Stay a Financial Advisor or Jump ship?

What is your take on Financial Advisory industry?

  1. Is it a dying industry? (are robo and passive strategies overtaking the need for an advisor?
  2. Do you view it as a scummy salesman job? Or a low quality work experience job?
  3. Advice on my current situation; should I stick it out or jump ship? – I’m 28, just received the Charter and am an Advisor at medium size Discretionary Managed shop with good potential to grow and become a partner at our firm. I just need to prove I can bring in more assets before I can buy into the business. That is the one part of the job I really don’t like, sales. But it is a part of the job. Very good work/family balance. I am considering changing roles and going after Investment banking with the end goal of joining an Asset Management team, which in my mind would get rid of the sales role and be more sophisticated than retail money management. I’ve been applying at Asset Management offices but haven’t gotten any traction and don’t know anyone on the inside to get my applications noticed. I feel like having 3 years of IB experience would help move my resume to the top. Do you think that plan would work? Or is IB experience less valued than what I believe it to be? I also have a few kids and don’t really want to put my family through being absent for the next 3 years at an investment banking job because those hours are crazy. I’d also be interested in doing Corporate Strategy, but I think I’d need IB experience to get into that as well.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks

  1. No, but it’s shrinking. Robo and passive will continue to grow, but there will always be a demand for financial advisors.

  2. Probably 80% of advisors are scummy, snake oil salesman-types, or they’re complete idiots that should not be managing anyone’s money. Those people are the ones leaving the industry. In five years, the advisors that are left will be a much better bunch.

  3. I don’t have any experience with IB, but I’ve never heard of an advisor moving to asset management. You’d need to do some serious networking.

Echo 1 and 2 above, as for 3) At 28 starting at IB as an analyst is not very realistic as most of these are filled with recent graduates, and associate level role is even more unrealistic as you do not have IB experience or a top MBA. You can try make a direct jump from your role to a more direct investment role somewhere else since you already have the CFA? But if you geniunely hate sales, I would jump ship otherwise you will be somewhat miserable down the line.

Thanks for the comments.

I know a IB managing director personally at a bank in our city who I meet with to discuss career options. I obviously didn’t tell him I would only be interested in a 3 year experience in IB, but he seemed to think that he could help me get interviews for a 2nd or 3rd year IB analyst role once one comes available.

If I went that path and actually got an IB offer and did it for 3 years, do you think I could then make it into Asset Management? Also, do you have any comments of the quality of work experience in IB for a bank vs a boutique IB office?

As I am writing this I am realizing I need to try and build a network with some asset managers in my city to bounce these ideas around.

I’d jump at the IB role if you have the insider connection tbh. Your opportunity set opens up dramatically after 1-2 years, including asset management. You want to go for larger banks for the brand recognition if given the choice unless it’s an elite boutique… You can check out deal league tables and stuff like that to get a sense of which banks have the most weight and their specialty/niche in specific sectors.

FA to IB? i’m not sure you appreciate how difficult of a jump that is

although this MD might be able to get you an interview, your background as an FA adds no value to your candidacy… you will be competing against highly qualified people, probably with live deal experience if its a 3rd year analyst gig. plus the CFA does not carry much weight for I-bankers. if you can pull it off, take it and run. Go IB and network your ass off to PE, imo.

In my experience, IB is extremely hard to crack if you aren’t a tradition candidate or don’t have a very strong connection, much respect to anyone who can do it!

Thanks. Maybe it is just a pipe dream. We’ll see what happens.

As others have mentioned, you’re not a good fit for the typical IB class. Most people will say you’re too old to be an analyst and you don’t have the background to become an associate. With that being said, if you believe that you have a chance of getting such a spot, IB is generally a higher tier of job compared to AM, and it will lead to more opportunities in the future. It is worth considering the opportunity for that reason alone, even if like most investment bankers, you do not actually like the job and do not remain in that field for more than a few short years.

However, you’re also right in considering your past career progress and trajectory, as well as life balance requirement in such a decision. Any benefit of switching fields must be weighed against the switching costs. At some point, it is better to proceed with your current career.

Yeah what IB group are they putting you in? If it is M&A, you’re gonna be distant from your family a bit for a couple of years.

Not sure which group. They currently don’t have any openings but he will get me an interview once a 2nd or 3rd year analyst leaves.

so what are these “skills” that are required for IB besides an MBA and new suit and greasy hair

Being a good bullshitter and no lifer.

Tap that IB connection hard and be over prepared for the interviews. At this time that is your best shot at getting out of being an FA.

My first gig out of school was working as an FA, in no small way did it affect my career trajectory. If you have an out you need to take it. Even getting into the BO or MO with an FA background can be very difficult. If your ultimate goal is AM you will need a pedigree to go with it. Leverage your network hard while you’re still young.

I’d also agree Mr.Cheese. Not to bring you down, but your chances would be small.

maybe the OP has undergrad from Harvard…Then it doesn’t matter if you’re 32 with a history major from Harvard…You’re smart. You can work hard. Just make sure you know how to model then you will be good to go…

But but what about financial theories etc etc? nah these take weeks to learn…It’s all about looking good and having the right resume ie school.

I have posted here before that my wife’s roommate from college was a english major but after graduating she wanted to be in finance. Fast forward 5 years she is in high finance front office. All about the connections, which you already seem to have AND your pedigree. What you know is not all that relevent surprisingly. Unles of course you are applying for a 10 person hedge fund managing 700mm then you better know your stuff.

^ Is she hot?

shawty is a 10

What is “front office finance”? We were talking about IB, which has very specific recruiting requirements. If the guy said he wanted to be a bond sales person or something, I’d say sure, if you have a contact, you have a shot.

I interviewed at a boutique group a few years ago in NYC for an IB Associate position (coming from corporate finance). The hours were really light, but compensation was 2x IB BB Associate. I don’t have an MBA. It was an extremely hard position to find, they didn’t publish it, weren’t actively interviewing, and the only reason I found a way to contact the MD was through this British guy I knew from the city that was using the IB for financing for his company.