private wealth management, but with a firm that utilizes a different model than Merrill Lynch? J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs both have excellent ultra high net worth PWM divisions and you definitely won't have to cold call all day. Also, these firms value individuals who have a successful track record of sales results. I know for a fact that JPM hires high performing advisors from their branch/retail side for associates roles in PWM.

Not saying you shouldn't pursue the institutional side though. I am just trying to give you other things to consider.

Sep 20, 2011