Comments (132)

May 26, 2014

Probably somewhat lower salary when compared to IB, not as glorious exit opps, lower entry requirements, and generally being a more down-to-earth type deal rather than preftige-oriented. At least this is what I gather from all the content on the internet I have encountered thus far.

May 26, 2014

Because people think Northwestern mutual is PWM vs JPM pb GS UBS CS etc for the ultra high net worth areas... And since the failure rate for people becoming advisors right out of school is so high it gives it a negative connotation but its probably one of the areas with the least known about it

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May 26, 2014

PWM, MO, BO etc are all good careers in which you can make quite a bit of money (relatively speaking) - they all get a bad reputation on WSO because so many people on here are all about IB ---> PE etc. Important to keep things in perspective - for example, private banking has a great salary with pretty good hours relative to IB, but most on here would bash that too.

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May 26, 2014
application-advice:

PWM, MO, BO etc are all good careers in which you can make quite a bit of money (relatively speaking) - they all get a bad reputation on WSO because so many people on here are all about IB ---> PE etc. Important to keep things in perspective - for example, private banking has a great salary with pretty good hours relative to IB, but most on here would bash that too.

You can not make a lot of money in BO, but you can in PWM. I would not call them comparable at all. It's a sales job, so if you're good, you'll do well. Most people aren't good, so they fail and have to leave the industry.

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May 26, 2014

Because it's sales oriented, kissing rich people's ass, shmoozing, not as selective, lower barriers to entry, mediocre exit opps.

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May 26, 2014

If this comes across as obnoxious or anything other than genuine curiosity, I apologize because I am just curious, but At the upper levels, isn't IB basically the same thing with the exception of the lower barriers to entry and less selectivity (i.e. sales oriented, kissing rich people's asses-- whether they be CEOS of F500s or partners of PE shops-- and shmoozing?)

May 27, 2014

correct

May 27, 2014
mbavsmfin:

Because it's sales oriented, kissing rich people's ass, shmoozing, not as selective, lower barriers to entry, mediocre exit opps.

This is completely true...must be some kids of pwm's on here.

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

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May 26, 2014

There seems to be a general lack of understanding about the career of a PWM advisor here on WSO (with a few notable exceptions). Without a question there are many differences between PWM and the other areas of finance discussed on here (IB, PE, S&T, etc) so it is actually pretty hard to make a comparison.

May 26, 2014

There was a pretty decent thread on PWM a while back; really informative and put things into perspective. My guess is that it simply isn't as "prestigious", but I don't see how a career like this is bad.

May 26, 2014

Post the link please.

May 26, 2014

Its the JPM Private banking thread. Basically people think its horrible to be able to live in a city that has half or a third the COL of NYC , work half the hours of IBD doing more interesting work and get paid two thirds the amount (depending on structure of group team etc)

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May 26, 2014
May 27, 2014

From people I know who have been or are currently in PWM it's tough to make it but if you do it's a great career with high earnings and a great work/life balance, forget about prestige. It may be different at GS and you may just be out on a team with an active book of $10MM+ accounts but two friends who made it at UBS and MS (and have jumped firms multiple times and one started their own shop) made it because the one inherited a multi hundred million dollar book and built it into a $2B book (he came from money and believe his dads accounts were with that broker) and the other went into it in his late 20's and his father is the managing partner of a top law firm and his brother is a sports agent-they basically fed him business and within a few years he had $1B+ AUM and much more now. They both said that most of other people they started with left long ago and typically within their first year because it's just so hard to get wealthy people to give you their money to manage because they almost all have long existing relationships with advisors and it's tough to get someone with that relationship to sever it to give their money to a 20 something year old.

It's also sales and client service and they both like that. One was in IB and the other an options trader before PWM and they didn't like those roles but were more sales oriented people. They make awesome money and don't really work much. 40 hours would be on the high side and a lot of that entails dinners, golf, etc. They also really have control over those assets (maybe not discretionary but clients are never leaving so as long as they don't wildly mess up their business is solid).

However, they are the exception in succeeding and both have said they wouldn't have made it if they had to just cold call and try to build a business.

Once you're not in college or justifying your 100 hour week as an analyst, the prestige thing doesn't matter. What matters is that these guys are making 50-75 bps off of multi billion dollar books, run with somewhat lean support teams (I.e. Not much overhead to support or have to pay back the firm), their splits at those numbers are way better than 30-50% and they're home for dinner with their kids, control their lives, get to take many vacations and their lives are much better than an MD in IB or PE.

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May 27, 2014

might as well chime in here. @"Dingdong08" is correct on most points. kudos to your friends having a golden opportunity in front of them and capitalizing on it, those situations are few & far between.

PWM doesn't have a prestige problem, people that say PWM isn't prestigious have an image problem. they are simply jealous that you can go to a non-target and make more money than them simply because you're a great people person and can sell (which is exactly what is required in PWM). Several of the top producers at my firm (MS/UBS/ML), one of whom I am not, had great networks, sure, but they also know how to sell. any MD in PE/IB can respect that, selling is their job as well, but to your point it's incredibly hard to get rich people convinced they need to change what they're doing, and the fact of the matter is it takes a lot longer to build a sustainable business than any of the big 3 will let you stay employed, so it's incredibly hard to get started.

also, the "lack of prestige" stems from the attrition. PWM training programs at the big 3 have about a 95% failure rate. you read that right, 95% of the people entering these programs don't survive past the training program (most are 2-3 years long). but here's the kicker: it's not hard to get into one of these programs, you just have to convince your local branch & sales manager that you can make cold calls, hold seminars and network like a demon and will get people to invest with you. every one of the big 3 firms has minimums of trainees they have to hire, and while it's not like it was 5 or even 2 years ago, the incentive is to essentially hire more people than will succeed, throw them out to the wolves, and see who comes back alive, the amount of money a top producer pays back to the firm every year will more than make up for a few crappy hires, so you have a huge pool of people who will probably fail, but the ones that don't will be extremely profitable to the firm.

now on the flipside of that you have no idea what the stats on failure in IB/PE are, because the barrier to entry is high. I'd guess over 80% of people who want to go into IB don't ever make it. they don't have the drive to overcome being from a non-target, they don't have the basic mental capacity, or they don't have the soft skills (interviewing well, dressing well, being humble, etc). because the barrier to entry is so high, the herd is already thinned. PWM takes a huge herd and it thins itself, so it looks like this huge bloodbath because it's happening while everyone's already employed, instead of non targets duking it out at a local career fair. if you looked at the 5% of the people that make it in my business, you wouldn't see a lot of Ivy Leaguers, you would see people who are in their second career, know what it takes to build a business, and know how to work extremely hard (and by that I don't mean update powerpoints and wait for edits on same for 100 hours a week, I mean grinding hard for 70-80 hours a week, consistently).

PWM is the best job in the world, not counting something ridiculous like beer tester or SI swimsuit model photographer.

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May 27, 2014

Good post.

Anecdotally, I was out with one of my friends I mentioned above who had north of $2B and started his own firm and we bumped into a college friend who was in institutional sales with one of the top BB's and had advanced pretty far (I'm ~40 so think of people at that level) and the institutional guy said he was jealous as hell of my friend because the retail guy owned his business (and he didn't mean his actual corporation but really his book), controlled it and didn't have to deal with selling to institutions and basically resetting every Jan 1 with no guarantee of recurring revenue.

I'm not in PWM, never was and I doubt I could have made it because I didn't have that type of network but I'm jealous of my friends who made it. Steady business once it's built and I believe like you mentioned above, every ~3 years you can jump ship and have someone pay you a multiple of your income.

May 31, 2014
thebrofessor:

might as well chime in here. @Dingdong08 is correct on most points. kudos to your friends having a golden opportunity in front of them and capitalizing on it, those situations are few & far between.

