Possible New Position - What Questions to Ask?

So I may have to opportunity to start working with an asset management/financial planning firm. It’s a start up with only three partners right now, but they already have a good book of business and they’re growing quickly. I recently met with all three of the partners and got a general sense of their set up. I would be primarily an analyst/jack of all trades in the beginning, and over the course of the next year they would start transitioning clients to me. I like everything I’m hearing, but I just wanted hear people’s thoughts on what questions I should be asking at this stage and the essentials I should know before I accept any kind of offer.

Ask how the ownership of the firm is structured. See if any sort of equity ownership is possible assuming all goes well. Ask them how they source leads, attain clients, and so forth. Ask them AUM. Ask them how they construct portfolios given a specific level of risk. Do they use stocks, funds, or SMA accounts? Do they have tax/estate services available to clients? Conclude the interview with CFA vs. MBA.

Since they plan to transition clients to you that would imply you’re going to be a financial advisor. Is that what you want to do? If you don’t want to deal with clients and just manage investments, don’t take this job (or just be warned you’re not getting into an RIA PM type role). They’ll expect you to gather your own assets. Is that something you want to do?

CvM: Right now I would be coming in as a salaried employee, but if I build my book up there will be a chance I could become a partner at some point. I know their current AUM, but it’s growing fast right now because they are converting clients over from an old firm. Right now they work with SMA’s and some standard model portfolios. To respond to Sweep, yes it’s a financial advisor role, and I realize that it is not going to be a portfolio management type position. I currently work in financial planning so I don’t mind since I will have much better opportunities in general at this group. The nice thing is as the firm grows my role might evolve. (For CvM’s enjoyment) They seemed impressed I was pursuing my CFA, they all have MBA’s, and they said since I seem so interested in investments I might have a bigger role in selecting managers and structuring client portfolio’s down the road. Anything else I should be asking?

Congrats on what sounds like a great opportunity. CFA vs MBA has a lot of great pointers. I would really get a good sense of the long-term potential (i.e. equity ownership) of the position which I assume the partners would like to hear from any candidate.