Don't Pull the Plug on Brokers Just Yet

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Although banks like Well Fargo and Morgan Stanley are shedding financial advisory jobs, don't write-off brokers just yet. Not only are there jobs out there, but wirehouses are growing.

So much so that it happens to be a good time to be an FA. Yes, it's getting tougher to peddle stocks and handle assets for the ultra-rich at Smith Barney, but there are other places to look.

While it may seem that the only way to go is to join a boutique or start your own firm, that isn't the case. Firms like Stifel Nicolaus, Janney Montgomery Scott, Raymond James, Ameriprise, and even Deutsche Bank are hiring. Courtney Raymond, an executive recruiter in Houston, says she's getting dozens of calls from firms seeking talent.

It helps to be a producer with a portable clientele and solid track record.

Raymond notes the purging of brokerage jobs was a long time in the making. Consolidation and a shift in client focus in wealth management sent many FAs packing. A growing number of institutions have decided to restrict wealth management services to the mass affluent -- those with $100,000 or more in investable assets.

Still, the largest brokerages will look to producers who can build books of business from higher earners. Having a solid rolodex and being able to tap into clients in Asia will be crucial in landing a broker job at a top bank.

Raymond guesses that many of the recent moves are the product of brokers nearing the end of their careers. Merrill Lynch, she says, is up $20 million in production - the net difference between lost headcount and asset growth.

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