PWM doesn't have a prestige problem, people that say PWM isn't prestigious have an image problem. they are simply jealous that you can go to a non-target and make more money than them simply because you're a great people person and can sell (which is exactly what is required in PWM). Several of the top producers at my firm (MS/UBS/ML), one of whom I am not, had great networks, sure, but they also know how to sell. any MD in PE/IB can respect that, selling is their job as well, but to your point it's incredibly hard to get rich people convinced they need to change what they're doing, and the fact of the matter is it takes a lot longer to build a sustainable business than any of the big 3 will let you stay employed, so it's incredibly hard to get started.

also, the "lack of prestige" stems from the attrition. PWM training programs at the big 3 have about a 95% failure rate. you read that right, 95% of the people entering these programs don't survive past the training program (most are 2-3 years long). but here's the kicker: it's not hard to get into one of these programs, you just have to convince your local branch & sales manager that you can make cold calls, hold seminars and network like a demon and will get people to invest with you. every one of the big 3 firms has minimums of trainees they have to hire, and while it's not like it was 5 or even 2 years ago, the incentive is to essentially hire more people than will succeed, throw them out to the wolves, and see who comes back alive, the amount of money a top producer pays back to the firm every year will more than make up for a few crappy hires, so you have a huge pool of people who will probably fail, but the ones that don't will be extremely profitable to the firm.

now on the flipside of that you have no idea what the stats on failure in IB/PE are, because the barrier to entry is high. I'd guess over 80% of people who want to go into IB don't ever make it. they don't have the drive to overcome being from a non-target, they don't have the basic mental capacity, or they don't have the soft skills (interviewing well, dressing well, being humble, etc). because the barrier to entry is so high, the herd is already thinned. PWM takes a huge herd and it thins itself, so it looks like this huge bloodbath because it's happening while everyone's already employed, instead of non targets duking it out at a local career fair. if you looked at the 5% of the people that make it in my business, you wouldn't see a lot of Ivy Leaguers, you would see people who are in their second career, know what it takes to build a business, and know how to work extremely hard (and by that I don't mean update powerpoints and wait for edits on same for 100 hours a week, I mean grinding hard for 70-80 hours a week, consistently).

PWM is the best job in the world, not counting something ridiculous like beer tester or SI swimsuit model photographer.

Are you sure dressing well is really a necessity? I've seen MD's from front office divisions who are expected to have a lot of client contact dressed worse then me (no suit at times, no ties, barrel roll shirts etc..)

Also, I guess the real reason there are a lot of misconceptions about PB/PWM is the real barrier of having a strong network from the get-go is far harder to overcome then being at a non-target or having to learn to network well?

May 26, 2014

Good points, but PWM is often too depndent upon who you know and family connections (as the examples above illustrate) and less on your raw skills. Of course, banking and PE become more relationship driven once you go above say VP level, but it's nowhere near the amount of ass-kissing that PWM requires. Basically PWM caters to rich connected kids who are not smart enough to do top banking/PE/hedge fund but still want to do finance.

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May 27, 2014

@mbavsmfin There are two fantastic posts above that outline what it takes to cut it in PWM and your only contribution is that "PWM caters to rich connected kids who are not smart enough to do top banking/PE/hedge fund but still want to do finance". Bitter much?

All else equal, I'd much rather make big $$ in PWM as opposed to banking. Much more well rounded work.

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May 27, 2014

Personally I always thought PB/PWM seemed boring as hell vs. IBD from chatting with folks in these departments at the bulge brackets. Perhaps its different higher up the ladder or in NYC but at the lower rungs it seemed god awful.

May 26, 2014

There are some interesting roles in private banking, which involve research and portfolio construction as opposed to sales.

I think banking sucks too, but compared to PWM it gives you way more exit options and more transferable skills. An analyst from a decent banking group can transition into private equity, Asset Management, hedge funds, and even strategy.

Several of the posters thought my comments on PWM were way off base. But ask yourself this. How much more selective is Goldman Sachs TMT than Goldman PWM? How drastically different is the caliber of people who go into each one? I know people at both groups, and the answer is pretty obvious.

May 27, 2014

My exposure to PWM was limited to a regional office and all the "fun stuff" was being handled out of NYC, SF, etc. All the regional folks did was put together decks and then present them at an initial meeting with HNW prospects in the area. Once signed up, the clients were sent off to the big city for the real work to be done, at least that's how it appeared from my vantage point.

I also agree on your point about IBD vs PWM candidates, but not solely the cream of the crop groups (e.g. GS TMT) I mean across the board. Looking at people I know working at GS, JPM, MS in private banking, they don't hold a candle caliber wise to their counterparts in IBD at the same firms.

Jul 5, 2018

As an entry level PWM, the work can seem boring because you are often not client facing, not seeing the end result of the work you put in on projects that you did not originate. However, as you become more responsible for creating value add opps for clients, gratification can take shape more. Overall concepts in PWM such as tax and estate planning can definitely bore you to tears, but they in many cases have the most impact to clients.

May 27, 2014

I definitely don't think it's the high attrition rate or that people are jealous of people who can sell that makes PWM less attractive.

working on multi-billion dollar mergers or trading exotic derivatives seems a lot more appealing than having to convince some rich guy that you can allocate his assets more efficiently than he can. Not to mention most of the time the actual work and asset allocation is mostly generic with a few minor tweaks to fit the clients needs.At the end of the day the institutional side will always seem more prestigious than the retail side of the business

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May 27, 2014

Why is this such a long thread? THE answer is this: PWM is plain-vanilla, often passive investing/indexing with COMPARATIVELY small sums of money (i.e. AM often also is plain vanilla/indexing but the stakes are higher).

Is it a bad job if you're good at it? Absolutely not. However, most on WSO are interested in making a career out of either deal making or active investing or trading. It's a sampling bias.

May 27, 2014

@FutureTrader66 beat me to it.

May 27, 2014

For all of the prestige junkies out there, it fades away quickly as you age. I posted above about two friends who made it in PWM and have done extremely well (and I think it really helps with the correct family network so there's no doubt about that, but that's been the case with stockbrokers since the early days-from what I know it's a very rough business in the beginning without that network). I'm also quite friendly with one of the aforementioned top group's head at a BB and multiple other successful individuals in finance and business, I've done somewhat well myself and the prestige thing fades away and just doesn't matter. One of the wealthiest guys I know dropped out of some bumblefuck college in Georgia and has made more than a billion in telecom. And boring telecom, not sitting in the c-suite at T. Being an early clec in the Deep South then getting into the tower business. Another guy I know was a jr college grad who made hundreds of millions in the retail grocery biz. They've both done better than any MD at GS TMT. And the GS TMT MD doesn't have a prestige thing feeling better than them, or the wealth management friend of mine (and I've introduced them) because he works at Goldman and they own boring businesses and Ivy doesn't grow out of their rectums or they're in lowly PWM.

Prestigious schools get you prestigious entry level IB, consulting or into prestigious bschools but after that it really doesn't matter.

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May 27, 2014
Dingdong08:

For all of the prestige junkies out there, it fades away quickly as you age. I posted above about two friends who made it in PWM and have done extremely well (and I think it really helps with the correct family network so there's no doubt about that, but that's been the case with stockbrokers since the early days-from what I know it's a very rough business in the beginning without that network).

I love that PWM kids get on here and brag that the job entails "a lot" or "mostly" playing golf and dinner while simultaneously and contrarily claiming that the work they do is more technical and interesting than banking.

Or, people like Dingdong throw ad hominem attacks at anyone who doesn't want to be in PWM by universally labeling them "prestige chasers." There's nothing wrong with prestige. There's also nothing wrong with not wanting to go into PWM. You've tossed up two examples of people that "made it" (if you can call it that) on the coattails of their fathers. Now, there isn't anything wrong with that either, but it's not an opportunity that is available to everyone.

I think the whole phenomenon can be summed up in simple terms: there's a lot of demand for information about IB/PE/Etc. on this site, and the comparatively larger group of people vying for those positions exceeds the number of those looking for PWM jobs despite the availability of more opportunities in PWM. Lots of supply and demand mismatches which results in a perceived imbalance towards ib/PE/Etc.

There's no need to start name-calling or denigrating (from either side).

May 27, 2014

Dude, I don't disagree at all. There's no reason to denigrate anyone. I work in PE and have for a while. But I do it because I truly love the art of the deal and it's near sex when I do deals (note: near). I'm ~40 and have been at the principal/partner level for a while with the means to either completely leave the business via buying a bar in the Caribbean or go to an operational role (which I've done temporarily in portfolio companies, I just disliked operations/corporate finance because the bureaucracy in corporate America made me yearn for dealing with LP's). I also truly like the area of PE that I've chosen, the lower to occasionally full MM because I've always worked at places where I could roll my sleeves up and get involved in the portfolio companies without having to go to their office every day and assume day to day responsibilities.

