Three regional brokerage firms made Fortune magazine’s top 100 companies to work for this year: Edward Jones ranked number 16, Robert W. Baird placed number 31, and AG Edwards came in at 70. The list was published in the January issue of Fortune, available today.
The rankings confirm Registered Rep.’s own Broker Report Card surveys, the results of which often provoke the ire of non-Jones and non-Edwards employed reps. Brokers at AG Edwards and Edward Jones gave their firms the highest marks for everything from sales support to management to ethics. Wirehouse firms Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, UBS, Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley consistently lagged behind the two St. Louis-based firms.
Other financial services firms in Fortune’s top 100 list, of which there were a total of 16, included Goldman Sachs at 26, The Vanguard Group at 60, Russell Investment Group at 63, Ernst & Young at 67, PriceWaterhouse Coopers at 71 and Principal Financial Group at 86.
Fortune editors were particularly impressed by Edward Jones dedication to training, saying of the firm, “The education never ends at this brokerage firm, which spends 2.5 percent of payroll on training. A mentoring program pairs new brokers with veterans for a year, and lots of workers take subsidized business school classes.”
Jim Weddle, managing partner of Edward Jones, said of the honor, “We consider this ranking a strong endorsement of our associates’ dedication to doing what is right for our clients. But as excited as we are with the news, we know our challenge is to remain a great company by staying focused on what we do best - helping our clients achieve their investment objectives.”
Robert W. Baird said in a statement that it attributes its high score to a culture of honesty and integrity as well as perks like flexible work arrangements, tuition reimbursement and online and classroom training through the firm’s in-house Baird University. The firm also notes that it has a strong commitment to the community and actively supports associates’ volunteer efforts.
Meanwhile, AG Edwards said in a release that it was recognized for providing opportunities for employees to earn college credit by taking courses through A.G. Edwards University, the company's in-house training department. “I have long held that our brand is our people and our product is our knowledge. Our commitment to our training program underscores this belief,” said Robert L. Bagby, chairman and chief executive officer of A.G. Edwards.
For this year’s list, companies were evaluated based on their personnel policies and corporate culture as well as opinions of the companies’ employees. Fortune selected the firms on its “100 Best Companies to Work For” list through a detailed analysis done by the Great Place to Work Institute. The Institute surveyed more than 400 randomly selected employees from each of 466 companies, and these employee opinions accounted for two-thirds of the total score each company received.