Edward Jones Sponsors Program to Train Future Brokers

Edward Jones, the 92-year-old St. Louis brokerage, is looking to head off a projected shortfall of financial advisers by sponsoring training classes at U.S. universities.

The program, to begin at Kansas State University as students return for the fall semester, will prepare prospective U.S. stockbrokers for the Series 7 exam that they must pass before they can trade. Edward Jones, with more than 13,000 advisers, eventually plans to fund the course at 10 schools in partnership with finance education firm Securities Training Corp., the brokerage said today in a statement.

“More awareness of the industry on campuses will attract more practitioners,” Matt Doran, an Edward Jones general partner, said in a phone interview. The company hopes that the program will lure finance-oriented students who are wary of becoming responsible for someone else’s assets, and interest them in the field, he said.

As more Americans retire or near retirement, there will be a greater need for financial advisers, Edward Jones said. The industry is projected to add 60,300 advisers over the next decade, short of the 237,000 needed to “keep up with demand from the burgeoning number of retiring Baby Boomers,” the company said, citing projections from Cerulli Associates and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Getting Harder

Larger firms are struggling to replace a retiring generation of brokers who helped generate years of steady profits.

In 2012, Edward Jones announced its “20/20 Vision": a plan to have 20,000 brokers employed and $1 trillion of assets under management by 2020. The firm expanded that pool to $849 billion as of July, which is ahead of schedule, according to John Boul, a company spokesman.

Advisers over age 50 handle half of assets under management in the country, Doran said.

‘‘As they begin to retire, there needs to be an orderly transition for the relationships and assets that they manage,’’ he said. ‘‘Trust is a big part of this business.’’

For brokerages including Morgan Stanley (MS), the world’s largest, profits are rising for wealth management and declining for fixed-income trading. Morgan Stanley’s brokerage profit margin increased to 21 percent for the second quarter, the highest since the firm bought Smith Barney from Citigroup Inc. in 2009.

Edward Jones said it approached Kansas State because the brokerage has long-standing ties with the Manhattan, Kansas-based school.

‘‘They were very excited about the idea and wanted to implement it quickly,” Doran said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: George Rosa Acosta in New York at grosaacosta@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net David Scheer

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