If I had a rich connected dad I would have loved to have had the PWM opportunity. Much better lifestyle. If that's your bag. I, and it may just be me, don't care about prestige anymore. Yes it got me laid a lot when I was younger but I could have probably owned a Harley shop and gotten laid more (albeit with girls who had lots of tattoos but there's some weird fascination with chicks with ink on a bike...). Now I, and most of the guys I know at my level, are more concerned about seeing my kids grow up and spending time with them and my wife, and that's for the most part, some guys want trophy wives and trophy kids. I don't mean this to come across as "I'm older than you and you'll understand someday" or that when I was your age we walked to school in the snow everyday, uphill, both ways, but priorities change. That said I left my last fund where I was a partner (long story, developed a strong hatred of my sr partner and we were embarking on a new fund raise and I was vested in the last fund, took some time off to be with my kids that I hardly knew and vice versa and have just entered into a new PE partnership so I obviously can't give the deal side up, but the prestige thing does wear off. While I didn't have the network to be a true PWM, I probably wouldn't have liked the sales-ey lifestyle just like I wouldn't like the sales lifestyle of friends who stayed in IB, but they actually like that work.

At the end of the day you just have to do what makes you happy. Money helps and it's cool to say you work in PE or HF's but being happy, or at least content, is the most important thing. I'm still looking for content. At 40'ish.

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May 26, 2014

Uh ok. So you know a few people who lack a prestigious educational background but have done really well for themselves. No one ever said that you need prestige to make a lot of money. This thread was specifically about PWM and why certain finance people may not want to work in it. Ultimately, PWM is about kissing rich people's ass and leveraging connections to expand your book. For people like your friends who were born with a silver spoon in their moths, more power to them, but such opportunity is not available to most people. For others such as myself who had to work from the ground up and relish a more analytically challenging role, PWM is not the right fit for us. This is not a normative issue. Do what you think will best play to your core strengths.

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May 27, 2014

Lots of butthurt ITT

Newsflash: every job is looked down on by somebody. Who cares.

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May 28, 2014

PWM is a tough business. Don't let anybody fool you with the 'lots of golf' comments. It is impossible (or nearly so) for people in their twenties to become successful in PWM. No wealthy person wants to give some kid their money.

At the upper ends of PWM, many of the people use it as a second career and came from banking or from the sales side of S&T. Some of the brokers who came from banking kill it because they have great networks and they can get paid for bringing in banking deals at some firms (especially those who are strong in IB and weak in retail brokerage).

However, a 22 year old recent college graduate from North Bumblefuck State University is going to have a hard time bringing in big accounts and is likely wasting his time in that career. He will not make it. A 42 year old from NBSU, has a much better chance, if he made a lot of good contacts over the years.

Anyway, there seems to be a lot of butthurt about PWM. Just because it's a good career for some doesn't mean it's good for you and just because it's good for you, doesn't mean it's good for someone else. It's not the best job in the world and it's not the worst job in the world. It's just a job, albeit one with a high compensation ceiling and a high attrition rate.

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May 26, 2014

Does anyone here actually work in PWM? I've been doing this for 10 years, built my book myself (without inheriting it or having a rich father) and am considered successful. I find it interesting that people with no experience in the area of PWM have so much to say about it.

I can tell you without any question that anyone at my level or above doesn't give a shit about whether other people in finance (or other fields) think our job is prestigious. And on the flip side we don't really think or worry much about the people in IB, PE, trading,...The jobs are simply different and each career has it's own set of hurdles to overcome. We are simply focused on building or maintaining our business and taking care of our clients.

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May 27, 2014

I do, haven't been at it as long as you but I think the biggest thing is people fail to see that it's not an industry where people are recruited in, trained, and then paid (like IB/PE). you have to make your own success, and because of the recruiting practices, "anyone" can break in, but the hard part is making it as you suggest.

@"milehigh" I think I have the most exciting desk job in the world, but I'm biased because I love hearing people's stories. if I had to update risk spreadsheets for $1mm accounts all day, that would be boring, but interacting with people and getting a true sense that you're taking care of their family while getting fairly compensated for it makes it everything but "awful."

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May 28, 2014

PWM is definitely more prestigious than a college monkey behind its keyboard. Simply put, there is no easy FO jobs in finance. If you can't bring in revenue and build a business you will be viewed as a nobody regardless of if you are in trading, sales, IBD, etc.

PWM can easily say they look down on all the bankers with their 80+ hour weeks. It's just a matter of what's important from one to another.

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May 28, 2014

At VP/MD level, BB PWM is more interesting than IB, in my opinion. Those guys are basically a mix between global macro buyside and sellside analysts. They do have a strategic portfolio overlay that prevents tem from suggesting big positions in specific assets, but thinking about tactical issues is what takes alot of their time.

PWM high level guys will have interesting conversations with a lot of very successfull and very wise people from very different fields and, most of the time, will be trying to help them and getting a closer connection than the IB crew.

IB high level guys will most of the time have conversations alike, but with a narrower frame. Most of the time they will be destroying value by making deals - most professionals will deny this, but it's not the greatest contribution to the world out there - maybe that's why people want the move to PE or buyside so badly.

As for kissing ass, you'll be kissing ass all day in both fields, at least for a few years. Then you'll kiss a little less ass, but still do it.

That's what I got from contacts and friends - I work in the buyside which I like better, but the buyside is definitely less social than PWM, and some people would rather be in PWM for their whole lives.

Some PWM places are worse than others though. Just ask if they sell a lot of Structured Notes. That's my personal screw-the-customer-o-meter. If they try to shove SNs too much, they'll probably be way more interested in instant fees than long term wealth planning.

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May 27, 2014

lol seriously... you have no idea what you're talking about. md's in pwm are nothing but successful pwm's that would rather be sales managers. all they do is boiler room the flavor of the week product stuffed down their throats to churn commissions and make the salesmen play nice as a referree. nothing technical what-so-ever beyond commissions monitoring.

pwm is sales/relationship management. it takes a personality, you outsource EVERYTHING that is technical in the slightest through products (portfolio managers/analysts), clerical/paperwork (client service associate/secretary), complex estates (CPAs, Attorneys). You are basically the right hand man who is trusted to make sure it's all in order so clients don't have to fuck with a single thing except dial your number when they want a withdrawal or a ticket to an event...sort of like a well paid butler.

Improving:

At VP/MD level, BB PWM is more interesting than IB, in my opinion. Those guys are basically a mix between global macro buyside and sellside analysts. They do have a strategic portfolio overlay that prevents tem from suggesting big positions in specific assets, but thinking about tactical issues is what takes alot of their time.

PWM high level guys will have interesting conversations with a lot of very successfull and very wise people from very different fields and, most of the time, will be trying to help them and getting a closer connection than the IB crew.

IB high level guys will most of the time have conversations alike, but with a narrower frame. Most of the time they will be destroying value by making deals - most professionals will deny this, but it's not the greatest contribution to the world out there - maybe that's why people want the move to PE or buyside so badly.

As for kissing ass, you'll be kissing ass all day in both fields, at least for a few years. Then you'll kiss a little less ass, but still do it.

That's what I got from contacts and friends - I work in the buyside which I like better, but the buyside is definitely less social than PWM, and some people would rather be in PWM for their whole lives.

Some PWM places are worse than others though. Just ask if they sell a lot of Structured Notes. That's my personal screw-the-customer-o-meter. If they try to shove SNs too much, they'll probably be way more interested in instant fees than long term wealth planning.

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

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May 26, 2014

I make 3X what my sales manager makes and the top producer in my office makes close to 10X. I promise you that none of the bigger producers have any interest in being a sales manager. As far as your boiler room, stuff the product down their throat comment....you have no fucking clue what you are talking about.

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May 29, 2014

Really...A boiler room? Cmon man, we aren't talking about chop shops from the 80's and 90's. A lot of time the sales managers and other members of the management team are failed brokers

Sure, joining as 20 something year old, cold calling all day, trying to build your book from scratch sucks. That is far from the only opportunity available. You keep mentioning outsourcing, which can be the case from a small team or individual broker. I look around the office and see plenty of teams that have the secretary, ops, research analyst, trader, relationship manager, PM, estate and insurance specialist all in the group.

