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I worked at Edward Jones full-time (More than a year)
Am writing this from a BOA's perspective. Edward Jones has been voted a Best Place to Work for the last 14 or so years. It is indeed a great place to work IF you like the work. You work in a two-person office (some branches have more than one BOA), so IF you get along with your FA it can be a great environment because you create and maintain it. Edward Jones is an exceptionally well-organized corporate entity and offers extensive training and continuing education. The Managing Partner, Jim Weddle, is completely available, accessible, and open to all employees. He is an excellent communicator and Edward Jones as a company does an extraordinary job of allowing all employees to stay as engaged and informed as they choose. All employees are required to take anti-discrimination training, but they give you several months notice before the deadline and you take it online in their in-house Learning Center. There's a lot more positive I could say. It truly is an excellent company to work for IF you like the work. And, as Edward Jones has branches across the Nation and in Canada, there are great opportunities to transfer to another branch in your area or even another state--which is great for military wives.
The work and compensation. The BOA position is largely a "paper pushing" job that requires extraordinary attention to detail--every day, all day long. It can be quite intense. Most BOAs will tell you it takes up to six (6) months before you really start to understand what you're doing, and two (2) to three (3) years before you really start to get comfortable with the position. It takes that long to really learn the job--and that's in the midst of constant changes in processing. You will also spend a significant amount of time scheduling appointments for the FA. If you're a people-person, you will likely enjoy contacting clients to schedule their reviews and follow up meetings, but the task it self gets old very quickly. Some BOAs work in branches that have a strong marketing focus. They send out pre-approved fliers (which is totally easy!) and then call/email clients and prospective clients to follow up. Again, doesn't take a rocket scientist to perform this task, but it can get old very quickly. It's basically the same job every day--no two days are alike because you're always dealing with different clients in different situations--but the basic tasks are the same every day: schedule appointments and manage the FAs calendar, manage client accounts and process paperwork. There is a TON of work to do in these three areas EVERY day (if you're in a busy branch) and you must make extensive and oft times duplicitous notes for every transaction, conversation, meeting, or action on the client's account. This too gets quite monotonous after a while. However, IF you like this kind of work, it's totally not a problem. The more anal you are the better you will do and like the BOA position. The major con is compensation for the BOA. Edward Jones pays their new BOAs a low annual salary because they are eligible for bonuses. The biggest bonus is called the Trimester Branch or FA Bonus (most FAs use the FA bonus title). This is a bonus that is issued three times per year by the company based on how your branch performed during the trimester. The better the performance, the bigger the bonus. HOWEVER, the BOA is NOT guaranteed ANY of this bonus. It is TOTALLY up to your FA!! So, you could have a very strong trimester--as we did in our branch--but the FA could give you LESS of a bonus IF you get any of it all!! As long as I was there, I NEVER understood how and why that could be acceptable. It's just the TWO of you in the branch, the BOA does most of the "grunt" work, you're referred to as a branch TEAM, yet when the trimester bonus is issued, it's ALL the FAs bonus and he/she can share some of it IF they want to!!! Huh?!?!?! There's so much more to say about it, but this was the primary con for me and the primary reason why I left. That and the fact there's no room for professional growth and development. Edward Jones runs almost 12,000 branches across the Nation and in Canada. Their home offices are in St. Louis (primary) and Arizona. If you want to transfer into another position, most likely, you will have to look at openings at one of the home office locations. They are just now creating more field positions, but they are still primarily based out of one of the home office locations.
Advice to Management
No company is perfect, but overall, Jones does a superior job and is worthy of its many accolades. However, Mr. Weddle and upper management really should revamp compensation for the BOA. At minimum, the BOA should receive a portion of the Trimester Bonus (10%, 20%) and then the FA can decide to give the BOA more if they choose to. At best, it should be a 50/50 split between the FA/BOA as Edward Jones strongly touts the TEAM concept, yet draws a line of demarcation when it comes to fairly compensating half of the team--the half that does MOST of the work! They don't treat the FA that way, and the ONLY way an FA can grow his/her business to reach maximal success is if they hire a BOA.