Edward Jones adds two new offices in Greater GR

March 18, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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Two new offices were added recently to the network of Edward Jones financial advisors in the Greater Grand Rapids area, one in Cascade Township and the other in Grandville.

The Cascade office, at 825 Parchment SE, is headed by Philip Streng, who has been with Edward Jones for more than 10 years. The new Grandville office at 5570 Wilson Ave. is headed by Scott Kline, who has only been with the company for a little over a year but has worked in finance for about 20 years in Arizona and Michigan.

Edward Jones was “one of the few firms — possibly the only firm — that did not lay off any employees during the marked economic downturn of 2008 and 2009,” said Streng.

Although the financial industry was severely hurt in the Great Recession, added Streng, “We continued to grow and continued to bring on new financial advisors.”

According to CNN Money, Edward Jones is planning to hire 700 financial advisors in 2012.

Streng noted that the Edward Jones growth is “organic” rather than growth through mergers and acquisitions of other firms, unlike some of the other larger financial advisory companies that compete with Edward Jones. Streng said the increasing numbers of baby boomers entering retirement, or getting close to it, is an explanation for the growth.

“More and more people are retiring, and more need good financial advisors — hence the reason that we continue to grow, during good markets and bad,” he said.

Recently, for the 13th year, the company was named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America by Fortune magazine, with an overall rank of fifth place — third place among “large” companies.

When asked about the latest investment trends by individuals, Streng said financial advisors are beginning to see a shift away from people wanting to put a majority of their money into fixed income products such as bonds and CDs. He said there is growing “consumer confidence, and with that, people are starting to be more open minded” regarding equity markets, “more into stocks and stock mutual funds.”

“In general, overall there’s a shift to people being more risk-tolerant than they were, say, a couple of years ago,” said Streng.

Kline is a native of Baltimore who spent the first part of his career in Arizona working in commercial finance at Transamerica. He met a woman there who is a native of Grandville, and then fell in love with West Michigan when they came here in 1999 to get married. Shortly after that, he was recruited by Herman Miller, then later joined an office furniture dealer.

Kline said David Hibschman, who was his original Edward Jones advisor in West Michigan, first suggested in 2004 that he should consider joining Edward Jones. A couple of years later, he and his wife decided he should make a career change that would allow him to use his financial skills with individuals as opposed to corporations. He said joining Edward Jones in 2010 came after talking to financial advisors both in and outside that company for a period of two years.

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