@TDSWIM you are crazy for turning down 10% on a 500MM book with nothing else lined up. How much revenue were they bringing in?

as for females..I see very few join as a trainee. You will see some attractive ones get hired to be an assistant or join a team as a relationship managed. That being said, there are quite a bit of successful female brokers and its definitely not uncommon to see

May 28, 2014
WalMartShopper:

lol seriously... you have no idea what you're talking about. md's in pwm are nothing but successful pwm's that would rather be sales managers. all they do is boiler room the flavor of the week product stuffed down their throats to churn commissions and make the salesmen play nice as a referree. nothing technical what-so-ever beyond commissions monitoring.

pwm is sales/relationship management. it takes a personality, you outsource EVERYTHING that is technical in the slightest through products (portfolio managers/analysts), clerical/paperwork (client service associate/secretary), complex estates (CPAs, Attorneys). You are basically the right hand man who is trusted to make sure it's all in order so clients don't have to fuck with a single thing except dial your number when they want a withdrawal or a ticket to an event...sort of like a well paid butler.

I guess you're either guessing or you work at a less-than-ideal environment.

I have PWM MD friends at a BB and some of them are very smart and well informed. Not all of their views are original, since a good part of the strategic and tactical planning work is centralized, but then again a lot of HF global macro mid-to-senior people may be prone to the same thing.

I also have UHNW friends that are PWM clients - it's pretty easy to identify the people that work like you (or whoever is your reference point). Those have some success with basketball players or naive singers, but I think it's not that easy to just shove some crap into well informed people, and that's why the best places and professionals don't do a lot of that.

It is actually much easier to "sell" a crappy acquisition, since many ego-driven CEOs also want to follow the value destruction path, as long as they get a bigger empire or whatever.

I don't think IB is better or worse than PWM - both are pretty good jobs with pretty similar limitations, but I feel this kind of hatred is unjustified. As a junior, you'll be doing monkey-business in almost any path. As a senior, you'll be meeting with interesting people in almost any path as well.

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May 28, 2014

PWM is looked down upon on this site, not in the real world. It is looked down upon on this site because it is not a stepping stone to PE or HF where people under the boss actually make $$$. In pwm, the advisor makes $ and everyone else does alright, but usually not great, it's just unnecessary to have lots of highly paid people under the advisor. Also, pwm pigeon holes you into pwm. So for a young professional, it's not the most ideal place to start. Moving from ib/hf/pe/accounting/insurance into pwm is all easily possible, while moving from pwm to ib/hf/pe doesn't really happen much. PWM is also an older man's game.

You need a big network to succeed. So if a large majority of your network are all other people in pwm...those aren't potential clients. A lot of people lateral over to PWM after successful careers in IB, law, accounting, and build great books based on their networks.

PWM is asset allocation + manager (fund) selection, very interesting stuff as it investment driven, but it is not individual Security Analysis, it is not valuation, and that is the big difference.

May 28, 2014

i'm sure the sample of PWM individuals on this site are more of the successful or will be successful variety in PWM...the problem is, MANY people are contacted or at some point in time actually have invested with a PWM person that is absolutely retarded and does not know a damn thing about how the market works or what is truly happening on the street...Nor does that person give a shit once they get your funds. I.e. I had a PWM guy telling my grandmother that XOM was most likely going to buy MRO so she should consider investing with him because he had the best "ideas," yes you heard that idea right.

The Eddie Jones and feeder road Ray Jay's don't help the cause either.

One other point to consider is who do you think is more in-tune with the Street or certain sectors? The buy-side guy who is hitting up every sell-side analyst worth talking to; the sell-side analyst worth talking to; or some guy at JPM who comes from a family of physicians and so he has accounts and plays golf a few times a week? My money is on the guys grinding out the research and conferences not the State U guy who didn't know what to do and went into PWM.

Long story short, PWM is all about sales. Sales people, even equity sales people, are usually much less sophisticated and well educated than their Buy-Side and Senior SS Analyst types. They also are much more about leisure vs busting ass every morning at 7 am.

And finally, anyone can get the job in PWM and in some cases equity sales is very lax.. they may not last, but practically any assclown can get in and that dilutes the image

May 29, 2014
dutchduke:

And finally, anyone can get the job in PWM and in some cases equity sales is very lax.. they may not last, but practically any assclown can get in and that dilutes the image

Well this just isn't true. You really think you can walk into an office at a top PB/PWM firm and get a job? This isn't Northwestern Mutual, Edward Jones, Ameriprise, AXA we are talking about. You also seem to be confusing retail/branch banking with actual PB/PWM roles

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May 28, 2014
Bobb:
dutchduke:

And finally, anyone can get the job in PWM and in some cases equity sales is very lax.. they may not last, but practically any assclown can get in and that dilutes the image

Well this just isn't true. You really think you can walk into an office at a top PB/PWM firm and get a job? This isn't Northwestern Mutual, Edward Jones, Ameriprise, AXA we are talking about. You also seem to be confusing retail/branch banking with actual PB/PWM roles

I understand there is a slightly higher barrier at PWM at the real banks, but compared to buy-side and Senior SS bretheren it rings true. I can see how it appears I am mixing the roles, but the roles are essentially the same. Some guys chase $10MM+ accounts and have dedicated teams, some guys at Merril chase $250K+ accounts on their own and follow Merril's set plans. It's the same and barrier to entry is low regardless.

As for equity sales, the dumbest people I've ever come across have been in equity sales AND they were pretty much all Financial Advisors for low net worth individuals at Legg, UBS and other assorted shops

May 26, 2014
Bobb:
dutchduke:

And finally, anyone can get the job in PWM and in some cases equity sales is very lax.. they may not last, but practically any assclown can get in and that dilutes the image

Well this just isn't true. You really think you can walk into an office at a top PB/PWM firm and get a job? This isn't Northwestern Mutual, Edward Jones, Ameriprise, AXA we are talking about. You also seem to be confusing retail/branch banking with actual PB/PWM roles

I'm pretty sure this is what everyone is basing their "knowledge" of PWM on - their bros bro who worked at NWM. Massive difference in "pwm" at a family office or RIA or ultra high net worth group vs NWMutual etc.

Lol at "all you do is passive investing with ETFs"

I'm fine with people dying to spend 100 hours a week in IBD and not know there are clusters of high paying roles across the country within PWM where you work half the hours and aren't destroyed on taxes. Wish rogersterling would jump in on this too

May 28, 2014

...were all previously advisors at those shops (is what I meant)

May 28, 2014

@application-advice, @debitcredito, @Dingdong08, @thebrofessor all have it right for the most part.

Any questions @Henry Kissinger about PWM, feel free to refer to my AMA (http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/ama-im-a-senio...).

I'm sure I'm not repeating anything that already hasn't been said, but PB/PWM and IB are very similar at the top of the pyramid. The MD's in my office sell products and advice to ultra high net worth individuals and families just like MD's in IB sell underwriting and advisory advice to corporations. They're virtually one in the same at that level. The bottom level is a little different in that PWM analysts are learning portfolio management, proper asset allocation, intricate products (structured products, lending, equities, fixed income, derivatives, seperately managed accounts, hedge funds, private equity, etc.) and, of course, sales. IB analysts definitely spend more time with excel, powerpoint, financial statements, pitchbooks blah blah blah and yes, they arguably have better exit opportunities and higher prestige but that prestige definitely fades a few years post-undergrad.

What I will say is that PWM, unlike IB, gets paid a lot relative to the hours you work. Top BB analysts get paid $60-70k as a first year and with bonus net around $130-135k after 3 years and work 10-12 hours a day. It obviously depends on what you're willing to take: the grueling all nighters + weekends, making the same or slightly higher for 1.5-2 years or 8-8PM 5 days/week. We work market hours and thus our lives revolve around it. IB works around their clients' hours which could be all times of the day/night.

I know several people in IB and quite honestly, even the ones who've stayed as 3-year analysts and ultimately promoted to associates, hate it. They value the skills and deal exposure, but the bureaucracy vs. meritocracy battle in IB is too much to handle. It's one long hazing event for years on end until you make it to VP and you move more into a sales/relationship-based role. There are some VPs, DIRs, and MDs that are pure execution bankers but a majority, at that level, are supposed to source deals/revenue (much like their PWM counterparts).

PWM will always get a bad rap for being a sales-y gig and depending on the shop, it may involve little to no analysis at all. However, for those that matriculate from analysts to associates and go on to build sucessful networks and books of business to very well. We have guys that do north of $5MM a year and they work from 6AM-3PM PST, play golf, see their kids, etc.

You chose...

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May 27, 2014
DoYouLikePhilCollins:

PWM will always get a bad rap for being a sales-y gig and depending on the shop, it may involve little to no analysis at all. However, for those that matriculate from analysts to associates and go on to build sucessful networks and books of business to very well. We have guys that do north of $5MM a year and they work from 6AM-3PM PST, play golf, see their kids, etc.

