Help wanted: 320 advisors isn’t enough for Edelman Financial Services

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SAN FRANCISCO — The combination of Edelman Financial and Financial Engines has already produced a giant among RIAs that fields approximately 320 advisors overseeing about $200 billion in assets. But even with double the headcount than he had before the combination, Ric Edelman says they need more hands on deck to meet rising demand.

About 150,000 prospective clients have contacted the firm this year alone to get financial help, Edelman says.

“People ask, how big are you going to keep growing? My wife and I have the same answer: our goal is to meet demand. If requests for our help exceed our capacity, we’ll add more capacity,” says Edelman, who spoke at SourceMedia’s In|Vest West conference.

Edelman’s firm has private equity backing from Hellman & Friedman, which has a majority stake in his business. In April, Hellman & Friedman said they would buy Financial Engines and combine it with Edelman’s firm — a deal that closed in July.

The combined firm was rebranded Edelman Financial Engines last month.

Adding more advisors is on the agenda for next year, Edelman says. Though he declined to specify how many planners the firm may add, he says “that number will grow substantially.”

Doing so would also complement what the firm’s executives describe as their mission to build more scale into the enterprise and to build connectivity between the firm’s business. Ten million clients already use the firm's services in its 401(k) business, says John Bunch, COO of Financial Engines, who spoke alongside Edelman. The company’s emphasis on technology and human talent, he says, will enable them to provide more services to clients.

“If they have a need, we can have a local advisor talk to them. That’s where technology really comes into play,” Bunch says.

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