Hiring More Multicultural Financial Advisors Could Benefit Both Clients and the Businesses That Serve Them, Edward Jones Survey Finds

Edward Jones Bolsters Efforts to Attract and Retain More Diverse Advisors

Jan 07, 2014, 08:57 ET from Edward Jones

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Hiring more multicultural financial advisors is perceived as being not only in the best interest of clients, but also as benefitting the financial companies that serve them, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Edward Jones. The survey was conducted by the firm as part of an initiative to increase its number of diverse financial advisors.

The survey, conducted online in September 2013 among more than 2,000 US adults, found that 79 percent of Hispanic and African American respondents believe it is in the best interest of financial services firms to focus on hiring more multicultural financial advisors to better reflect their client base. A similar percentage of these respondents (76 percent) agreed it is also in the clients' best interests to have a more diverse financial advisor base.

"Diversity is not just the right thing to do, it's a business imperative," said Jesse Abercrombie, Edward Jones financial advisor in Dallas-Fort Worth. "Promoting diversity and inclusion is an ongoing commitment at Edward Jones and aligns with our goal to continue recruiting and retaining top-notch professionals. We have always supported diversity, but we are now increasing recruiting and marketing efforts to hire more diverse advisors to better reflect our growing client base."

According to the US Census Bureau, minorities represent 37 percent of the country's population, but data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) shows they hold only 8 percent of positions in the financial services industry. When asked what the financial services industry could do to narrow this gap, close to half of African American and Hispanic respondents (49 percent) suggest creating multicultural support and mentoring groups within the organization.

One such group is Edward Jones' BRIDGE program (Bringing Results through Inclusion-Driven and Guided Efforts), a network of mulicultural financial advisors who volunteer their time to recruit, mentor and support other advisors. "Facilitating communication, building confidence and strengthening connections are at the core of our mentorship initiatives," added Abercrombie.

Other measures suggested by African American and Hispanic respondents to bolster the number of mulicultural advisors within the industry included putting an emphasis on diversity hiring (48 percent) and offering cross-cultural training (46 percent).

In addition to BRIDGE, Edward Jones has a series of cross-cultural programs designed to  understand the issues of race, ethnicity and gender in order to identify strategies to counter those issues. The Cross-Cultural Development Program serves as a resource for Edward Jones associates to learn about the unique experiences and challenges inherent to female and diverse financial advisors and showcase models of success and support.

To provide more opportunities for diverse financial advisors, 79 percent of Hispanic and 75 percent of African American respondents recommended creating an entrepreneurial work environment where employees have autonomy to express and implement their ideas and leverage "intangible" skill sets. Edward Jones' unique network of one-broker branch officesprovides financial advisors the autonomy to run their own businesses while benefiting from the infrastructure and support of a large organization. Currently, Edward Jones has more than 13,000 entrepreneurial financial advisors operating branch offices across the US and Canada.

To view personal stories from Edward Jones' financial advisors visit: ejcareer.com/mystory

To learn more about career opportunities at Edward Jones visit: http://www.careers.edwardjones.com/us/ 

About Edward Jones

Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm's 13,000-plus financial advisors work directly with nearly 7 million clients to understand their personal goals - from college savings to retirement - and create long-term investment solutions that emphasize a well-balanced portfolio and a buy-and-hold strategy. Edward Jones embraces the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment solutions available today.

Edward Jones, which ranked No. 8 on FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For 2013," is headquartered in St. Louis. The Edward Jones Web site is located at www.edwardjones.com, and its recruiting Web site is www.careers.edwardjones.com. Follow on Twitter @EdwardJones. Member SIPC.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Edward Jones from September 26-30, 2013 among 2,046 adults, including 301 Hispanic and African American respondents, ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact John Boul.

SOURCE Edward Jones