You chose...

This is illusory rhetoric, though, because PWM directors clearing $5mm are at least top decile performers, probably more like top 5%. The "choice" is not between slave labor in IBD and a cool five mil in PWM and Thursday afternoons on the links.

There are a number of fields in which the top 5% clears over a mil each year. Your chances of doing so are much higher if you start your career as an IBD analyst than if you start in PWM.

May 29, 2014

I, for one, don't look down on PWM. In fact, going that route is still a temptation for me. Here's my story - I'm from a smaller town in the US with S&P constituent companies close by and all the money that goes along with that. I interned at a mid-sized PWM firm, where I did research, portfolio analysis, recommended trades for the licensed brokers, and never was asked to pick up the phone to cold call. The phones were ringing off the hook as it was.

Three guys at the branch office manage a reasonable book of business of around a half billion, and these guys make no effort to acquire new business. Ten hours is considered a "long day." They liked me there, and offered me 10% of branch revenue to be a junior broker and continue doing what I was doing while helping to fill in for the other brokers and getting to know the clients.

The reason I didn't jump on this opportunity, in spite of 100k+ earnings potential in a low cost of living area, was the exit opportunities or lack thereof. From my perspective, while I may be really well off by local standards, I'd never have the opportunity to be involved in deals and be in the thick of things. I might be placing muni-bond or corporate new issues at the ground level, but I'd never be anywhere close to the center of the action. Giving up on going for that discouraged me from going into PWM.

I chose getting a solid technical skill set in a larger market first. I think getting some age on me and ultimately a better head on my shoulders would only help me to do better in PWM if I do decide to go down that path someday. If any of you guys have a good opportunity such as the above, or potentially even better, by all means go for it, but be aware of the more limited exit opportunities due to having a softer skill set.

Personally, I know several people that were by no means top talent and have no business managing anybodies money go into PWM. So perhaps the low barriers to entry, as others in this thread have probably already mentioned, also contribute to the lack of prestige.

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May 28, 2014

This is a very understanding feeling about PWM. It's a great place to end up, but maybe not the best to start. I've been in PB/PWM for 6 years and it's all I know. I have a very good understanding of what it takes to succeed in this business. That being said, it may be a safer (also harder) bet to go to IB if you want to take the 'traditional high finance track.'

What you need to realize is that IN THE END, you'll need to be a salesman no matter what. Whether you work in P/E/IBD or PWM, you'll need to sell something at some point in order to get paid. Some PWM's push their firms' products onto their clients, but most (if not all), have a fiduciary responsibility to look after their client's money in the best manner with a risk appetite appropriate for each client. If this were't the case, PWM bankers would lose clients left and right.

May 29, 2014

Is it harder for females to succeed in PWM, given that you'll be going out a lot with clients?

New User

May 29, 2014
yeeboyeee:

Is it harder for females to succeed in PWM, given that you'll be going out a lot with clients?

Quite the opposite from what I've seen, but it might be best to get a second or even third opinion from someone who's actually worked in the industry on a full time basis.

May 27, 2014

hard to say, very few females enter my firm's trainee program, and most who do are coming from an admin role within a team, so they are essentially guaranteed success. very very seldom do you see a female breaking in and doing the traditional cold calling & seminar stuff, so since my sample size is so small, I can't say for sure if it's harder to break in.

traditionally, this has been a man's business, and that's not me being a chauvinist, that's the facts. for years, men were the sole breadwinners of the household (think: greatest generation ever & the earlier boomers), and the breadwinners managed the family finances. men want to work with men for the most part, so men were in PWM. now that the demographics of the American family are changing (no longer the traditional nuclear family), you will see more and more females in PWM, plus since females live longer than men (statistically) and the greatest generation ever is dying out and boomers are retiring, you will begin to see a demand for more female friendly advisors (which in some cases means having a female on the team).

to give you some hard numbers, in my metro area (tier 2 city, not a Chicago, NYC, or LA) there are 20 or so million dollar producers ($1mm in trailing 12mo revenue, a general benchmark for someone who's "made it," this will equate to $450k+ in income, depending on tenure, title will be SVP, Director, or MD depending on the firm), and out of that we have 2 females. I should also mention that my office (about 1/3 of our metro area's advisors) only has 2 females in it, neither of whom are big producers.

I think that realistically, it's not harder for a woman to succeed, it's just frikkin hard period.

May 28, 2014
yeeboyeee:

Is it harder for females to succeed in PWM, given that you'll be going out a lot with clients?

Honestly, the golf and outings with clients is over played. Our clients were mostly ceos/founders, all super busy. Most communication was email/phone and meetings were once every few months and cancelled often, a dinner here or there, but no hard drinking strip club stuff.

Now, PWM is harder for women because most of the rich people are older men. I'm not saying this is right or wrong but it is reality. Most these older men don't trust women to know enough about finance (especially a woman half their age). There was a woman in my office who overcame this, because she was a beast and was one of the most financially sophisticated and well spoken in the office, but she worked on the investing side, not solely responsible for bringing in clients.

In PWM you need a big network and a way of constantly meeting new prospects. There are non producing roles at big shops though that are very good gigs, so don't think it's always sales, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. This is where the going out comes into play, newer advisors spend a lot of time going to networking events, joining boards of different charities or museums and stuff like that. That's where I see it as kind of sucking, who wants to go around being the person with a hidden agenda at all these things? Hey, but that's sales. If you were an MD at an IB you would need to develop relationships with these same CEOs in order to help win the business. Established advisors don't do as much of this as their book can grow from within with referrals and clients having IPOs/liquidity events etc..

Shitty part is that at a lot of the top shops you are only rewarded for increase of assets not old assets. Which straight up sucks. So the selling never ends. On your own, once your fees provide you with the amount of money you are happy with, you can sell or not sell as much as you want depending on what your goals are (more free time vs more money).

May 27, 2014

I find the hard drinking, strip club, golfing thing funny because of what I do. I work in lower MM PE where one of the big things I've always done is to court private owners, be it family businesses or entrepreneurs, who are in the sales mode. Fortunately or unfortunately, these guys are in the romance phase and they think, rightfully, that they're at the top of the world: it doesn't matter if it's a bolt on or a pure acquisition for us, if you own a $20-500MM+ company largely outright you should think you're the bomb and want all of the accoutrements of that. These are the guys who want to be wined and dined and have girls brought to them. Call girls just don't do anything for me but I have a few of all different colors, shapes and sizes, belong to a few clubs and country clubs and I hate that life. But even if this isn't how a person normally, when they're in the mode of selling their baby, they suddenly want all of that, especially when they see their largest payday ever on the horizon. I can anecdotally give an example of a guy selling his ~$200MM ev company who was a strict catholic, I think he was a knight of the holy sepulcher or some fucked up thing like that, and all he wanted was girls, booze, drugs, golfing at really exclusive courses and sailing junkets with all of the above in great quantity. So if PWM guys have to occasionally do that, god bless. I've had to burn all of my clothes and go to Betty Ford after a couple of deals.

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May 29, 2014

Investment Bankers = Deal Makers

PWM = Sales people

Not that it's bad, but it's just a different world. PWM folks do not go and meet face-to-face with CEOs and CFOs.

May 26, 2014

Who do you think manages the CEO and CFO's money?

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May 27, 2014

1. deal making is sales

2. I work with C-suite execs

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May 29, 2014
FormerHornetDriver:

Not that it's bad, but it's just a different world. PWM folks do not go and meet face-to-face with CEOs and CFOs.

That's funny. I was just meeting with a CEO and CFO of a company who we manage both the corporate accounts and their personal accounts.

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May 29, 2014

This site has threads every week about women sleeping with more than 2 guys being a whore and which chapstick is more elite and people wonder why PWM is discounted or people shit on it for no reason?

PWM is easy to get into and hard to succeed in. Banking is hard to get into and easy to succeed in. Who gives a fuck what anyone thinks.

And kids on this site should learn to judge people by their merits and actions instead of their job. Plenty of Losers in banking. Regretfully when you have a cyber army of virgins swaying opinions you get group think like this.

May 28, 2014

Whoever said that comment about not meeting with CEOs and CFOs is COMPLETELY wrong. Who do you think make up the majority of people with millions in investable assets? CEOs/founders/execs... They make up most of the clients actually.

