On Sept. 1, 2004 the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10,168; Bernie Madoff was still preying on unsuspecting clients in what would turn out to be the largest Ponzi scheme of all time; and my inaugural “Career Moves” column, Of Myths and Moving, appeared in REP. magazine.
A lot has happened in the past 10 years. Back then, advisors would tell me to call them back when the deals reached 200 percent of trailing 12-month production (now deals are at 300 percent); the mention of a custodian brought to mind the gentleman who cleaned high school hallways; and those who were with independent firms were seen as second class citizens by their big firm brethren. Given my personal milestone, here’s a look back at the myths on moving that I discussed in 2004 and how my advice has changed.
Myth 1: There is a magic production level I must attain before I can switch firms.
What I said then: Waiting to make a move is not always a smart move. Indeed, the fact that an advisor’s book is not growing fast enough might be a sign that a change of firm is in order. For instance, a firm with more proactive branch management might help the advisor grow his book faster, or perhaps a bank brokerage with its deep referral sources could help build the client base. In any case, the question should not be, “What is my current level of production?,” but rather, “How might my production be improved with a move?”