By Tad Edwards, Chairman, CEO and President

Today we held our sixth annual meeting of shareholders. It was a great meeting, as I thoroughly enjoy updating our shareholders on our firm’s progress and am always energized by their questions, and I thought I’d summarize some of the highpoints.

From a recruiting and growth standpoint, we had a very productive 2013. We added 57 advisors and opened 15 new offices. Thus far in 2014, we’ve continued our growth and currently have 167 advisors and 45 branches in 22 states. Not surprisingly, I continue to see the opportunities – and never the barriers!

I believe our firm is right at the sweet spot of our industry. So many companies have been taken over by banks in the last decade, which can be a difficult transition for many to make. At the same time, people are leaving larger firms and giving companies like Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. serious consideration.

What are advisors looking for and why is Edwards gaining traction? As I continue to meet with advisors, I’ve identified these primary factors:

  1. Advisors want to control their destiny and their client relationships and have the freedom to handle their clients as they see fit
  2. They want to be empowered with the tools necessary to meet their clients’ needs
  3. They want to be part of a culture that truly puts the client first
  4. They want to be at an entrepreneurial firm where they can be an equity owner
  5. They want a firm behind them with a solid brand and reputation our firm continues to build and develop.

Simply, our firm and our story resonate with advisors in today’s environment. Moreover, they are impressed by our Home Office culture, which not only provides superior service, but we will also move mountains to meet the needs of our clients and our advisors. We understand that our valued-added must exceed what we charge.

SVP and Director of Sales and Marketing, Kortney Christensen, offered some excellent remarks concerning the differing needs and expectations of boomers and millennials, and how we are working to address those needs as a firm. I’m going to ask her to write them up and post them here. Her observations were excellent.

In addition to CFO Tom Martin adding his insight about our growth and progress, we also enjoyed great presentations from Lois Powell, SVP and director of the Texas market, and Mark Fellows, SVP and Mountain West regional manager. Both are constantly talking to advisors and added their thoughts as to what advisors are looking for in a firm today. Kim Landry, VP and director of advisor growth outlined some of the tools and programs we are providing our advisors to help them grow their business.

As we approach the fifth anniversary of opening our very first office location in Springfield, MO, I continue to be heartened and inspired by what this group – and our seasoned leadership team – have accomplished. It’s remarkable and I can’t wait to see the next chapters unfold in the years ahead. Thanks for reading.