I worked on a team focused on finance execs at a BB PB. Our clients were mainly top hf guys, top pe guys, top ib guys, founders of some big buyside firms. As an analyst, it was awesome because I got to sit in on meetings with founders/ceos of TOP HF/PE. Even better, my MD would tell them I was a good analyst which put me in a good position to get a job there which very few in PWM have, good thing I was on the finance team. We would manage money for some of the most sophisticated and experienced people on wall street, combining their view on the market with our banks' view...funny thing is, is that they are sometimes easier clients than a guy who started a jean company because when the market goes down....they don't blame your bank.

May 26, 2014

We are always in ties and we don't have many clients in here -- most advisors go to the client (UHNW) rather than make them come in here and I'll always wear a suit those days but I generally have an emergency blazer and will wear khakis dress pants shirt and tie

My advisor hates family offices and avoids the institutions since he thinks they're more trouble than their revenue lol

May 27, 2014
shorttheworld:

My advisor hates family offices and avoids the institutions since he thinks they're more trouble than their revenue lol

that's how we feel. there's a different mindset you have to have when pitching somebody to win a pot of money that's not theirs (CFO of family office, board of directors of non-profit, etc.).

they also operate as extremely different businesses, with different service/admin needs as well as different communication needs, we'd almost need to double staff to handle an institutional book.

May 26, 2014

PWM is a dying field with automated platforms such as weatherfront rendering sleezy brokers useless.

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May 27, 2014

I agree with the spirit of what you're saying but I think you're off base. yes, because of things like wealthfront, learnvest, and betterment, "sleezy" brokers will have a much harder time being successful and like all other things, seek opportunity elsewhere since there's no money to be made if you're bad at what you do.
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what I disagree with is that PWM is a dying field. one thing that this forum fails to understand is there are individuals out there who do not care to invest their money for themselves, either for lack of interest, aptitude, patience, etc. and wish to hire someone to do it for them. wealthfront et al provide a platform with which to invest your money in the market, but what they don't do is provide personalized service to ensure that what someone is doing is appropriate for the goals they're trying to accomplish.
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what's more, good brokers will help with other issues that wealthfront can't handle, like equity comp for execs, estate planning, education planning, access to alternative investments not otherwise accessible, and the intangible things, like helping someone through a crisis (market correction, death, divorce, etc.). good advisors will always have value, so while I agree that those online platforms will squeeze out the bad apples, good advisors will always have a place.

Jun 3, 2014

Couple of questions for the experienced PWM guys.

1. What percent of you clients are advisory (fee based) clients vs brokerage clients (commish per trade)?
2. Of your AUM how much is managed (funds, ETFs, SMAs) vs individual stocks/bonds?
3. When you are talking about pitching an institution are you pitching them asking to manage their money on a fee basis or are you trying to show a trade idea?
4. If you work at a place with its own asset manager/fund family (JPM, UBS, Wells) do you feel pressured to push those funds on your clients?
5. Thoughts on wholesalers?

May 27, 2014

1. advisory and fee based are 2 different things. the % of our clients who pay us in some sort of recurring revenue arrangement (advisory, PE, Alts, insurance), is north of 80%.

2. most is managed (aside from other stuff like insurance, Alts, PE, etc), individual positions are not a focus of our business, but within SMAs and managed accounts you have individual stocks & bonds, so I'm bit perplexed by your question.

3. we never pitch trade ideas.

4. I work at a BB, and we do zero business with our in house Asset Management/fund families, it's all done by our team or outsourced to third party managers. and we never feel pressured, I'm thankful that (at least our team) are never approached by capital markets/management who say "start selling XYZ fund, we're trying to get it out of inventory."

5. a necessary nuisance. I'm glad that some of them are shifting from being product pushers to focusing on doing research on how we can build our business, instead of saying why their Large Cap Value fund is so much better than what we're using this quarter. I still dread every time I see caller ID or email with "_____ funds" and I haven't reached out to them, but I understand they're doing their jobs so I'm never a dick (intentionally).

@"Mimbs" I don't mind sharing, but why do you want to know?

May 26, 2014

we have a mix of advisory and brokerage clients but mostly advisory -- brokerage is for stuff they may want to do on the side or certain types of investments.

I think on our team we have mostly managed but we do asset allocation across both our own accounts and our clients other accounts -- 'quarterbacking' in a CIO type of role for the UHNW client or family LLC

we will show them our strategy that we would use to handle their money but it always varies -- we might pitch a specific AI or complex idea to a family office or link them up with our dealflow and have them co invest in some merchant banking activities, etc

dont feel pressured at all -- in fact the only thing we really use from our family is one of our AI funds. I've heard GS and JP might be a bit different though.

wholesalers at our level are usually the institutional guys or they know what is going on to a degree - i generally tell them to bring a product manager or portfolio manager so that we can get some more intricacies -- there are some wholesalers who know their product and their markets though

Jun 4, 2014

PWM is very broad and it has two parameters:

1. The type of client you service
2. The role you have within your team/firm

The vast majority of jobs in PWM do more of a client relationship role for clients in the 200k - 3m in assets range. I would not like to do that.

The client's I service are in the 5mm - 50mm range, and my role is purely in the investment management area, but I face the client. What I mean is that I don't advice the brokers, I advice the clients directly. I love my job, I make what a 1-2 year IB analyst makes, but I work 50-55 hour weeks. I follow the markets like a hawk and I have a very in depth knowledge of the USD fixed income market (relative to the average person).

Jobs like mine are out there in PWM, but they are rare. Like I said, the bulk of the PWM roles are shitty Client Relationship Management roles for 'small' accounts. That is probably why PWM gets bad rap.

Jun 5, 2014

With banks thirsting for reoccurring fee revenue that PWM groups bring in, it is actually becoming easier to be successful in PWM without an existing wealthy or deep network. Depending on the organization, banks are incentivizing the IB and C&IB bankers to create introductions between the C-suite execs/business owners and the PWM teams. Don't think for a second that you can get by on only a strong sales game when interacting with this level of individual. PWM teams are offering much more than "asset allocation" strategies that a brokerage house may live by. The best PWM teams are providing advisory services for asset protection, succession planning, estate planning, hedging strategies for concentrated positions and management of large blocks of stock options, and other unique and complex financial situations that many executives have. The investment strategies are typically more sophisticated with the utilization of private equity, hedge funds, private placement, and structured investments that are often engineered specifically for an individual client. At the end of the day its different strokes for different folks, but the guys cashing the big paychecks regardless of what industry they're in aren't concerned about what anyone else is saying or doing.

Jun 20, 2014

I'm an Associate Advisor at a small firm. I've been in PWM for 2 years now and I can say there are some good points in this thread so far. This job is 100% sales. You don't really need a finance degree to do it (although it will probably help you get the job initially.)

One thing I'm sure of - The firm you join up with will be the determining factor. I'm signed on as an independent, meaning I'm technically self-employed. There has been a huge shift in the industry of advisors leaving the BB channel and moving to the independent side. Most advisors at BB's will be on a 50-65% payout, meaning the firm is keeping a very solid chunk of their commissions. My team signed on to our BD at a 90% (which is rare).

My hours suck. The work sucks. I cold call constantly. I'm forced to be sales-y ALL the time. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel... The two guys who own this branch are both in their early 30's, they work 40 hours a week maximum, and they generated gross commissions last year of $500k. I imagine that after their payout and all fee's, they both probably took home about $400k.

There is no other side of this industry (that I know of) where you can work so little and get paid so much. The work-life balance is fantastic at the top level - getting there is VERY hard. The plus side is that it all boils down to YOU. You don't have to rely on kissing ass and office politics. If you kick ass and take names, you can do very well.

Jun 20, 2014

Its just a matter of prestige ...IBD tends to be thought of as more prestigious than PWM. Nothing wrong with PWM, as long as its something you're into.

Good Luck.

Wally!

Jun 20, 2014

OP can you explain why you think PWM > IBD? Just curious.

Jun 20, 2014

PWM appeals to me more because of what the actual job entails. I like the idea of working with clients and their families. I think the financial planning piece does allow for a different kind of creativity, one that I think impacts your clients on a more personal level but can also be about more than just high returns (e.g. in the case of charitable giving). The sales component sounds fun and challenging to me, but in a way that involves a lot of human interaction. I would be lying if I didn't say the better work-life balance sounds nice and overall I think the job is meaningful and stressful in different ways than ibd, ways that are admittedly less intense and for other reasons more attractive to me.

I've also talked to some friends who work in ibd for BBs and I haven't found their experiences at all endearing to the trade.

