Survey respondents said they liked a lot of what veterans could bring to the table as financial advisors, including discipline (77%), goal-orientation (73%) and integrity (72%). Well over half, 61%, said they would like to work with a veteran to thank him or her for service to the country. What’s more, nine out of 10 believed skills gained in the military are transferable to other careers.
St. Louis-based Edward Jones employs more than 1,300 veterans, or 11% of their workforce, as financial advisors. “Since our founding, Edward Jones has recognized the transferable skills and exemplary characteristics military veterans can offer our clients,” said Jim Weddle, managing partner at Edward Jones.
Greg Bosner had a 20-year career in the military, retiring from the army as a Lt. Colonel before starting to work as an Edward Jones advisor in Erie, Pa., 19 years ago. At his last post in Germany, he was in charge of running the deployment of an entire base of troops to the Gulf War.
“I was a boss for 600 people working for me, that’s a tremendous amount of responsibility,” Bosner said. “I translate that to my relationship for 400 to 500 families I’m working for now - that carries across.”
While the skills Bosner learned in the military have been invaluable in his second career, he said that non-veteran advisors can still develop those same abilities. As a member of the hiring team at Edward Jones, he is looking for a focus on the client “mission focus,” in military-speak and “the determination to keep working until you succeed.”
For advisors not planning on enlisting, here are some of Bosner’s tips:
-- Listen to clients
“The most important thing is to listen to your client, understand what they want to achieve, and take the time to develop a plan to achieve those goals, whether short-term or long-term,” Bosner said.
-- Fulfill your promises
“Monitor things to make sure they’re being accomplished in the way they should be,” Bosner said.
-- Demonstrate leadership
“Give them leadership and make sure you¹re doing the absolute best job,” Bosner said.
“You have to have the determination to get those things accomplished,” Bosner said.
Elizabeth Wine writes for On Wall Street.