•Women interested in attending Edward Jones financial adviser recruiting dinner at 6 p.m. Tuesday should contact Chuck Harris in advance. He can be reached toll-free at 1-800-441-9553 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chuck Harris wants to help change the face of Edward Jones. Just a little bit.
His focus: Finding a few more women willing to join the financial services firm as advisers.
“As a firm, our goal is to have the same number of women as a percentage as the number of women in the population,” Harris said. “There’s people who can be reached by a professional woman who knows what they’re going through, perhaps more than I can.”
Harris was appointed this spring as a recruiting leader in northeast Indiana for Edward Jones’ women’s initiative. He’s been working with the firm for 24 years and has an office in Huntington.
On Tuesday, Harris is hosting a dinner at Biaggi’s in Fort Wayne to help recruit women who might be potential financial advisers for Edward Jones.
Although his appointment may seem like an anomaly, Harris isn’t the only man Edward Jones has on the mission, formally called the Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies, or WINGS program.
Anywhere from 10 percent to 15 percent of the WINGS recruiters are men, said Amy Williams, a principal with Edward Jones, a St. Louis firm.
“The end game is to get the best quality talent in a seat serving our clients,” said Williams, who is part of Edward Jones’ Talent Acquisition Department.
Edward Jones has made some strides since it launched WINGS about four years ago. Williams said 18 percent, or more than 2,000, of Edward Jones financial advisers are women. That’s up about 2 percentage points from when the recruitment and training program started.
Sheila Roesler McCampbell is a wealth management adviser in Fort Wayne with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co.
“It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do this or shouldn’t do this based on being a female,” said McCampbell, who noted that her firm also has a program to help build diversity in staffing, including along gender lines.
McCampbell said women are “uniquely suited” to helping people manage their finances and achieve goals, partly because they are empathetic and have strong relationship-building skills.
“We want to make friends and build a relationship first and then get to business,” McCampbell said. “Gentlemen are a little more comfortable getting down to (business) right away … We all get to the same place ultimately.”
Although Harris is hosting the Edward Jones recruiting dinner Tuesday at Biaggi’s, he’s not flying solo.
He knows women might want to talk to other women in the male-dominated field.
“At that dinner, we’re going to have several female financial advisers who can talk to them with wisdom,” Harris said. “My goal is to make sure whenever I’m talking to a female, if she’s really interested, to get her in front of a female financial adviser.”
Harris said being a financial adviser offers benefits, such as flexible hours. But the job also comes with added responsibility for making an office profitable.
He thinks it’s important to have detailed discussions with people working in the field before considering it as a career.
“We really want no surprises,” Harris said. “Too many times you make a career change and you realize what you’re going into is not any better than what you left.”
Training to become a financial adviser with Edward Jones varies, based on education and career experience.
But most candidates eventually complete training and take exams, such as a Series 7 or Series 66, to become successful financial advisers.
Edward Jones pays for the training.
In return, the firm expects people who get hired on to become financial advisers will provide the “sweat equity,” building relationships to attract clients.
“The only reason they shouldn’t make it is, one, they just don’t really want to do the work, or two, their skill set,” Harris said.