Edward Jones Keeps the Offices Open

What happens when you own or pay rent at 15,000 storefronts throughout the country and a pandemic induced lockdown occurs? If you are Penny Pennington, the managing partner/chief executive officer of $1.3 trillion investment firm Edward D. Jones & Co. and this week’s guest on Masters in Business, you keep all 15,000 offices open, with the lights on and staffed during the crisis.

Although the offices were not open to the public, Pennington says it was important for clients and the local communities to see the financial system was running and operating on their behalf. The firm made it optional for its 19,000 financial advisors to work from their offices, which are large enough for two or three employees to occupy safely while social distancing. We discuss how the firm’s clients have been hyper-focused on the election, not so much from a partisan electoral perspective but what the results might mean to investors’ portfolios, taxes, financial regulation and the fiduciary rule.

Pennington began her Edward Jones career in 2000 as a financial adviser. She is also senior executive sponsor of the firm’s LGBT+ & Allies Business Resource Group, and was recently named No. 33 on the Fortune Most Powerful Women in Business list. Pennington explains what her firm is doing to promote more gender and racial diversity, and why that’s so important in the financial services industry.

A list of her favorite books are here; A transcript of our conversation is available here.

You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesSpotifyStitcherGoogleBloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business episode next week with Dennis Lynch, head of Counterpoint Global at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, running $44 billion. Several of the funds Lynch runs are up close to 100% in 2020.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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