My Tips for Success: Nikki McIlwaine

We recently met with Nikki McIlwaine, a financial advisor in St. Louis, to learn about how she built her practice and share a few tips for success.

Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been with Edward Jones?

"I’m proud to have been with Edward Jones for 20 years. Of those years, nine were spent as an intern and Home Office associate, while the other 11 were spent as a financial advisor."

What made you want to transition to a financial advisor position?

"I was working in the Home Office, so I had a strong knowledge of our business and our financial offerings. However, I was fascinated by our meetings with financial advisors and enjoyed seeing how everything is applied to our clients’ needs. I had the drive to take control of my career and my earnings potential, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity for me."

What do you like most about working with Edward Jones?

"The advancement opportunities here are incredible. From team leads, directors, trainers—there are so many ways to move around the firm and grow your skillset. I love that, and even at the Home Office, I was able to advance my career without a financial background. As long as you’re driven and eager to approach the people around you for guidance, there’s nothing stopping you from being successful at Edward Jones."

What was the most difficult part of building your business?

"Even with all the training and resources we have, it can be very difficult to create a client base. We don’t have territories, so we’re tasked with networking and building our brands in our communities to attract clients organically. For some people, building those relationships with prospects can be difficult, but we find it’s the best way to achieve success."

What’s one thing you wish you had done differently during your early years?

"I think I could have asked better questions when meeting new clients. In the beginning, I was more focused on getting prospects rather than converting those prospects into long-term clients. Now, people want all-encompassing financial strategies and that’s the core of what we provide here. I think leading with that insight and explaining how I could help them individually would have helped me get ahead a little quicker."

What advice would you give to someone considering a career with Edward Jones?

"If you’re looking for a firm that truly puts the clients first, I would invite you to consider Edward Jones. Everything we do, from a very top-down level, is tailored to our clients. From our training to our culture, it’s all around our clients. Any time we invest in new technology or new research, we discuss how it will benefit our clients."

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