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 $6 billion annually. With nearly 13,500 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 only the fifth managing partner in the firm’s history. Weddle has spent his entire career at Edward Jones, beginning as an intern in 1976. As a successful financial advisor, Weddle later assumed responsibility for the firm’s growth on the East Coast. He then took charge of managing the firm’s branch offices in late 1997. His responsibilities included not only the facilities themselves but also financial advisors’ compensation, financial advisor leadership development and new branch office construction.
Edward Jones continues to be distinguished by its unique brand. The firm remains focused on serving the serious, long-term individual investor. Its investment philosophy still emphasizes quality and diversification. Today, of course, TNT brokers no longer travel the countryside. Instead, Edward Jones locates its branch offices in major metropolitan areas so financial advisors can develop face-to-face, personal relationships with clients.