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March 20, 2015 Best Places To Work In CT 2015

Edward Jones employees receive catered training

Edward Jones financial advisors, branch office administrators, and their families and friends participated in the September 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, raising more than $2,500.

Edward Jones takes pride in its individual touch towards customers and employees, which is why staffers say the investment firm is a great place to work.

Edward Jones encourages employees to take ownership of their own branches, creating a partnership between the company and its members. Financial advisors are also given freedom to balance their family lives and community commitment with their work. Training, mentorship, and educational opportunities are also hallmarks that keep employees engaged and sharp.

Barbara Randolph, an Edward Jones financial advisor in West Hartford, came to the investment firm 10 years ago after decades working in Hartford-area banks in various capacities. She said Edward Jones went above and beyond to help her open up her branch, including putting someone in the office her first day to make sure she could learn the ins-and-outs of computer programs.

“I found that the values and the outlook of the company lined up closely to what I was looking for, and I found that everything they said they were going to do that they did,” Randolph said. “I found that refreshing.”

The St. Louis-based financial services firm has 60 branches in Connecticut, with plans to add 40 more. It attracts top-notch advisors who are looking for a flexible work environment where they can be their own boss, said Jeff Burdick, Edward Jones' regional director for Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

The company caters to the serious individual long-term investor, said Burdick, with a focus on core products like municipal, government, and corporate bonds, mutual funds, common stocks, and tax-advantaged securities.

“The company has high integrity,” said Randolph. “We don't go after the get rich quick stuff.”

Burdick said he sees himself as an educator who not only wants to increase his clients' portfolios, but also their overall financial literacy.

“A lot of people are lost,” Burdick said. “Financial literacy is at all-time lows, so people are looking for a partner to help them understand financial principles and help them make the decisions that they and their families need to make.”

That commitment to education is evident in the thorough training process prospective advisors receive, Burdick said. When Edward Jones identifies new candidates for branch openings, they undergo months of training to earn all necessary licenses, and develop contacts within their communities long before their branch opens.

The company also aids new advisors in identifying the best locations for prospective branches, pairs them with mentors, and provides them routine opportunities to train and connect with other employees from around the country.

Beth Duffy, a mother of two who had a crazy quilt of experience before becoming a branch administrator in 2009, knows well the needs of her clients because she started investing later in life; she returned to work when her children went to college.

“When I was home with my kids for 15 years, we made do, but we didn't have money to put away for retirement,” said Duffy, who is now a financial advisor in Canton. “I'm now at 56 playing catch-up as far as my retirement is concerned, and that puts me in a place that's similar to a lot of people.

“I particularly like working with women,” she said. “We do so much for so many other people in our lives, and sometimes we don't do what we should do for ourselves and our retirement or our future.”

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