Edward Jones announced a significant hike to its annual technology spend this week designed to provide new tools to the firm’s 19,000 advisers and personalized experiences to clients.
Edward Jones is investing $1 billion this year in its technology infrastructure — including digital initiatives and virtual tools — to improve the relationships between clients and their financial advisers.
The company is also currently piloting new tools that may be released to its nearly 7 million clients in North America.
To oversee the project, the firm hired David Chubak as president of wealth management to help support the company’s numerous branches nationwide. A former Citigroup Inc. executive, Chubak oversaw the mortgage and wealth management divisions at Citi during a time when both teams were dealing with a surge in new business as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Edward Jones is on a multiyear journey,” said Kristin Johnson, chief human resources officer at the firm, adding the strategy will also invest in bringing on new talent and new partnerships.
The latest deal has Edward Jones updating its planning tool options with the addition of Envestnet MoneyGuide, which will help Edward Jones’ advisers build and manage financial plans with their clients. MoneyGuide capabilities will allow branch teams to address a broader range of client goals beyond retirement and education, according to a press release.
For decades, the company has been known as a destination for second-career advisers, turning the average American into a local registered rep to work in one-adviser offices across the country. But a focus on financial planning hasn’t been one of the firm’s traditional strengths.
“Our purpose calls us to improve the lives of our clients and colleagues,” Johnson said.
Financial planning tools have become a hot commodity at some of the industry’s largest wealth managers as advisers look to incorporate more of a client’s financial life into traditional plans.
Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley & Co. and UBS Group have all created in-house financial planning tools for advisers, and some have partnered with outside firms. Wells Fargo Advisors became the first wirehouse to add a key MoneyGuide competitor, eMoney, to its arsenal last April. Morgan Stanley has both a proprietary platform, Goals Planning System, alongside tools from outside vendors, including MoneyGuidePro.
Edward Jones advisers in the U.S. will test other ways to integrate MoneyGuide tools with a goal of scaled adoption by 2025, according to the company.
The parent company of Edward Jones, The Jones Financial Cos., ended 2021 with $1.8 trillion in client assets under administration, a $276 billion increase year over year. The rise was due in large part to market gains and net new assets disclosed in a 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this month.
Edward Jones reported revenue of $12.3 billion in 2021, a 22% increase compared to the prior year.
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.