Career Advice

I have been lurking and searching and I wanted to request some advice. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, insults or sarcasm you could offer would be appreciated. I am 34 married w/ kids. I graduated with a BS in mathematics from a good school. After graduation I took a job as a reg rep at a branch of an independent B-D. I wanted to be in my hometown and it was a good fit at the time. I was never was a cold call guy, didn’t churn as a hobby, didn’t pump bonus annuities. I worked as an assistant and then built up a nice book on integrity (no seriously). In 2000 I began the transition to a fee based advisory platform. After initial success I fired 70% of my worst clients and helped to set up an independent RIA to service the rest. I now work primarily with non-profits providing consulting and asset management services on endowment funds. Pay is good for the location. Hours are awesome. No commute. To learn and challenge myself I sat LI in 07 and I am currently a LII Candidate. Two partners own the branch office. After 12 years it has become clear that I am not being groomed for a bigger role. I have developed misgivings with their model and I don’t see the kind of commitment to growing our business that I expect from management. I fear the business is their checkbook, their retirement nest egg. In addition, I have concerns about the future health of the local economy. A big client closes up shop or leaves town or whatever and my pay would be impacted. I worry that in 5 years I could be in the same spot I am in right now, maybe worse. I worry that my salary ceiling is approaching. Even if I continue to increase AUM, poor branch management is choking growth. Is there a market for a mid 30s guy with my experience? Is another RIA the only real option? Do RIA’s actively recruit talent? Am I even considered talent at this stage? How do I get out? What are realistic alternatives or expectations?

have you thought about a private bank? or wealth management?

Bill, a few months ago I did a lot of asking around and reading on the subject (I’m 22 years old) and came to find out that you aren’t even really a commodity in most firms unless you are in your late 20s or 30s with some extensive work experience. The good (let me stress GOOD) RIAs won’t hire a 22-year-old with no experience; after all, how does a kid with no experience recruit clients with money? Only the shops like Ameriprise would hire me. I think you’d be a strong candidate with other similar firms based on your profile.