But I think ultimately I've always been someone who hasn't factored prestige too much into my decision making process . . . I care way more if I'm happy with what I'm doing.

Jun 20, 2014

Haha what an idiot, he's in self denial right now

You know what you basically did? Choosing PWM over IBD is like choosing Penn State for college over an ivy league school. You're right now talking about "how you like the atmosphere at penn state and it's more work life balance blah blah blah" but at the end of the day you know what you are? An idiot.

It's okay you can always just look on the bright side - you let another applicant get the internship LOL!

Jun 20, 2014
chubbybunny:

Haha what an idiot, he's in self denial right now

You know what you basically did? Choosing PWM over IBD is like choosing Penn State for college over an ivy league school. You're right now talking about "how you like the atmosphere at penn state and it's more work life balance blah blah blah" but at the end of the day you know what you are? An idiot.

It's okay you can always just look on the bright side - you let another applicant get the internship LOL!

Grow up.

Jun 20, 2014
chubbybunny:

Haha what an idiot, he's in self denial right now

You know what you basically did? Choosing PWM over IBD is like choosing Penn State for college over an ivy league school. You're right now talking about "how you like the atmosphere at penn state and it's more work life balance blah blah blah" but at the end of the day you know what you are? An idiot.

It's okay you can always just look on the bright side - you let another applicant get the internship LOL!

Ha ha I think it is you who comes accross as the idiot!

Jun 20, 2014
chubbybunny:

Haha what an idiot, he's in self denial right now

You know what you basically did? Choosing PWM over IBD is like choosing Penn State for college over an ivy league school. You're right now talking about "how you like the atmosphere at penn state and it's more work life balance blah blah blah" but at the end of the day you know what you are? An idiot.

It's okay you can always just look on the bright side - you let another applicant get the internship LOL!

You do realize majority of you IBD analysts/associates tries to hard to exit to Asset Management side, sometimes working for family trusts?

Jun 20, 2014
chubbybunny:

Haha what an idiot, he's in self denial right now

You know what you basically did? Choosing PWM over IBD is like choosing Penn State for college over an ivy league school. You're right now talking about "how you like the atmosphere at penn state and it's more work life balance blah blah blah" but at the end of the day you know what you are? An idiot.

It's okay you can always just look on the bright side - you let another applicant get the internship LOL!

Hahaha wow, you really have nothing better to do than sit around in your parent's basement and rip on this guy who's doing what he wants to do. Go back to playing xbox, douchebag.
@UndermyhandQuarter, don't listen to the people who diss PWM, rumors aren't true. Good luck!

Jun 20, 2014

^ :) I guess we're just different people. Hope you got the offer I passed up

Jun 20, 2014

PWM is sweet if you have a rolodex of wealthy pigeons. Punch in at 10, punch out at 2, and let your assistants do the scut work while you cruise.

If you do not have said rolodex, you better have some amazing sales skills.

Jun 20, 2014

i don't blame you. i could never work in IBD.

Jun 20, 2014

Coldcalling is a bitch. I couldn't do that for long periods of time.

Jun 20, 2014

lol nothing wrong with PWM, never did it myself, but have met plenty of alumni who went down that path. If you do well there, you can make more than enough most people on this forum would be happy with, and still get home to have fun with kids.

of course you probably won't beat IBD salaries, but you'll still better if you were gonna burn out in IBD anyway.

Jun 20, 2014

I would strongly advise you against working in pwm. I did a pwm internship, and believe me it was very dull. clients dont know shit about financial markets but think theyre complete geniuses just because they know what a high p/e ratio means. the products are boring. dealing with iras and estate planning.

and most ppl dont make any money. theres too much freakin competition its unbelievable. Every single HNWI in the state will have had 200 different advisors trying to get him to his savings in a managed account.

unless you are already rich and have a upper class social circle that u can tap into, dont bother. not tryin to put u down but thats how it is.

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Jun 20, 2014

You guys realize there is a major difference between PWM and GWM right?

Say you work at Merrill or UBS and you are part of their wealth management program where you are in a branch with a financial advisor and the team. This is considered by and large "global wealth management" by many firms or GWM. The majority of people here are right.. you're looking at people to put in wrap accounts that have anywhere from 100k to 500k, maybe a couple million. That's the "High Net Worth" title that makes kids think they are doing something they are not when they take these internships.

Then, in my experience, there is PWM or Private Wealth Management which, to be honest, does work with Financial Advisors, but it is more of a corporate role where you connect all the sides of the business. This is where I started right out of school with Smith Barney, where there were only ~75 clients across the entire firm. These were the clients that required over a cool $100 MM to even be considered.

The PWM role was not just working with advisors, and I wasn't in any sort of a branch. It wasn't cold calling or pitching prospects at all, which I understand is the major drag of GWM because you're not learning anything financially related in those situations. I stuck with that role for about a year until Morgan Stanley bought Smith Barney, then I hopped over to the Morgan Stanley side to work with their institutional Asset Management and I'm studying for my CFA level 2 right now.

I'm not trying to talk about how unique and special my situation is, but PWM in a corporate office (NOT A BRANCH) is not a bad start. GWM on the other hand, where you are cold calling, getting coffee and playing freecell all day is something you should reconsider unless it's the summer after freshman year or something.

Jun 20, 2014
cjohn09:

Kudos for the only real post in this thread so far.

Jun 20, 2014

My 2 cents,

I definitely think that IBs get more respect than PWMs. The reasoning behind this can be valid; IB's work much longer hours, more rigorous work, more concentrated work in larger markets. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that PWM in a large market probably isn't that bad, given the fact that your are able to make many contacts and network (on your own time outside of work). However, competition in PWM large markets is fierce, and if that is something that you can't handle, then it's not for you. On the contrary, if you can make great contacts and are excellent in networking for yourself, then I think that with regards to earning potential for PWM > IBD, with less strenuous work involved.

Now PWM at a branch office is completely different. I have a friend that is PWM @ BAML branch, and no offense to this guy or anything , but this guy has no clue what the fuck he is doing. However, he is doing very well for himself. Why? cause he made great contacts in a smaller market which caused him to take a large share of HNWIs in this specific area.

So I guess in the end the answer really lies in a successful combination of a.) your skill set b.) work ethics c.) longer term goals d.) networking capabilities e.) current market dynamics

Hope this helps OP

Jun 20, 2014

On a general level positions in IBD do have an amount of prestige associated with them that isn't necessaruly evident in PWM. With a background in IBD you are much more versatile in your career path than in wealth management

I can definitely understand where you are coming from as far as helping families and working with clients and things along that line. However; a word of warning: Don't be mistaken. On an analyst level, these cliens are the same to you as companies are to an I banking analyst... numbers that deliver basis points that eventually reach your pocket. Regardless of which one you do, you are going to end up cranking in front of a computer all day. You will be lucky to get in front of 1 client on a summer analyst level, and won't get client interaction to the level that you are describing until you hit VP.

My opininon, if you have the option, do IBD... but hey, its your journey man.

Jun 20, 2014

That's not true, PurpleReign, while client relationships are a much larger part of VPs/MDs jobs, depending on the firm, associates get a solid amount of client interaction and I believe analysts do as well. Once again, highly firm-specific.

And chubbybunny, I didn't go to a top 25 school in favor of a bottom-quarter, top 100 school. I must be fucking retarded, huh?

Jun 20, 2014

There is nothing wrong with PWM. It is a great career where if you are good you can make 7 figures while living a relatively stress-free lifestyle (rare in finance). Different strokes for different folks. The fact that you can make your own decisions without going with the herd or blindly chasing prestige tells me that you will do very well for yourself.

Jun 20, 2014

Double post.

Jun 20, 2014

Was wondering whether wealth management and private banking has better exit opportunities than sales? A lot of people keep saying that its basically a glorified sales job.

Jun 20, 2014

Sales within S&T probably provides better exit opps than non-FO divisions.

Jun 20, 2014

I'm actually wondering about Sales within S&T, what exactly do you do all day and what are the hours like?

Jun 20, 2014

Nothing is wrong with it. Cjohn's post was great, I even feel that there's nothing wrong with working in a branch if that if you want to be an FA.

fdba Emory Blaine and BBA or otherwise trying to find the perfect pseudonym.

