For almost a century, Edward Jones has brought its unique brand of service to communities across the country. Edward Jones’ business model runs counter to that of virtually every other major securities firm in the United States and has helped fuel remarkable growth for the company. Revenue has grown from $16 million in 1977 to more than $8.5 billion annually. With more than 14,200 branch offices in all 50 states and through its affiliate in Canada, Edward Jones’ growth has been extraordinary.
Edward Jones got its start in 1922 when Edward D. Jones Sr. founded the firm that bears his name. Until the 1950s, Edward Jones was typical of most New York Stock Exchange firms. In the ’40s and ’50s, representatives from Edward Jones were called “TNT brokers” because they traveled the countryside surrounding the company’s office in St. Louis from Tuesday until Thursday, serving clients.
In 1948, Edward D. “Ted” Jones Jr., son of the founder, returned to the family business after studying agriculture at the University of Missouri and working on Wall Street. While working his territory in rural Missouri and Illinois, he began experimenting with the concept of locating branch offices in communities outside St. Louis. In 1957, he hired a representative in Mexico, Mo., and with the opening of this first branch office, a new era began.
By 1980, the branch-office network had grown to 304 branch offices. It was then that Ted Jones handed the reins of the firm to John Bachmann, who served as managing partner until December 2003. John began his Edward Jones career in 1959 as a college intern, sweeping out the basement of the firm’s headquarters. He was a successful financial advisor in the 1960s before returning to the home office, where he gained experience in a number of areas before being named managing partner in 1980.
Under Bachmann’s leadership, the firm built on its philosophy of serving the needs of serious, long-term individual investors from one-financial advisor branch offices and moved to the forefront of the industry in terms of technology and training. Those closest to Bachmann throughout his career credit his vision, strategic focus, leadership and commitment to Edward Jones’ culture for making the firm one of the best places to work in America.
Douglas E. Hill, chief operating officer from 1998 through 2003 and managing partner in 2004 and 2005, continued the firm’s tradition of bringing personal investment services to an ever-increasing number of individual investors in communities across the country. With the firm’s nationally recognized training program, which Hill helped to develop after having been a successful financial advisor, Edward Jones is training about 100 new financial advisors each month. This growth ensures the firm has the opportunity to continue offering investments tailored to the needs of individual investors in the communities in which they live and work.
In 2006, Jim Weddle became the firm’s fifth managing partner and served in that role through December of 2018. Weddle spent his entire career at Edward Jones, starting as an intern and then successful financial advisor. As a principal in the home office, Weddle later assumed responsibility for the firm’s growth on the East Coast and next managed the firm’s branch offices in late 1997.
Under Weddle’s leadership as managing partner, the firm grew from about 10,000 financial advisors to more than 17,000 across North America. Edward Jones is the largest U.S. financial services firm in number of financial advisors, consistently ranked a best place to work. Weddle also led the firm to become an industry leader in listening and understanding what clients value and applying a solutions-based approach that shifts the focus from the product to individual client needs.
Penny Pennington became the firm’s sixth managing partner in 2019. Pennington left a successful banking career to join the firm in 2000 as a financial advisor in Livonia, Mich. In 2006, she was named a principal and relocated to the firm’s St. Louis headquarters where she held leadership roles in New Financial Advisor Training and then in developing branch teams of financial advisors and branch office administrators in the regions. In 2015 she began to lead the Client Strategies Group, the area of the firm that most directly supports the client experience. As managing partner, Penny is responsible for the firm’s strategic direction, working together with the more than 47,000 associates across the U.S. and Canada to make a meaningful difference in the lives of more than 7 million clients by helping them achieve their most important financial goals.