While some of Wall Street’s most powerful financial institutions like Merrill Lynch slash its retail brokerage workforce, Edward Jones is planning to add 3,000 rookie brokers to its retail sales force this year, according to Chris Gilkison, the firm’s head of recruiting and hiring. Moreover, while firms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS PaineWebber are trying to recover from sagging revenues, Edward Jones continues to show profits, according to Gilkison. “We’re one of those rare financial companies in this economic environment that are not only profitable but are growing our network of investment representatives,” he says. “We’re on target to add 3,000 investment reps by the end of the year.” Ed Jones, which added 2,800 brokers in 2001, has a total of 7,975 reps in the United States, 523 in Canada and 102 in the United Kingdom, the firm says. Jones, a conservative firm that didn’t get caught up in the dot-com tech craze, is showing profits, unlike some of its competitors, partly because for the third consecutive year, the five-year return of the firm’s model portfolio outperformed 14 other major brokerage firms, according to the firm. The 93.5 percent return for the past five years also outpaced the 66.2 percent recorded by Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500 stock index, according to Jones.