Is WFG an MLM?
WFG (World Financial Group) is a financial brokerage with a hybrid business model between a franchise and MLM (Multi-Level Marketing company). That being said, it is not an MLM. One company that most resembles WFG's hybrid model is the real estate firm Re/Max.
MLMs and WFG. How they're different:
Part of the sign-up fee goes to the recruiter.
The recruiter will always make commissions off the people they recruit.
MLM's sell their own products, i.e. soap, insurance, health supplements, etc.; usually at a much higher price than other companies marketing similar products.
MLMs require their reps to purchase their products at least once, while some MLMs require monthly purchase commitments.
95-99% of MLM reps report a financial loss on their tax returns as the purchase requirements and costs to run the business are greater than the income received.
MLMs are not regulated by a larger governing body and often fall under the pervue of general business conduct laws.
No license required.
Ongoing training is optional or minimal.
If the rep quits, their clients remain with the company and the rep can no longer receive commission.
No part of the "sign-up fee" goes to the recruiter. Start-up costs are limited to the trainee's business license, back office support, and government fees.
Recuiters who hold the same contract level or lower than their recruit, earn no commissions.
WFG have no products of their own. As a distributor of financial services with over 200 A-rated product providers and professional money managers, they shop the market to find the best prices for their clients and are not limited to represent any one company's products.
There is no requirement for WFG agents to purchase any provider products before or after becoming an agent.
The average wage of an agency owner in WFG with 0-3 years experience = $82,000 CAD. Nearly 1 billion dollars of commission was paid out WFG agents in 2020.
Government regulations regarding the financial services industry is highly specific and vary with each province and state. Internal audits are performed regularly by WFG's compliance department to ensure WFG agents are meeting government and company standards.
WFG agents must take several courses and pass several government licensing exams before being allowed to work in the industry and earn commissions.
Training varies from office to office but 10 hours of training per week is typical, with much of it being optional. Agents must hold a minimum number of CE (Continuing Education) credits each year to maintain their license. WFG offers many of these mandatory training classes for free.
WFG agents can sell, transfer, or will their business and clients to other agents holding the same government license. They can also take their clients with them if they choose to work for a different financial services company. As long as the agent holds a valid license, they will be paid commissions, even if they retire.
MLMs and WFG. How they're similar:
They use relationship (network) marketing. WFG agents don't cold call but use referrals as a main source of new clients and potential agents. This is also true for most MLMs and other business models.
They recruit. This is a quality of every business but MLMs and WFG stress the practice even more. While other financial service companies are shrinking in size as senior staff retire, WFG is growing at an incredible rate because of their recruiting focus.
Recruiting is optional (though highly encouraged). Most MLMs do not require recruits to start but it is very difficult to earn an income without them. At WFG, an agent can earn a living wage without ever recruiting.
Neither hire employees for their sales force. While they may hire employees for back office support, reps are usually independent contractors who earn commission and not an hourly wage or salary.
New reps are trained by more experienced reps and in turn train future agents as they gain experience. In WFG, a person cannot become a trainer without passing the Certified Field Trainer course and exam, though this may not be the case in all offices.
There are more similarities and differences between the two models but if you'd like more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect WFG or any other organization. I also claim any errors made as my own. To offer corrections or feedback, please contact me at email@example.com. Sincerely, Tina Michelle Moller