Edward Jones will launch its Bridge program for diversity this week, building on the success of its recently reintroduced WINGS program for hiring and training female financial advisors.
According to Monica Giuseffi, principal of inclusion and diversity at Edward Jones, the firm has developed a program that features a recruiting event set to take place Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton in Denver: “Future of Finance — Culture of Diversity.”
“Our charter is to move the needle,” said Giuseffi, who was selected to run the program 10 months ago, in an interview. “We want to advance diversity in our field.”
Edward Jones is in line with the industry average, with up to about 19% of all financial advisors being women. Yet diverse advisors — those of different ethnic backgrounds — represent just 10% of advisors across the industry on average. At Edward Jones, this number is roughly 7%.
The firm uses U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines to define its diversity populations, which include African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Pacific Northwest Islanders. Edward Jones also welcomes veterans, the disabled and members of the LGBTQ community into its diversity programs.
The firm’s goal is to have half of the field agent force — currently 15,000 advisors — made up of women and 33% made up of diverse FAs over time, according to Giuseffi, with progress likely to be seen over the next five or six years.
“Bridge isn’t an acronym, just a strong word,” Giuseffi said. “We have 55 leaders for WINGS [Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies] and Bridge. They’ve been tasked with delivering six specific strategies that relate to the performance and health of diverse FAs and growth to attract more diverse advisors.”