Edward Jones’ Top Broker Takes Her $ 1.7-Bln Book to Ameriprise

July 5, 2022

Edward D. Jones & Co., the largest full service brokerage firm by its almost 19,000 brokers, has lost its biggest hitter.

Jennifer A. Marcontell, who managed $ 1.7 billion in client assets in Baytown, Texas, left on Friday to launch an independent practice with Ameriprise Financial in the Houston suburb of Mont Belvieu, an Ameriprise spokesperson confirmed. Two sources said she had been the top advisor at Edward Jones by assets, and the firm had promoted her as its largest in 2018 when she had a billion-dollar book, according to ThinkAdvisor.

Marcontell, a 22-year Jones lifer, had been generating around $ 10 million in annual revenue, according to one of the sources. Her practice, which is called Marcontell Wealth Management at Ameriprise, includes 450 families who have more than $ 4 million, on average, according to the firm.

Marcontell said in a statement that she was looking to move in part because she wanted a way to provide more opportunities for her team members. She made the move along with associate advisors Allie Gwynn, Erik Pettine and Todd Patton as well as support staff Ryan Heard, Tenna Howard and Kenzie Lackey and client associates Alicia Bryan and Victoria Gonzalez.

“At Ameriprise, I can empower my team members to take on greater roles in delivering exemplary service to our clients,” Marcontell said in a statement that also touted additional resources and technology tools that could “create capacity for us to spend more time” with customers.

Edward Jones for 100 years has operated on a single-broker branch model with only one advisor in an office supported by “branch office administrators.” Edward Jones expanded a program to allow brokers to co-locate and has piloted another program allowing them to share clients over the past two years. Marcontell, who did not return a request for additional comment, had been a driving force behind those efforts, sources said.

The departure also drew attention for her role as a prominent woman advisor given the industry’s focus on improving diversity. At Jones, 22% of its brokers are women, and managing partner Penny Pennington has set a target of 30% women by 2025.

A Jones spokesperson confirmed the departure.

“We appreciate the contributions Jennifer has made to our firm and our clients, and we wish her well in her future endeavors,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Our focus is on continuing to serve the clients of Baytown, TX, to help them achieve financially what is most important to them and their families.”

Louis Diamond, an industry recruiter with Diamond Consultants who was not involved in the move, said it marks an unusual departure for Jones, where the turnover was concentrated among more junior brokers, and could prompt other large producers to consider their options.

“Whenever one of the largest and most visible advisors leaves a firm, it makes others take notice since it’s the more significant advisors who were seemingly treated better,” Diamond said.

Jones brokers may also find independence a “natural evolution” given its entrepreneurial business model where they are already in charge of their own office and manage their own balance sheets for their branch, Diamond said.

Marcontell began her brokerage career when Jones still required trainees to go door-to-door knocking on doors, according to ThinkAdvisor. She grew her practice primarily through referrals and focused on chemical engineers based in Houston, according to the publication.

Jones has 18,772 brokers, a figure that has been declining in part by design as the firm said it is shifting from hiring for quantity to focusing on providing more support to improve retention and graduation rates among the brokers and trainees it hires. Its attrition rate was around 5.6% at the end of the first quarter, an improvement from 8.2% one year ago.

Ameriprise ended the quarter with 10,149 brokers across its employee and franchisee independent contractor channels, a 1% increase year over year. Most of the growth came from the independent channel, which climbed 2%, or a net 137, to 8,061 advisors, according to the company’s results.

(Updated with comment from Edward Jones.)

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