Edward Jones has record year, helped by boost in advisers

Increase in head count, strong equity markets drive sharp increase in assets

By Mason Braswell

Jan 15, 2014 @ 5:00 pm (Updated 5:11 pm) EST

edward jones, earnings, revenue, headcount, advisers, profit

If a rising tide lifts all boats, Edward Jones was no exception last year.

On the heels of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo & Co., which announced positive fourth quarter earnings this week, Edward Jones reported that it saw a big boost in earnings and client assets as market growth helped drive the firm forward.

Last year, Edward Jones broke records set in 2012, bringing in 14% more revenue for a total of $5.66 billion, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Of that, the firm took in $674 million in profits, up 21% from $555 million in 2012.

The results benefited from a haul of net new assets of $48 billion, 50% more than the $32 billion brought in 2012. Total client assets held at Edward Jones rose 18% last year to $787 billion.

Part of that growth can be attributed to a boost in head count at the firm. The total number of financial advisers rose to 13,158 as the firm gained 695 advisers last year, a greater increase than the 225 advisers brought on in 2012.

“The firm achieved record results for number of financial advisers, assets under care, net revenue and net income before allocations to partners,” the firm said in its filing. “The firm is growing its number of financial advisers and its ability to help more serious, long-term individual investors achieve their financial goals.”

Most of the revenue growth came from fee-based advisory accounts, the firm said.

Fee revenue jumped 18% to $3.09 billion and comprised more than half the firm's total revenue. Trade revenue grew at a slower pace as the firm made $2.44 billion in commissions last year, up 8% from 2012.

“The main drivers of the increase in fee revenue are the continued investment of client assets into advisory programs, which is an attractive solution to clients' financial needs, and an increase in the equity markets,” the firm said.