It had been a few years since I had been to St. Louis and I admit I don't get there often enough. But it was interesting to spend a day at Wells Fargo and feel the energy from the many new advisors spending a week at the firm's training facility.

When I was last there, it was A.G. Edwards. Now massive murals of old stagecoaches that signify Wells Fargo adorn the walls of the complex.

I was only there for a single day out of a week-long training session, but I was able to observe the rookie advisors as they were put through their paces. Sometimes they were nervous; other times they seem to come alive during the challenges that the Wells Fargo leaders set before them.

In my cover article, "From Book Smart to Street Smart," I wanted to give you a real sense of where these new advisors are coming from, where they want to go and what one firm, in particular, is doing to invest in its future.

Also in this issue, writer Elizabeth Wine discusses the state of real estate investment trusts in "Roller Coaster REIT Ride." Wine talks to several experts about the prospects of the REIT market and discovers, among other things, that these investments may be just a bit too pricey. For instance, one expert notes that if an investor were to buy a building, it would be 20% cheaper to do it with a bank loan than through a REIT. But there are still opportunities in this market, say others. So go to page 28 and find out what they are.

Careers columnist Carri Degenhardt-Burke tackles the question of where an advisor should set down roots in this tumultuous market. In "The Year of the Wirehouse," Degenhardt-Burke argues that the wirehouse is the place to be.

She makes her point by offering up examples of advisors who left the wirehouse world only to find unhappiness at smaller, independent shops. Our columnist insists: "This stands to be a promising year in terms of recruiting at the majors. And, in a world where cash is king, the smaller shops, independents and even banks simply don't have the assets and cash reserves to offer superior service for wealthier clients in the way of research, platform and compliance." Read the column and see if you agree.

We end this issue with Life Stories, featuring David Penn, director of wealth management services at Janney Montgomery Scott. See how this former busboy made good and rose through the ranks. And find out what makes him tick.

As always, we hope you find this, and every issue of On Wall Street, to be informative and compelling.


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