Q: What did you do prior to coming to Edward Jones?
A: Prior to coming to Edward Jones, I was a broker at Prudential Securities for about eight years. Prudential was bought by Wachovia, and that initiated my looking elsewhere.
Q: What were you looking for in a new firm?
A: When you’re a producing broker, you have lots of calls constantly from the competition. I looked at all the different companies very closely, and my biggest concern was being able to keep my clients. So I looked at everyone’s platform very closely and considered all the different opportunities, and ultimately came to Edward Jones because I felt like I would have a very high probability of keeping my clients and was able to do so.
Q: Why Edward Jones?
A: I think any broker who’s looking at Edward Jones is having the same thoughts. No. 1, can I keep my business? I wanted to go somewhere where there was a good mix, where the firm’s philosophy and the products they used for their portfolios were similar to the ones that I have and on my own book and business. And you can sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds at various different companies, but the culture and the platform that’s used in some of our competitors really wasn’t the type of business that I had.
Q: What was your training like as a transfer broker?
A: I had a little bit different training program from the new brokers. I was sent to St. Louis for about a week. And I was given the basics and everything I think I needed in that first week to start transferring my book of business. I’ll never forget the lady who ran that class, Barb Weber. To this day, I always remember her. She was fantastic in answering questions and concerns that I had. After that first week, I went back to my branch office. Then after a three- to six-month window, I came back for another training class, which was Acceleration – another fantastic training class on how to use your desktop and how to integrate your appointments, your accounts, any to-dos, money coming dues. That technology is fantastic in that we have proactive lists of clients to call and of things that are happening in their accounts – bonds maturing, that sort of thing.
Q: What does it mean to you that Edward Jones is a partnership?
A: I think the fact that Edward Jones is a partnership is what makes us very different in the industry. We are not publicly traded. We don’t have to report to the shareholders or recorder. Management isn’t going to make decisions to make a short-term profitability number for shareholders at Edward Jones. We’re privately held. The people that work at this company own this company. The people whom you work with side-by-side – other Financial Advisors, other people in the home office – we own the company. So we’re not pressed to do things that are maybe not in the best interest of our clients.
Q: What are some the misperceptions in the industry?
A: In the industry, people write about Edward Jones sometimes that we only deal with unsophisticated small accounts. At Edward Jones, whatever business I build is going to be with the people whom I want to deal with. If I want to deal with smaller accounts and help people out from scratch, I do this all the time. If I’m going to help somebody with a trust account and then transfer millions of dollars on death of a family member, we do that, as well. We are no different in the clients that we serve. I believe what makes us different is the way we serve them.
Q: Were you nervous at all about coming to Edward Jones?
A: When I came to Edward Jones I was a little concerned. I was nervous about moving my book. I was nervous about the accounts coming with me. But probably in the first month or two, I had that feeling that I knew I made the right decision. The clients were coming with me. They were happy to be coming with me. They were happy to meet my BOA and to see my location and my office. And as a result, some clients were bringing me business I didn’t even know they had. And I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I think they see me and they see my BOA and they feel like it’s our business. Now they’re not just bringing their business to some big bank on the East Coast, they’re bringing it to Todd and Margaret at Edward Jones.