Five Questions for a Top Recruiting Executive

Edward Jones has 12,726 financial advisors and $517 billion in client assets under management, shares Dan Timm, partner of branch development.

Edward Jones, which employs its financial advisors, is just behind the three largest wirehouses (Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch) in terms of the size of its advisor force -- but ahead of independent giant LPL Financial.

Dan Timm, partner of branch development for the St. Louis-based broker-dealer explains its recruiting plans.

What's your current growth target?

At 12,726, we are up from the 12,615 we had at beginning of the year. In 2009, we grew by about 800. Our design this year is to grow by about 1,100.

Of the 800 advisors brought on board in 2009, 100 were producing transfer advisors and 475 had a securities license.

How are you doing at meeting this 2010 target?

Based on results so far, we are on track to hire 650 or so FAs this year. So we may not be perfectly on pace, but we are in the ballpark.

The aggressive growth plans for 2010 were laid out in Edward Jones five-year 2008-2012 plan, which will be tweaked somewhat later this year.

How do you meet prospects?

About 57% of those hired are referred to us by branch associates, advisors or administrators in the field. Another good percentage comes to us through the Internet, a bit over 30%.

The firm employs a rigorous hiring process that entails phone and face-to-face interviews in the field and psychometric tests.

Can you describe what's new with your recruited advisors?

During the ['08-'09] downturn, the average age and income of its recruited advisors fell slightly, but it's now on the rise again.

Today, we are getting more into what looks to us like the normal hiring and recruiting platform vs. the anomaly we had then.

What other things are you seeing in the recruiting environment?

Many people have already moved, and there are so many handcuffs being put on advisors right now that it's become more difficult to move than before. Nearly everyone is part of some kind of deal, with a retention package or a recruiting package.

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