Career began: 1982
Home Base: Joplin, Mo.
Civic Affiliations: Freeman Hospital Foundation, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and Joplin Humane Society
Back in 1992, over coffee at McDonalds, Edward Jones advisor Jim Goodknight sketched out a contract on the back of a paper napkin that would have him share a portion of his clients with an up-and-comer named Dan Stanley.
The story is the stuff of legend. Since then, 1,865 Goodknight plans — as they have come to be known — have been executed, allowing veteran advisors to spin off a portion of their business to those just getting their start.
Whatever became of Dan Stanley? Plenty. A household name in his hometown of Joplin, Mo., Stanley is well known for his tireless commitment to his community on the northern edge of the Ozarks. “Mr. Joplin,” he’s been called. And his production ranks him in the top 1 percent of the nation’s nearly 11,000 Edward Jones advisors. In a fitting move, Stanley has completed three Goodknight plans himself — including two to his sons.
“I’ll never forget Jim sketching out three boxes on the back of that napkin. One box represented his preferred clients, the ones he was going to hold on to because they needed better service. Another box represented the clients I would develop on my own. The box in the middle represented 1,000 accounts we would share for the next year and a half. Jim told me: ‘We’ll share those commissions 50-50 and those clients will become your clients.’ We were together five years and it just changed my life — and my family’s life,” says Stanley, 63. “I wish I still had the napkin.”
Today, Stanley manages $188 million in assets for just over 700 households. As did his mentor, he has retained his oldest clients with the most complicated situations — doctors, entrepreneurs and widows, primarily. At one point Stanley had over 100 retirement plans, but he’s transferred most of those to his sons, Ryan and Logan. Like their enthusiastic father, they too operate Edward Jones branches in Joplin.
Interacting with clients, Stanley says, is “by far my driver, my satisfier, my fulfiller” — and it shows. When he shared his clients with his sons, for example, he held on to many clients with lesser portfolios. Why? “I kept a full spectrum of socioeconomic clients. I knew some would be devastated if I transferred them,” he says. “They would be deeply hurt so I didn’t do it.” Not surprisingly, Stanley’s office has among the highest “client service excellence” ratings in the Edward Jones network.