Your Go-To For Personal Financial Services
by Melissa LaScaleia
Edward Jones, established in 1922, is a privately-held firm that provides financial services to serious, long-term individual investors in the U.S. and Canada.
The firm’s 17,600 financial advisers serve more than 7 million clients and care for $1 trillion in assets under management.
Personal service to the individual is of utmost importance.The branch-office business model allows financial advisers to discuss individual investment needs on a one-on-one basis and partner with clients for the long term to help keep them on track with their goals.
The firm’s investment philosophy focuses on investing for the long-term in quality investments aligned with one’s goals and risk tolerance.
Financial Advisor Audrey Williamson, CFP, and Tracey Gohn, senior branch office administrator, are the branch team located in the Market Common, at 1101 Johnson Ave, Suite 103. The branch office can be accessed from the Johnson Avenue parking lot or by the front door located at the corner of Nevers and Deville streets.
The Insider asked Audrey to give readers a sense of her business perspective: “Our branch vision is to understand our clients’ goals and risk tolerance, by using an established process of building customized portfolios to help achieve their goals. We continue to partner with them over time to make sure they stay on track. We are stress testing our clients’ strategies because everyone has bumps in the road that can take them off track.
“Sometimes we may move inches, and other times miles. We look at emergency cash, which, in most cases, is the major bump in the road, cash flow, and estate considerations. We partner with our clients’ CPAs and attorneys to make sure we are all aligned with our clients’ goals. Finally, we make sure the strategy is protected by reviewing current life disability and long-term-care insurance.”
“In the early ’90s, as a young professional,” Audrey continues, “I didn’t understand finance and investing. My husband and I really had no idea if our retirement would be on track. I decided that I wanted to take control of our finances, so I began to learn, and during that process, I realized there were many others who felt the same way.
“So, I made a career change and went to work with a small community bank in the trust department in Grand Rapids, MI. Over the next several years, I substantially grew in my learning and earned the CFP® designation.
“I am proud of that designation, and how that knowledge helps assist our clients to form the best financial strategy for their lives. As part of my required continuing education, I also have attained the Charter Financial Consultant designation (ChFC).
“My husband Jeff and I had been visiting family in Myrtle Beach for many years and we had planned on retiring in the Carolinas at some point. In 2013, as the Michigan winters became harder to handle, we accelerated our plans and made the decision to build our new home in the Market Common.”
In early 2014, Audrey accepted the opportunity to work with Edward Jones, and officially moved into the Market Common office on Black Friday in November 2014.
“The extensive resources that Edward Jones provides, allows me to educate and show our clients that no matter what stage they are in, whether just starting to accumulate wealth or if they are in the distribution phase, we have the knowledge to show them what the outcome can or will be,” Audrey says. “We truly feel it’s important to show every client how to understand what they own and why they own it.
“Our clients understand that our branch team knows what is important to them. Thankfully they do not have to communicate with a 1-800 number or some type of robo-advisor. Our clients choose us because they are looking for a face-to-face personal contact that will be proactive towards their needs. Our clients are also aware of the extensive resources provided by Edward Jones, whether it be through our robust website and online resources, or the in-depth research department, which is always focused on putting the client first.
“Tracey’s presence as our Senior Branch Office Administrator is critical to this and so many aspects of our clients’ satisfaction.”
Tracey has been with Edward Jones for thirteen years, and as a result of her achievements, was invited to participate in multiple Limited Partnership offerings. Her achieving senior branch office administrator is a designation given by Edward Jones in recognition of her outstanding participation in the branch.
Tracey and her husband, Jeff, relocated from Saratoga Springs, NY, where she had worked as an assistant vice president at one of the largest regional banks in upstate NY.
“She not only runs our day-to-day operations,” Audrey says, “she also truly cares for clients on a personal level.
“Tracey and I are thankful every day for the opportunity to be part of Edward Jones. By focusing on what’s best for our clients, it has allowed us to deliver an ideal client experience.
“Additionally, the culture of volunteerism within Edward Jones is beyond anything I have ever experienced. The commitment to mentoring and helping to train and support other branch teams and newer financial advisers is amazing.
“We continue to recruit from all professions. Some of our best financial advisers were Edward Jones clients, teachers, CPAs and attorneys.
“If you are interested in the Edward Jones opportunity, please feel free to contact me. We have one of the most robust training programs out there. Edward Jones wins awards every year for our extensive level of training and the continuation of that training. This opportunity allows you to have your own office and essentially run your own business.”
Audrey Williamson of Edward Jones
1101 Johnson Ave., Suite 103, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
M-Th 8:30am-4:30pm; F 8:30am-4pm; and by appointment