Edward Jones took a unique approach to responding to the Covid-19 crisis: it kept all of its roughly 15,000 branches around the U.S. open and staffed, even as much the country went into lockdown, according to news reports.
In March, Edward Jones told its advisors to suspend residential face-to-face meetings and restricted access to its branch offices, as reported. But the company then gave its 19,000 financial advisors the option to come in to the office or work remotely, Barry Ritholtz, co-founder, chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, writes on Bloomberg.
The company’s branch offices allow up to two or three employees to work together while observing social distancing recommendations, according to Ritholtz, who interviews Edward Jones managing partner Penny Pennington in a Bloomberg podcast.
But the firm had to prepare to go to a remote approach quickly: Pennington tells Ritholtz that “within a matter of about 10 days, we went from 15,000 remote connections available across our firm to 50,000 remote connections.”
And even though the public couldn’t access the branches, Pennington believes “it was important for clients and the local communities to see the financial system was running and operating on their behalf,” Ritholtz writes.
“Despite our own personal anxiety, all of us have had to deal with all kinds of disruptions in our own lives, but we get out of bed every morning thinking about our clients and helping them reduce the anxiety in their lives,” Pennington tells Ritholtz.
“It’s been a centering mechanism for [the advisors] and a way that’s kept us all together,” she says.
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