Jun 20, 2014

-

Jun 20, 2014

Work in PWM and trade in your free time. PWM is less time consuming than a lot of other finance careers, and I guess that is one of the perks. I knew this kid that worked PWM and traded Forex, and combined was making pretty good money. Than when trading jobs are more plentiful you can use your experience from PWM mixed with your trading record to help find the job you are looking for. Good luck.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Jun 20, 2014

What are they offering as far as compensation, if you go the PWM route?

If the $ is there, may be worth considering, whilest applying for positions u r more interested in.

Jun 20, 2014
jeffsmonte:

What are they offering as far as compensation, if you go the PWM route?

If the $ is there, may be worth considering, whilest applying for positions u r more interested in.

At least for first three years, base is the same with guys in IBD/ S&T, but i have no idea about bonus.

Jun 20, 2014

if you are not going the fa route, pwm is ok...

Jun 20, 2014
CaliforniaAnalyst:

if you are not going the fa route, pwm is ok...

Thanks for the comment. Can you elaborate more? I heard that they have some teams dedicated to tactical trade idea generations, portfolio construction, derivatives hedging and so on, which seems quite interesting (even it's not that cool compared with S&T). Is it hard to break in these product groups as fresh graduates?

By the way, this job will be with main office (London/ NYC), not in regional office, does it make difference?

Jun 20, 2014

stay away. What happens if you dont bring in the business...out on your behind...but I guess thats everywhere.
You won't have many transferrable skills (at least that are looked well upon) besides sales.

Jun 20, 2014
LAWM:

stay away. What happens if you dont bring in the business...out on your behind...but I guess thats everywhere.
You won't have many transferrable skills (at least that are looked well upon) besides sales.

Thanks for the comment. So, what's my best bet? Will the jobs in product group of PWM make me look better in terms of transferable skills? This PWM job is put into analyst class (same training / base salary) with IBD/S&T, and based in central offices like London NYC HK. Will this make it a bit better than those FAs in regional offices?

Sorry for asking silly questions, I have no idea about PWM even after I did some homework.

Jun 20, 2014

Products groups are def a better option if possible. But even then, you're catering to the retail side. So you'll know your product and goal is to sell / answer questions that advisors have. Most of the transitions I've seen are to wholesaler / distribution jobs at IM firms / hf's.
A rare few have gotten into ER but that was a few years ago...not sure how common that is now.

Jun 30, 2018

I feel the need to chime in because my younger cousin, who attends a non-target, came across this post and has set his sight on PWM, since I have made such a "good career" out of PWM myself in the last 5-10 years and this thread, for whatever reason, has convinced him that it's all rainbows and butterflies. While the above posts are mostly true, there are a few VERY important points that have been left out that would be helpful for anyone considering this industry.

Quick background about myself: came from a dirt poor family, and no, I don't mean 80k household income, I mean minimum wage. I work in PWM at a well-respected BB, was accepted into several M7 schools, worked 80+ hours a week my first few years cold-calling businesses to build my client base. Actually, that's not entirely true, because see, what the recruiters don't tell you is that since most people don't make it in PWM, all of their accounts go to the remaining ones who have made it, and thus I inherited accounts along the way. I was interested in IBD in college, but the thought of making 100k (at the time) and slowly moving up to a few hundred thousand after 5 years did not appeal to me at all. I needed money, and I needed it fast. So, after getting the tour around the nice ivory offices that showcased the dozens of million and multi-million dollar producers, I was hooked. I thought it was possible, that I was going to be special enough to be part of the 10% that makes it. I knew the attrition rate of "making it" was approximately 10% and that is was just a sales job, but none of that stuff triggers in your brain because we only see the highlight reel of PWM. The autonomy, the 20-40 hour work weeks, the pearly white smiles of everyone that always seem happy, the "work life" balance, sponsored golf events, steak dinners, etc. It blinds you: makes you think it's real, even possible.

Well, after graduating college, I did go on to make 100k my first year. In fact, I've never made less than 100k since I've started in this industry, with most years ranging around 150-300k (and some weeks I only work 20 hours now). BUT what people in PWM don't tell you about is the pressure and stress that comes with the job. Sure, we're not crunching Excel spreadsheets and editing Powerpoints 80-100 hours a week, but we're constantly at risk of being fired. Imagine being on 100% commission only. There is a salary, but that's a false sense of security because we all know PWM is much quicker to axe employees before any other job function. The second those quarterly hurdles aren't met, immediate termination. I stressed for years building my book, at times even wondering if I would be able to make rent because even once you develop some traction, all you need is some market volatility, and a client may liquidate their account. I've also seen brokers get unlucky and sell good investments in a tough environment, but still get client complaints due to circumstances beyond their control. This leads to us being held hostage by our clients, hence the non-stop ass kissing. A client can literally complain about anything, and even if the claim has absolutely zero merit, because of securities regulations, it can go on your license and be public. Sometimes clients are just illogical and unreasonable, but aren't aware that a simple frustrated email using the wrong key words or tone can hurt your career. With that in mind, how many times have you witnessed 90% of an IBD group get laid off in the first year? Would any of you want to work for Deutsche right now? People in IBD only need to manage one client at a time, being in PWM is like dating 300+ clients (and their households & children) at the same time, every day, for the rest of your career. We may not have clearly defined projects that need to be completed overnight, but we get fired if we don't complete our asset goals by certain deadlines. At least you guys have control over your work (pull an all nighter/coffee), but we have literally zero control of the assets we bring in or the sales we make. When I first started, some days I could make 200+ cold calls and not get any appointments. Other days, I could make 200+ and fill up my entire week. I got lucky. It was possible that if I didn't book appointments at the right time, before minimum goals, I, too, would have been terminated. After all, I could have cold called 600+ people a day and still not make my goal. Ultimately, you guys have more control over your own future, though we're both vulnerable to massive recessions.

I haven't even gotten to the worst part yet. Now, I'm at the point of my career in which I thought I would be comfortable enough to fire clients. From an asset and revenue standpoint, I can. But with all the technology, firm, and regulatory changes, what if I can't? What if I need the assets? And still have to work for pain in the ass clients? Not very different from how IBD regulations can change or having to deal with a jerk of a MD, but again, it's only a handful of relationships, whereas PWM is an entire network of them.

I haven't even gotten to the worst part yet. Despite being accepted into several M7 programs, I chose a part-time program cause I live relatively close to a top program and thought to myself that my "business" aka book of clients was worth something. In my mind, it didn't make sense for me to pay money to go to school, only to graduate and work in a job that would require double the hours for similar pay. Well, I've come to find out that people in wealth management/financial advisors are not exactly employable because we lack "transferable skills." I didn't really have any intention of applying for jobs, but after being warned by colleagues at other BBs, I decided to test it out for myself. Each of us have applied to 30+ jobs with second/third tier companies, but none of us can even secure an interview. We were told that the only way we would be able to switch careers is to do an internship through on campus recruiting. Please keep in mind that the people in our group are all doing relatively well (all 120k+ incomes), yet we've all come up with the same results. Even when getting introduced by friends, hiring managers tell us that we don't have any transferable skills in a standard corporate environment.

It doesn't matter if we're the better bunch in the group, because what I have realized is that public perception screens us out before we even have an opportunity to prove ourselves. You know how when we walk into a PWM office, we only see the highlight reel/best versions of the producers? Well, hiring managers only see the worst versions of PWM because guys who usually make it don't interview around for other job functions. And because our industry has such a low barrier to entry, there are A LOT of failed advisors running around. Hiring managers may have interviewed wealth management people once upon a time ago, but have discovered a majority of us can't even read a prospectus, or worse, do basic algebra. Had I known this all along, I would have never gotten into PWM. I'm glad that it has worked out, and I'm grateful for where I am, but truth be told, I'm only a few more technological changes away from my employer reducing my income 25%, 33%, then 50%, etc.

A large part of finance involves risk management, and given all of this information, would anyone voluntarily go into a field with zero transferable skills or exit opportunities? Before answering this question, please sit back and truly ask yourself if anyone can be THAT confident they're the 5-10% who makes it. I've known trust fund babies, sons/daughters of F500 executives, people from really rich families. It's all the same. It may be easier for these folks, but it still isn't easy. I still keep in touch with all the failed advisors via social network, and they're all realtors, loan officers, tech sales, software sales, etc. And unless someone can provide a real life example that I'm wrong and that people in wealth management can get a job in a different function (without going back to school and interning), please do not answer with some speculative answer. I don't want college kids like my cousin getting brainwashed. It's not a bad job, they just need to know the very real risks of going into PWM, because if it doesn't work out, the damage can be permanent.

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