Can you be an entrepreneur if you work for a global investment firm? If the firm is Edward Jones, you can.
"We tend to hire people who want their piece of the American dream," said Dan Timm, the partner responsible for hiring, recruiting, and branch development at the St. Louis-based firm, which was ranked as the number one small company on the Globe 100's Top Places list. "They buy in with the hard work and sweat equity they put into their business."
Their "business" is an Edward Jones branch, the vast majority of which are staffed by a single financial adviser, often with an assistant. Compensation consists of a commission, typically around 40 percent, plus a bonus and profit-sharing plan. The firm has 9,000 branches in the United States and Britain, with 72 branches and 140 employees in Massachusetts. At Edward Jones, it's typical for more than 40 percent of operating income to be paid out in the form of bonuses and profit-sharing, according to the company.
The one-person branch isn't the only way Edward Jones differs from competitors. The firm has grown organically, not through acquisitions, enabling it to better preserve its entrepreneurial culture. And many hires have no formal training in finance before they begin studying for their financial regulatory exam.
Edward Jones also encourages its busiest advisers to hand off clients to more junior advisers, who open their own branches, extending the opportunity to grow and gain independence throughout the company.
Robert Weisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.