No second acts in American lives? Look who’s participating in Morgan Stanley’s Financial Advisor Associate Program.
We asked these two Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor Associates why they left other careers to enter the firm’s FAA Training Program.
Jeffrey: I became a financial advisor to share my life lessons with my network; many who are now clients. In my previous career, I spent 15 years mentoring and coaching Financial Advisors and reached a point where I could psychologically start my own practice to serve others.
Eileen: I worked on the institutional side of the business for fifteen years and was interested in a career change. I explored the FAA training program because I thought it would be a good way to leverage my previous experience while trying something new.
How did you hear about the program?
Jeffrey: From a colleague who is a Complex Business Development Manager at Morgan Stanley. I was aware of the training but not the details of the program.
Eileen: I previously worked at Morgan Stanley from 1999-2009, and initially heard about the program through a Managing Director at the firm.
What helped your decision to apply to the program over another financial institution?
Jeffrey: There are several reasons; first is because of the support and leadership of the local and complex team. Second, I really like the structure of the training program. Having 36 months to make it happen; to focus on business development and types of products that I have experience with. Third, is that the firm offers a lot of solutions. It’s important to consider as a financial advisor, what kind of resources we can bring to the clients.
Eileen: I worked at Morgan Stanley for 10 years and it’s a great firm. With that being said, I didn’t want to make the decision within a vacuum, so I did explore other opportunities. I chose Morgan Stanley because of the strength of the training program, as well as the resources that the firm has to offer retail investors.
What are the most exciting and rewarding aspects of this job?
Jeffrey: Gaining the loyalty and trust of new clients. I also love to figure out a problem and help people. It’s great to be at a firm where you can work as a team to find some form of solution for clients.
Eileen: It’s very entrepreneurial. And while there is a lot of support on the branch level, you are essentially your own boss. It is very rewarding to help people achieve their financial goals, whether they’re saving for retirement, an education for their children, or a big purchase like a new home.
What are the challenges of the job?
Jeffrey: Having the focus and determination to ignore distraction. It’s important to stay focused on adding new clients, building new relationships and deepening relationships you already have.
Eileen: There is a lot of competition out there. A lot of people you are going after already have a Financial Advisor, but if you can leverage your relationships and network, along with Morgan Stanley resources, you can be very successful.
What advice would you give to someone interested in changing their career but is on the fence about applying to the training program?
Jeffrey: It’s really important to be all in. First, you have to have the buy-in and support of your spouse/partner or anyone who has a financial stake in your decision. Second, you must develop a plan for success, both short and long term. Third, it does help if you are an investor and use the type of solutions you are going to offer your clients. It also helps to have some understanding of the markets, and follow your own advice or some sort of financial plan.
Eileen: Examine your network carefully and leave no stone unturned. This is where your client base will come from initially. I have a background in finance but it does not really matter because you will learn everything you need to know once you get into the training program. I just came back from my training session in Purchase, NY. This was a second career for two thirds of my class. They came from all different walks of life: lawyers, pharmaceutical sales, real estate, etc. Being able to leverage your past experience and contacts is very important.
Thanks to both Jeffrey and Eileen for participating in this interview. If you are interested in applying for the Financial Advisor Associate Training Program, please click here to learn more about the Financial Advisor Associate Training Program.