General George S. Patton once said, “You cannot be disciplined in great things and indisciplined in small things.” That same philosophy could be applied to being a financial advisor. According to an Edward Jones survey of 1,006 Americans, 57 percent of people believe the skills gained in the military are transferable to a career as an FA. The survey, conducted by ORC International on behalf of Edward Jones, said 95 percent of Americans would work with an advisor who was a veteran primarily for their discipline, goal-orientation and integrity. Scott Smith, analyst at Cerulli Associates, says “They're good at keeping people on track, and they're good at following orders. So once they learn a sales system and sales process and relationship management process, they stick with it.”
According to Cerulli data from 2011, 3.8 percent of all financial advisors previously served in the military, including 4.2 percent of IBD/insurance brokers and 3.6 percent of wirehouse advisors. Edward Jones employs 1,300 veterans, 11 percent of the firm's total advisor force. There are well over 200,000 people transitioning out of military service every year, said Mark Eberlin, general partner at Edward Jones responsible for recruiting veterans. Ed Jones' sweet spot within the military has been those with ranks and positions where they are leading others, making decisions, and developing others within the military, Eberlin said.