Edward Jones tops Fortune list again

For the second-straight year, Edward Jones Financial Services
has been named by Fortune magazine as the best U.S. company to work
For the second-straight year, Edward Jones Financial Services has been named by Fortune magazine as the best U.S. company to work for.

The news, announced earlier this week by the magazine in its annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” issue, came as a surprise to Mark Vivian, manager of the Edward Jones office in Hollister.

“No kidding,” Vivian said. “I don’t know what to say. But this is awesome because this makes it two years in a row.”

What it really means to Vivian is that he made the right decision when he left a major competitor.

“This says a lot about our firm, about our values and what we stand for,” he said. “We just keep doing the work.”

Editors of Fortune cited Edward Jones’ profit-sharing program and significant employee ownership. One-fourth of the financial services firm’s employees have partnership stakes.

St. Louis-based Edward Jones employs more than 25,000 people, 63 percent of them women. Every employee receives 146 hours of company-provided training each year and new brokers get four times that much, according to Fortune.

While most brokerage firms suffered layoffs and declines in profit sharing in 2002, Edward Jones weathered the financial storm, the magazine’s editors said.

Vivian spoke highly of office administrator Julie Garner, saying her enthusiasm and attention to detail has helped the Hollister branch grow.

“Julie does a fantastic job,” Vivian said. “Together we take care of business, which is our clients, and we do it well. To get this kind of recognition proves it.”

Founded in 1871, Edward Jones has nearly 6 million clients and more than 8,800 offices and affiliates in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, and plans to expand to 10,000 offices this year. It is the only major financial service firm in the U.S. that exclusively advises individual investors.

Edward Jones offers personal financial advice through a newspaper column, “Financial Focus,” which is a regular feature of the Free Lance’s “Enterprise” section on Tuesdays.

“To work for the firm and work in this community has been the greatest opportunity of my life,” Vivian said. “How do I put it into words? But to say once again, it’s awesome.”

It was not the first time – or even the second – that the firm has earned national recognition. It was ranked No. 1 among full-service brokers by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine in its October 2002 issue and tied for first place in J.D. Power and Associates’ first-ever survey of customer satisfaction among full-service investors.

Two-thirds of the scoring in Fortune’s annual ranking of the best companies to work for comes from the responses of randomly selected employees to an anonymous survey on workplace quality. The other one-third is based on analysis of company benefits and practices.

-On the Net:

Fortune magazine: www.fortune.com

Edward Jones Financial Services: www.edwardjones.com

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