Q: What did you do prior to coming to Edward Jones?
A: I was a Financial Advisor at a local bank in north-central Wisconsin.
Q: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you did before you came to Edward Jones. What was your previous job?
A: I started fresh out of college with a firm in a bigger city. And when the opportunity came up to work in my hometown, at a local bank, I took it. It was nice to be able to work with people whom I grew up with. Across the street was an Edward Jones office, and he would call me every now and again and ask if I was really happy over at the local bank and whether I would consider a career at Edward Jones. I had always thought Edward Jones was a really neat company, and the time came when I was thinking maybe there’s something better out there, and I made that change. And that transfer broker became my mentor, and that was very helpful and I felt very welcomed to come on-board. There was no threat of competition. I think that’s one of the key things that makes me very pleased with my move with Edward Jones.
Q: What made you start looking for work elsewhere?
A: I was very comfortable where I was. I had a salary and a pretty good book of business, but I didn’t feel very appreciated. And that’s one of the keys things, you have to feel valued as an employee, and there didn’t seem to be that value. And if I was going to work as hard as I was working, I felt that there should be that value – they should value my time. And when I came over to Edward Jones, it was more of a feeling that I’m almost going independent, that I’m becoming my own businessman. And that was the way the community perceived it, as well.
Q: What perception did the community have once you became a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones?
A: Because Edward Jones had a presence in the town already, most people knew what Edward Jones was. It was perceived by my clients that this was a step up, I’m taking that career move to the next level. And once I became more knowledgeable about Edward Jones and what we could offer to the client, that’s what came across, as well – this was a big move up in my career, that I could offer so many more things at different levels, better advice, and that’s what brought value to the client, as well. And they could perceive that. I felt much, much more of a competitive environment in other firms that I have worked for. Competition can drive some people, but also hurts a lot. I just think it’s much better in an environment where you have everybody pulling in the same direction.
Q: What is your relationship like with other Financial Advisors?
A: In our region, it’s a pretty tight-knit group. We get together on a regular basis. It isn’t just for annual regional meetings – it is a trap shoot in the spring, and we have ribs or a fishing tournament in the fall. I think that that certainly lends to having that camaraderie in the region, and we have a lot of very close friends that we’ve made among other Financial Advisors and families, and we look forward to seeing them at these meetings, when we can get together.
Q: What did you think of the training you received?
A: The training that I received was exactly what I needed. I left the bank on a Friday, and I walked into my office with my assistant on a Monday. I didn’t have any training, per se, when I left the bank and came to Edward Jones. What I received was support from other veterans in the region. I was able to call them with questions. I had a veteran who came right into my office and showed me exactly how to set up accounts, how to transfer accounts. We had an individual come in from the home office to help with that transition, as well.
Q: What is it like to have your own branch?
A: I would say that having my own branch has been a huge advantage, because it’s a footprint in your town. You are a business in town, and you can speak on a level playing surface with other business owners in that town. That immediately brings you credibility. You’re going through the same struggles that other business owners are, and you belong to the Chamber as a full member, and you can support the community in ways that any other business owner would. I like the idea of having my own storefront, right on Main Street, and I think that helps a lot with my business, to lend that credibility.
Q: How is Edward Jones different from other firms?
A: At Edward Jones, the Financial Advisor is there to help their clients, but they’re also the profit center of the firm, and the firm does everything to make sure that each branch is up and running smoothly. And there is no question in my mind that the client is the main concern of the firm. When I was at the bank, we were more of a sideline business. The bank is there to lend money, and that’s their sole profit center, whereas with Edward Jones, the Financial Advisor is the profit center – you are the most important thing to that firm. And I really get that feeling from our home office, I get it from our regional leader, I get it from the support that we receive in every aspect of the business.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering the Financial Advisor position at Edward Jones?
A: I can honestly say that moving to Edward Jones was the best thing I ever did. And I have never felt that when I was working at the bank. I feel that I can spend the rest of my career with Edward Jones. I can see my career unfolding in front of me, and I can see that it will be very successful. You can’t be anything but successful at Edward Jones if you follow the program. They have a recipe for success, and if you follow it, you will be successful.