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20,000 Advisors by 2022? No Problem, Says Edward Jones

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Edward Jones looks to be on track to hit its goal to expand to 20,000 advisors by 2022.

However, according to Katherine Mauzy, head of financial advisor talent acquisition for Edward Jones, that’s “just a starting point.”

Currently the firm has a little more than 17,000 advisors. The firm expects to grow by over 1,000 financial advisors by the end of 2018.

“We intend to get to 20,000 financial advisors, but we realize that’s just a starting point. It’s a milestone,” Mauzy told ThinkAdvisor. “We believe as long as there are more clients out there that benefit from being served by Edward Jones, we’ll keep growing.”

Today, Edward Jones serves around 7 million clients. But, according to Mauzy, the firm believes there is opportunity for that number to grow to over 40 million clients.

“Until there are no more clients, we’re going to keep growing,” Mauzy said.

Edward Jones is not quiet about its lofty recruiting and growth goals — or its strategies to achieve that growth. For example, the firm recently revamped its recruiting strategy and focused its recruiting efforts on established advisors from competing firms — including wirehouses Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

Mauzy recently spoke to ThinkAdvisor about how this new strategy is going and how Edward Jones has prioritized growing the firm throughout its history.

“In the 1960s we had 84 financial advisors,” she explained. “We’ve had 11% compounded growth rate year over year to now be the largest firm by advisors with 17,000 [advisors]. We did that without merger or acquisition. If you think about it, it’s pretty remarkable the disciplined approach we have had to grow and that it’s never wavering.”

Even in a downturn in the market, like 2008-2009, Edward Jones was still training and hiring new advisors, according to Mauzy.

When Mauzy joined Edward Jones eight years ago, her main focus was to redesign and restructure how the firm recruits career changers, which today is the largest pool of advisors coming into Edward Jones.

The average age of these recruits is 39, and they are likely coming from an affiliated financial services field, like accounting or insurance, or from professional sales or attorney positions.

“Those are the natural talent pools,” Mauzy said. “They realize that they want more flexibility in their lives. Or they’ve hit an income threshold, and they want to be able to provide more for their family.”

In the last couple years, Mauzy was asked to help build the strategy around recruiting advisors from the competition.

“That just isn’t something we had done historically in any type of volume,” she explained.

But it appears the new strategy is working. Edward Jones has seen year-over-year growth in competitive hiring for the past three years.

“In 2015, we brought on 124 competitive advisors. Today we’re on track to bring in 250. So it’s 100% growth in three years,” Mauzy said.

Last year, Edward Jones recruited 212 experienced advisors, an increase of more than 50% from 2016’s 139.

“What’s interesting is that they’re coming from who you would think — like the wirehouses, the Merrills, the Wells, etc. — but then we’re also recruiting from LPL and from regional firms, SunTrust and others,” Mauzy said.

Another important advisor channel for Edward Jones is recent college graduates and those with less than five years of experience.

“Their onboarding and training is different, but we think that this entrepreneurial opportunity is very appealing to millennials,” Mauzy said. “We also see that channel as a great way to recruit more women.”

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