- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I have been working at AXA Advisors as an intern (Less than a year)
Great office in Charlotte, highly motivated, teamwork is fantastic
typical office job, repetitive, interns aren't allowed to do much legally
Advice to Management
Make the office look a little more lively. It would help with the longer days
I have been working at AXA Advisors full-time (Less than a year)
Plenty of opportunity to make money
Great location in Midtown Manhattan
Good leadership among upper management
As a first year financial advisor, I expected a little bit more guidance
Cold calling all day every single day
I did not know this was the career path I wanted to follow until I started working here. The management is great and will provide you with all the resources to succeed. You just have to be disciplined enough to follow their direction, as this is a very entrepreneurial job and it's easy get off track (80% of the time you control your schedule). It's a very fulfilling job since you can see the impact you make on people. In the US the average person is not nearly as educated as they should be about their finances and that's where we come in and help them. You also have the option to work as a team with someone or you can work by yourself. Their training is very extensive and will definitely provide you with what you need to succeed. From very early on in your career you can be groomed for management if you let them know that you're interested. Lots of opportunities for advancement. Last but not least, compensation is VERY competitive.
This is not a 9 to 5 job. During busy seasons you may have to work 10-14 hrs, but trust me you will want to work more, it definitely pays off.
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I have been working at AXA Advisors full-time
-Technically uncapped earning potential
-Total scheduling freedom
-For someone with little technical ability, no novel ideas, but a desire/ability to grind through repetitive, unstimulating tasks, it can be a lucrative career (it's just a numbers game at the end of the day, and you have to stick around long enough to throw lots of darts at the board)
-If you have a warm market of family or ethnic connections, you can make decent money selling reasonably competitive products.
-You can learn a lot about the insurance industry, and then leave to go apply it somewhere more technical.
-You will get some access to a house book of orphaned accounts, which can be a decent way to get your income and referrals started in the beginning (but don't expect miracles).
-AXA is one of few insurance companies to do international underwriting on foreign nationals. If you are lucky enough to have access to such people, you can make great money in that market. Chinese advisors are in especially high demand right now.
-A good way to get pure sales experience, which you can take elsewhere (my recommendation would be tech sales)
Dont get AXA Equitable, which is the insurance company, confused with AXA Advisors, which is the wholly owned subsidiary you are working for (where all your problems stem from). Aside from the fact that your experience will partially depend on which branch you get hired in (some provide way more support than others, another fault), here is the truth about AXA and the industry:
-The industry is contracting. Individual sales are less lucrative than they used to be, so now you are making up for it in volume
-The general public has little faith in your profession or your industry
-There are no legal definitions for terms like "financial advisor", so you are lumped in with fly-by-night insurance salesmen (in the public's eye, at least)
-Technology is gradually automating more of the products you sell, making them cheaper to deliver to the customer directly. People can now buy property/casualty/liability/health/term insurance online. You can get mortgages online. What makes you think permanent life insurance is so sacred it can't be sold online, allowing companies to cut out their commissioned sales forces? AXA managers will assure you permanent life products and annuities are too complex and special to sell online, but at one time the same was said about brokerage accounts and managed money (now being threatened by ever evolving robo advisors).
-The average middle class client will soon have little need for you; they will be able to get on demand advice online from a fee-based advisor anywhere, and that will rapidly devolve into a price war between thousands of registered "advisors" competing for the same piecemeal business. Do you want to wade into that arena? No. Which means:
-You will eventually try to target a much smaller pool of wealthy, complex clients who have a legitimate need for a financial advisor, except they will be flooded by solicitation from agents just like you.
As far as AXA Advisors goes:
-Salary is worthless and untenable for someone who doesn't have a big cushion of savings or family support, especially if you have student loans / bills. (24k year one, 12k year two, that's it)
-You will be actively discouraged from soliciting managed money business and from spending time learning in depth market trading concepts (the excuses will sound something like "It takes forever to make money doing that, why not sell insurance, which has bigger commissions?" Or "Just give me (your manager) the managed money and I'll put you in on an insurance or annuity case"). Would you trust an "advisor" who has such little understanding of trading that their excuse is "I don't pretend to know the market, I'm just here to help you manage your risk"? Because that's someone who only knows insurance.
-Another refrain you will hear is that you are here to counsel people against their worst behaviors and impulses (like buying high and selling low). Are you looking to become a behavioral therapist or a technical professional?
