Morgan Stanley Readies Hiring Program for Mid-Career “Dropouts”
Morgan Stanley is preparing a paid internship program to train people who dropped out of their earlier careers to become financial advisors by working on teams in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco.
The 10-week program, which will begin in October, integrates what Morgan Stanley calls a firmwide “spirit of tolerance” for people who took time off to raise children, care for aging parents or other circumstances with a practical attempt to replenish an aging workforce at a time when recruiting budgets are being cut.
It broadens to wealth management the “Return to Work” program Morgan Stanley launched in 2014 in the U.S. and abroad for people who left careers after a minimum of seven years for at least a two-year break. Several of those interns have landed full-time jobs in areas such as information technology, investment banking business development, and project management, according to a firm website.
The expansion to wealth management coincides with recent decisions by Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS Wealth Management to trim budgets for hiring experienced advisors. Morgan Stanley Wealth coheads Shelley O’Connor and Andy Saperstein said in May that they will “redeploy capital” from expensive recruiting of veterans to training sales associates and “digital advisor” associates to help brokers expand and more efficiently manage their practices.
“The purpose of MS’ Field Return to Work program is to identify entrepreneurial-minded professionals with untraditional career paths who have the potential to become successful Morgan Stanley financial advisors,” spokeswoman Margaret Draper wrote in an e-mail. She declined to comment on whether the expansion is directly related to the recruiting policy changes.
In a corollary move, Merrill has created a Professional Transitional Advisors program for brokers with three-to-eight years of industry experience and mid-size books to help offset its own recruiting pullback.
The efforts to find new ways to train advisors parallel long-time initiatives by firms such as Edward Jones to recruit career-changers. The St. Louis-based firm, whose widespread network of single-broker offices in small-town America contrasts with the wirehouse business model of soliciting wealthy clients from large offices, highlights on its website advisers who used to be social workers, advertising saleswomen and owners of luxury home-building firms.
Morgan Stanley is accepting applications for its “Field Return to Work” program in wealth management, with the plan to place four “interns” in each of the three big-city locations it has picked for the program.
The spokeswoman would not comment on compensation but said that leaders of the teams where the interns work will decide after three months whether to offer them full-time employment as either Financial Advisor Associates or Wealth Advisory Associates.
“Participants will work with colleagues to engage in the wealth management business, participate in training and networking events, and will be provided with the tools and strategies needed to build a client base of high net worth individuals,” an internal ad for the program says. “The program will equip the participant with access to state-of-the art financial tools and technologies, as well as sales and management mentoring.”
Other financial firms that offer return-to-work programs, including Goldman Sachs, MetLife, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase, have hiring rates of people in the programs ranging from 50% to 90%, according to a 2006 International Business Times article.