Edward Jones is increasing his technology spending and is gradually making third party financing plans from Envestnet. MoneyGuide is available to more than 17,000 of its US-based advisors, according to an announcement. The newly available software will in some cases replace elements of the firm’s existing financial planning software, the Financial Foundation. The brokerage is investing $1 billion during the year in personnel, technology infrastructure, virtual trading tools and “testing and learning pilot programs” aimed at keeping the firm at a competitive level.
Edward Jones is using the money to “rebuild our cloud infrastructure” and “move away from mainframes” [technology]Franco said Laquinta, Chief Information Officer. It is designed to give investment advisors a better advisory platform, improve their mobile infrastructure, provide them with more tools through partnerships and enhance the cyber security of the firm, he said.
funding will also beSo can be used to attract new leadership and technical staff, he said. One of the first employees announced by the company is David Chubach, a former retail services executive at Citigroup. Chubbuck has been named chairman of Edward Jones’ wealth management division.
According to LaQuinta, this year’s technology investment adds to the amount of $700 million invested in similar categories last year.
Financial planning software is the only specific tool mentioned in the MoneyGuide announcement and later interview with Laquinta. The popular planning tool will be deployed in phases, with all US advisors having access by 2025.
Phased deployment fits with Edward Jones’ model of “testing and learning”, where small groups of consultants co-design the implementation of new tools with the head office. Together, the team tries to understand both how the new technology fits in with the firm’s service model — if it is at all — and then to figure out how to best implement the new technology. So that consultants provide services that set them apart from their competitors, while giving them more time to spend with clients.
“Test and Learn” is Edward Jones’ model for new technology deployments, LaQuinta said.
The principles behind MoneyGuide should be familiar to the firm’s advisors, who have so far used a proprietary goal-based software called Financial Foundation, according to materials on the firm’s site. The tool measures clients’ risk tolerance, net worth and cash flows, providing them with goal-tracking and projected future value of investments. Consultants are trained to lead meetings with financial planning.
According to Edward Jones spokeswoman Regina Deluca-Imral, “MoneyGuide will replace specific elements of the Financial Foundation and enhance others.” By 2025, “all financial advisors will provide advice and guidance through a joint Financial Foundation/MoneyGuide platform.”
Edwards Jones executives pushed against the idea that the firm’s tech investments were a response to the realities of remote working and digital collaboration brought on by the pandemic. In 2019, the firm established a permanent “office of change” led by Kristin Johnson, tasked with developing the firm’s approach to financial advice, including its technology. With the right approach, Johnson said Edward Jones could grow his client list from about 7 million to 40 million in just North America.
New technology and improved workflow are there to help consultants scale. “The pandemic caused a lot of change in behaviour. We already had ‘increased collaboration’ and ‘digital enablement tools’ on our roadmap,” Laquinta said.[The pandemic] Just quick approval, because our strategic roadmap was always aggressive. ,
“The reason why we are increasing our investment is because of the success we are seeing from our branch team and the satisfaction we are getting from our customers,” he said. “We’re just moving fast.”
Edward Jones announced the start of its rollout of a range of new prospect and client engagement tools in August 2020. The four applications included Starting Point, Edward Jones Match, My Priorities and Webinar Hub.