Edward Jones continues to shine in surveys of both investors and advisors at full-service firms, according to J.D. Power and Associates. But will that appeal be enough to help the firm nearly double in size to about 20,000 advisors by 2020?
AdvisorOne recently asked Managing Partner Jim Weddle (left) about hitting this target, hiring of former military officers and other developments at the national broker-dealer.
Q: What prompted Edward Jones to aim for 20,000 FAs by 2020?
A: This goal is part of our longer-term vision. In larger organizations like ours it's important to have an identified, longer-term set of goals.
It tells everyone the direction of the firm, it helps to get everyone pulling in the same direction, and it facilitates each associate’s being able to link their work to the overall success of the firm. It creates an alignment of purpose.
Q: How is the firm doing this year in its hiring?
A: Our recruiting and hiring pipelines haven't been this strong in terms of both quality and quantity in several years.
We completed the rollout of our new FA Talent Acquisition organization, recruitment strategies and additional hiring screens in the first quarter of the year. Early results are very encouraging.
Retention is higher and performance is better among our beginners, and we believe we will grow by a net 300-400 this year.
Growing from where we are to 20,000 FAs in 2020 will require 5% growth each year in the U.S., and 10% growth each year in Canada.
Q: How and who does the firm recruit?
A: We are targeting career-changers who are employed, doing well, but have a burning desire to be in our business.
We are also very excited about our FORCES recruitment program that targets primarily junior officers who are leaving the military. Our training and compensation program dovetails with GI benefits and often allows those joining us to receive an income supplement for a year based on their military service.
Also, we have increased the size of our FA Career Development Program, which targets top graduates from BA and MA programs and provides them with up to a year of specialized training to prepare them to enter our FA Training program and eventually become financial advisors.
Q: How is the current economic client affecting your results?
A: In this economic environment, many investors realize they cannot do it all themselves. All of this creates a need for trustworthy financial advice.
The need for our personal service has never been greater, and we believe by understanding individual needs and providing tailored solutions we can help individual investors achieve their financial goals.