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#3 Large Company Category: Edward Jones provides advisors support, flexibility

Sometimes being the boss is a double-edged sword. You get to call the shots, but when you need a little help, you're on your own.

At Edward Jones, financial advisors say they get the best of both worlds: the ability to run a small business with the support of a national organization.

“For a potential advisor, if you are willing to do the work — and it is a lot of work to get up and running — you can create a great opportunity for yourself and your family and serve your clients well,” said James Zeller, an Edward Jones financial advisor and regional leader out of Thomaston.

“We get to choose the community we want to open an office for, which, for me, leads to a short commute. So, if my son has a baseball game I want to get to, since I control my schedule, I can work that in. If my daughter has a step-dancing recital, I can make that,” he adds.

Glastonbury advisor Eric Judge says autonomy, combined with the ability to draw expertise from the corporate office and more than 12,800 offices across the nation, drew him to join the company four years ago after spending 20 years elsewhere in the financial industry.

“It's a very collaborative culture,” Judge said. “Everyone is willing to share knowledge and help in any form or fashion to help our clients.”

According to Zeller, the corporate office sets the tone. New advisors receive intense training as well as the opportunity to study and take licensing exams while still earning their paycheck. Branch offices are encouraged to participate in community volunteerism on company time and yearly and regional meetings bring staff and their families together.

“It helps to very much build a family environment here in Connecticut,” he says. “We get to watch families grow as offices grow. … It's neat, it's fun and I'm glad to have the opportunity to do that.”

Judge said he appreciates the chance to be involved in philanthropy, teaching in the schools and community functions as part of the day-to-day workings of Edward Jones. He says he admires the company's commitment to diversity and serves as a diversity inclusion specialist tasked with finding people with entrepreneurial and financial talent who can represent the diversity in the community.

Everything Edward Jones does is by design, from the products it offers to the people it hires, Judge said. And it's committed to expanding in the Greater Hartford market.

“I intend for this to be the last company name on my resume, that's the kind of place it is,” he says.

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