Morgan Stanley

Financial Advisor Associate Program

"The new financial advisor program is the lifeblood of the firm" 

—Scott Drever, Associate Director, FAA Program


The Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Financial Advisor Associate (FAA) Program is a rigorous, demanding, and intense 36-month training and development program. At the end of the three-phase program, Financial Advisor Associates are fully prepared to take their place among our elite financial advisor workforce. The FAA Program is highly selective, and we accept only the top candidates. However, even before you apply, you should have a frank discussion with yourself about your desire to pursue this career.

To succeed, you'll need the right combination of personal attributes:

Drive. As a Financial Advisor, you are entirely responsible for yourself and your income. It is a highly competitive business, and there is a lot of competition. You need to be organized, focused, and highly disciplined.

Ambition. You need to really, really want to succeed. This is not a 40-hour-a-week, punch the clock job. You'll work many hours, struggle through slow periods, and face tough challenges while building your business. You'll get there eventually, but you must be the kind of person that doesn't give up.

Accountability. There are no shortcuts to success in this business, and you'll need to be demanding of yourself. But there's something else – you are responsible for treating your clients properly, disclosing what they need to hear, and doing your absolute best to help them. Not only is this the right thing to do, it's essential to your own success.

Confidence. Can you make at least 100 cold calls a day? Do you believe in your abilities enough to withstand rejection, and challenges to your opinions? Do you genuinely like helping people, talking with them, engaging in conversation that may not result in immediate tangible benefit?

Are you ready for a challenge?
Questions to ask yourself:

Program Description

The program consists of 3 phases

PHASE I: Pre-Production: Licensing, Learning & Coaching

  • Pass the Series 7 and 66 licensing exams
  • Meet with assigned coaches for guidance through the training process
  • Complete curriculum requirements:
    • Basics of financial markets and investment strategies
    • Morgan Stanley Wealth Management's products and services
    • Creating an effective business plan tailored to your target markets
    • Inter-personal communication skills o Client acquisition skills (e.g., prospecting, conducting meetings, closing)
    • Compliance rules, regulations, and guidelines
  • Attend first National Performance Training Session

PHASE II: Production: Client Acquisition & Coaching

At this point, you will be fully licensed and ready to start soliciting business. Your learning curriculum will shift from the fundamentals to intermediate knowledge and skills. On a weekly basis, you will continue to meet with your Coach to go through Playbooks.

You will continue to build on your investment management knowledge by learning:

  • How to master client relationships through direct client contact
  • Features, risks and benefits of more advanced Morgan Stanley Wealth Management's products, services, and accounts
  • How to develop a more sophisticated business plan that meets the needs of a growing practice
  • Advanced client acquisition skills necessary to attract more sophisticated high net worth investors
  • How to develop financial plans
  • Attend second National Performance Training Session

PHASE III: Refining Your Skills: Client Acquisition & Relationship Management

You will focus on:

  • Managing and expanding client relationships; gathering referrals; and targeting specific niches
  • Discussing the features, risks and benefits of advanced products, such as lending solutions
  • Conducting financial seminars
  • Continue to meet with your Manager for monthly status updates and mentoring
  • Financial Planning Specialist (FPS): By the end of Phase 3, you will complete the FPS training program through Kaplan, designed to provide you with the fundamentals of wealth accumulation and management for high net worth individuals.
  • Advanced Solutions: Product Specialist Calls - each month, you will learn about different products and services through a combination of product specialist Live Meeting calls and online coursework available on your development plan.

Job Responsibilities for the Program

  • Provide a high level of individualized, comprehensive brokerage financial services and investment strategies to clients.
  • Prospect, network and acquire clients through various methods and strategies.
  • Maintain continuing finance and sales, licensing and registration requirements.
  • Consult with clients on investment strategies based on their individual financial and investment objectives.
  • Balance management of referral activities, customer follow-ups and administrative tasks.
  • Analyze economic trends and apply to analysis of individual client needs.
  • Comply with all regulatory requirements.
  • Meet quarterly revenue goals.

Job Requirement for the Program

The best Financial Advisors are analytical self-starters with a proven, successful track record. They are skilled problem solvers who can offer specialized advice to help clients meet their wealth management needs.

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, sales, marketing or related field preferred and 5 years of professional experience in Business Development, Management, Sales, Legal, Accounting, Education, Military, Finance or other business.
  • Excellent communication, presentation, time management and organization skills.
  • Strong community presence with an established network of personal and business contacts.
  • Ability to listen to client needs and provide financial solutions.
  • Authorization to work in the U.S. without restriction as to duration.
  • Successful completion of background check and pre-employment assessments.
  • Successful completion of Series 7 and Series 66 exams within the time frame provided by applicable company policy.

Hiring Process

The Hiring Process Consists of 4 Phases:

Phase 1
Candidate completes employment application, submits resume and completes two online assessments.

Phase 2
Candidate's application and assessment results are reviewed by Talent Acquisition team. Talent Acquisition team sets up phone screen with candidate.

Phase 3
Face to face interviews are held with the local management team. Candidate then completes a business plan exercise, which is reviewed. Upon successful assessment of the business plan, another round of face to face interviews is held.

Phase 4
Local management performs final evaluation to determine if an offer will be extended. Employment is contingent on background check.



Financial Advisors at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management can potentially earn significant income early in their careers. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Financial Advisor Associates do not work on a commissions-only basis but rather are provided a base salary and incentive opportunities for performing to the firm's high standards and rewarded for exceeding them.

The compensation structure of the Financial Advisor Associate (FAA) Program is designed to support FAAs throughout the initial development period, offering the opportunity to receive substantial compensation. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management expects the best of its FAAs, and high-achievers are compensated accordingly.

FAA Compensation has four components:

  • Base salary commensurate to your experience
  • Incentive Compensation (Monthly)
  • Incentive Bonuses (Annual)
  • Premier Award (Yr 5)

Notes: All compensation referenced herein is subject to applicable income tax and other wage withholdings.


How do I apply for a role as a Financial Advisor, and what is the process?
It is a rigorous process. There are a series of online assessments designed to gauge aptitude in areas critical to the success of a Financial Advisor. You'll be asked to develop a business plan, followed by a series of interviews with the Firm's Complex and Regional Management. We intentionally created a challenging process to enhance the likelihood of long-term success for each FA.

What is the base salary?
Base salary for the Financial Advisor Associate (FAA) Program is commensurate with relevant experience.

Will I be paid while I study for my Series 7 and Series 66?
Yes, you will be paid your base salary while in the pre-production phase, which consists of studying for your exams and completing the required curriculum.
What locations in the U.S. can I work in as a Financial Advisor?
We have more than 500 branch locations in the U.S. and have training opportunities in most or all of these locations.

Can I work part-time?
The FAA Program is only offered as a full-time position.

How long is the FAA Program, and what sort of training will be provided?
The FAA Program is a three-year program. Comprehensive training includes: instructor led training sessions at our national training center in Purchase, NY; Branch Manager and coach-led training conducted locally at the branch; and web-based training.

What type of advancement opportunities would be available to me as a Financial Advisor?
There are many opportunities once you have successfully completed the FAA Program and established yourself as a successful Financial Advisor. You may pursue management roles at the Branch, Complex, Regional, and Divisional levels, as well as other opportunities throughout the organization.

Will Morgan Stanley Wealth Management sponsor my international work visa?
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management requires that an individual be authorized to work in the U.S. without restriction as to duration, and does not sponsor international work visas.


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