Questions about Internal Wholesalers

Hey guys,

I am looking into applying for an Internal Wholesaler position at a few firms, but have some questions regarding what they do.

What is a typical day?

Is it all cold calling all day or are there other activities involved?

I hear a lot of people study for the MBA while they work, what can this lead to?

What are the career paths that an Internal Wholesaler position can lead to? I am looking to go towards Portfolio Management in the future.

What is the work life balance?

Finally, What is the average starting salary for an Internal and how does the commission structure work?


I was an internal for a while so I can weigh in here…I’m too lazy to find them, but try to locate a couple other threads on wholesaling that I provided some info on. And, if you want some advice during the interview process, feel free to PM me.

The answers to your questions will vary by firm. For example, if you’re working for a larger asset manager with good brand recognition vs a smaller firm that no one’s heard of with little resources to support you. I’ll assume you’re looking at working at a good-sized firm.

Typical day and cold calling - Once you’re established in your role and get to know your territory, most of your calls are with clients. Either you’re providing product updates, offering up value-add materials, or following up on a recent meeting the advisor had with your external. There is always some prospecting going on but how “cold” the call is depends on a number of factors. By and large, true cold calls would be pretty minimal unless you’re at a new, small firm. There’s always some prospecting, but not a ton.

I got my MBA while I was an internal. Not sure it really helped me get promoted…didn’t hurt I guess. Just something to do.

Going from wholesaling to investment management is damn near impossible. If you’re serious about becoming a PM, don’t go into sales. A typical career path is going from an internal to an external. But, there are other options depending on the firm you’re at. There’s Key/National Accounts, Institutional Sales, Retirement wholesaling, and management to name a few. There are also sales roles within Investment Management that could, in theory, help you get closer to managing money. These roles are typically called something like Client Portfolio Managers. They sit with and work along side the PM teams but don’t actually do any analysis or manage money. They’re client facing sales people that specialize on certain products. Basically, they’re there to get on conference calls and travel to meetings so the PMs don’t have to. This is an advanced role though, so you’d have to work your way up to it. Once a person becomes a CPM they generally lose interest in becoming an analyst because they make way more money than analysts.

Work life balance is pretty good at most places. You would have activity metrics like number of calls per day. If you’re consistently hitting your goals, most places don’t care when you come and go (within reason). The biggest factor in play here isn’t your manager but your external partner. If he/she is cool and you get along well, you’re golden. If they’re a dick they can make your life miserable.

Pay varies greatly depending on firm. I’ve seen it anywhere from $60k to $85k. That’s for starters. Once you’re a couple years in the range typically falls around $85k to $120k. And it will vary by year depending on how sales are going. Commission structures vary too so it’s hard to say but it’s almost always a certain % of monthly sales. Either flat bps or increasing bps as you meet annual targets.

Overall, it’s a good job that pays well and leads to many other opportunities that pay very well. The only concern at the moment is the new DOL regulations. It’s possible wholesaling is going to become very regulated and look more like pharmaceutical sales. No more client entertainment and pay would decrease. It’s almost a certainty the days of making seven-figures wholesaling are behind us.

Like I said, PM me if you want to discuss specifics.