-AXA is an insurance company first and foremost. And when you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Despite everything you hear about the "open architecture" you supposedly have available to you, an AXA product or service is somehow magically the final answer almost every time.
-All the products you sell are commoditized, so it is much more difficult to differentiate yourself from the other solid products out there. So now you are selling uphill / with one arm tied, since you can't rely on the strength or novelty of your products to pique people's interest into meeting with you.
-You can't control or change the products you offer
-You can't control the pricing or competitiveness of your products
-You will encounter tooth and nail resistance if you leave and try to take your clients with you.
Does any of that sound "entrepreneurial" to you? What entrepreneur in their right mind would enter into such an arrangement? At best you can be considered a franchisee--you are expected to adopt someone else's brand and products as your own, with no control. And no equity.
If you are a true "entrepreneur", find a way to efficiently fund your living expenses while developing your idea. If you are a good salesperson, you could do well here, but you are better off finding a company with a more specialized / differentiated product that you will be able to leverage more clearly and effectively.
Ask a long-time AXA producer (preferably in a producer group), who isn't a partner or in management, what the industry was really like "back then" and how much better it used to be. You will continually hear the party line from management about how much easier you have it because of the tools available to you, but the reality is that 20 or 30 years ago the general public was much more open to doing business with you and you would have been paid way more for doing it.
If you are totally set on a career in financial services, and you are going in "cold" (i.e no connections in the industry or very warm, wealthy markets to sell to) do whatever you can to get into another company that has an actual hands-on advisor "track". They will groom you over a period of a few years to learn the business, support established advisors, learn techniques, get your CFP / other credentials, all while obtaining an actual livable salary (which allows you to focus on learning and frees you of low-end ethical dilemmas, like selling something to people who don't need it, or selling a higher commission product). Make sure the company you choose will allow you to learn insurance AND investing, and you will become a true, well rounded "advisor".
Advice to Management
The classic agency model is dead. Focus on hiring bright, qualified candidates that you can groom, instead of farming the churn and burn
I have been working at AXA Advisors full-time (More than 10 years)
Great opportunity if you are hard working, ethical and coachable. Strong leadership and training
Long hours - must be self driven
Flexible work hours (your time is your money)
No base salary (completely commission based)
Advice to Management
Pay for licensing up-front to make the job more appealing
I have been working at AXA Advisors as a contractor (More than a year)
This company is everything an entrepreneur could ask for! Very team oriented and everyone pushes everyone toward a common, achievable goal. Very competitive pay, if not above average. The office staff are some of the nicest people I have ever met who want nothing more than to help and watch you succeed. Employee benefits are beyond anything I have seen from competitors or even in corporate America in general.
I wish there were more company sponsored outings (happy hour, golf tournaments, etc.)
Advice to Management
I wish for management to provide more incentives to advisors under their guide such as gas cards, prizes for weekly/monthly competitions.
I have been working at AXA Advisors full-time (More than 3 years)
I have been working at AXA for a little over 4 years. AXA has great leadership and wonderful people to work with. I love how passionate people are about helping people. They also don't require you to only use their products and investments, offering a broad range of options to truly make sure your clients needs are met. It also offers the ability to make your own hours, so if you need to take off for a family vacation a day early, go for it!
With that freedom of time comes a lot of discipline. You definitely have to be self-disciplined to make it in the financial services industry.
Advice to Management
Keep up the great work!
I've been with AXA for 7 years as a financial advisor. I am always approached by other companies looking to hire someone with my years of experience - I tell them that I'm with AXA because of the people I work with, and I always will be. Our people have a level of character and commitment you don't always find with financial services.
Wish our corporate branding was better!!
I have been working at AXA Advisors full-time (More than a year)
Great benefits; I had the worst year last year for illness and thanks to the benefits AXA Advisors provides their employees I was well taken care of. Tons of PTO , I am used to 2 weeks paid vacation but AXA Advisors offers 3 weeks which is nice to have. Schedule Flexibility; whether you are an advisor or operations staff AXA Advisors promotes schedule flexibility using technology to work remotely and time allocation. Lastly AXA Advisors encourages education and improvement, I have options of continuing education, internal training and opportunities to advance all of the time.
With freedom and responsibility comes potential for negatives. If you are someone who is unable to maintain a high level of productivity and focus on your own then you might want to reconsider this opportunity. It's easy to get distracted and lose focus and with the flexibility and opportunity to drive your own path.
Advice to Management
Management keep up the good work encouraging your staff to do better. Maybe adding workshops to aid in personal productivity would be a bonus.
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