Friday, October 21, 2005

Wholesalers

Wholesalers can be a good thing or a bad thing in this business. Wholesalers are those people that are employees of different investment companies that are sent around a territory to pump up the use of the products from their company. For example, mutual fund ABC will have their guy or gal run around their geographic territory and be a resource for their funds, encourage brokers to use their funds, and do whatever they can to encourage sales.

Most wholesalers can be good sources of information. Many of them will help support a broker in gaining new clients in various ways. All in all, most wholesalers are fine people that will help a broker with good information on their products, and many of them help with new ideas and give you food for thought.

The problem starts when one of these outside companies abuses their wholesalers. I have seen a few women wholesalers over the years that were hired to be the "pretty face" for their company. Certain of these ladies use their "charms" to help pump up sales of their products, which works especially good on some of the older guys. After all, you get some old gray-haired broker that's been around a while, and a pretty 20-something wholesaler suggests using a certain fund, and soon the old guy is off to the races in selling that product. Most brokers see through this technique, but occasionally, it works. The poor ladies are forced to work this charade anyway.

The poor guy wholesalers don't have this type of advantage like certain women do, in most geographic areas anyway. (I can't speak for the west coast.) Most wholesalers, being guys, are forced to be a better resource and provide good information to brokers and help with clients. Don't get me wrong here. I'm happy seeing the wholesaler gals come into the office. Unfortunately, the guy wholesalers outnumber the girl wholesalers by about 20 to 1. I guess one day when I've been around for 30-plus years, I'll look forward to "Miss Wholesaler" batting her eyes at me too. In the mean time, I'll keep using the products I have done my due diligence on, regardless of how much the wholesalers kiss up to me. After all, just how many coffee mugs from different mutual fund companies does one broker need?

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