As it continues to revamp its hiring of financial advisers, Edward Jones is targeting new financial advisers in 2021, but it may see a slowdown in the typical number of advisers that join the firm in a given year.
Edward Jones said in a statement on Friday that it has been retooling recruiting efforts in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic like many of its competitors. Last year, the firm paused its efforts to recruit non-licensed financial advisers, the bread and butter of the firm’s business model for decades.
A private partnership, Edward Jones in March said it was treading gingerly back into the market of hiring new advisers. But that is likely to take some effort.
“The firm has restarted hiring and is committed to an innovative and intentional strategy to grow its impact by offering a plan and resources for both current financial advisors and new hires,” the company said in a statement at the end of last week. “This approach may result in fewer financial advisers hired than historically experienced.”
“As we grow our impact with our clients, colleagues and in our communities, Edward Jones is taking an intentional approach to hiring advisers and offering a plan and resources to support their path to success,” Edward Jones managing partner Penny Pennington said in the statement.
“We’re committed to hiring experienced and non-licensed financial advisers,” Don Aven, principal and head of experienced adviser talent acquisition at the firm, said in an interview Monday morning. “Intentional growth is our strategy, and the objective will vary and depends on region and area.”
The company for decades has been known as a destination for second-career advisers, turning schoolteachers and firemen into registered reps to work in one-adviser offices across the United States. But training financial advisers takes time and is also expensive, with a high percentage of trainees typically not making the cut.
Intentional growth means the firm will be more deliberate and specific in its strategy, Aven said. If there are a greater number of financial advisers retiring in the Midwest, say in Missouri or Illinois, that’s where the firm will put its resources, he said.
The firm is also boosting spending on its technology platform, Aven said.
“Jones’ methodology is knocking on doors, but how do you do that in the Covid era?” asked Danny Sarch, an industry recruiter. “The advisers set up shop in the smaller suburbs, become friendly with neighboring business owners and get their business.”
Edward Jones on Friday said its headcount of financial advisers had dropped by 60 at the end of March, to 18,967. That’s less than 1% when compared to the same time period last year.
But its rate of adviser attrition, meaning turnover, year over year inched up to 8.2% at the end of March, compared to 7.6% for the same time in 2020, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Executives from major brokerage firms like Edward Jones typically target attrition of 4% to 6%.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Edward Jones is targeting 500 advisers to hire this year. The company has not released a specific number of advisers it intends to hire.
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