Benjamin F. Edwards in Chesterton sees people and dreams behind them

Benjamin F. Edwards in Chesterton sees people and dreams behind them
By: Kellyn Vale Last Updated: August 13, 2019

In the tough industry of finance, it’s rare to find a company who looks beyond the surface level of numbers and profitability to see the people and dreams behind them. Such is not the case with Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., a financial advisory firm. Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. has been driven by deep-rooted family values with a rich history stretching back to the Lincoln administration over 130 years ago.

Established in 1887 by General Albert Gallatin Edwards and his son Benjamin Franklin Edwards, the legendary brokerage firm was originally launched as A.G. Edwards and Son, and planted its roots in the heart of St. Louis’s financial district. Three years later “son” turned to “sons,” as Benjamin’s brother George joined the business. Both Edwards brothers were among the first of several generations of Edwards men who would run the business, each one building upon the last to establish the company as one of the largest brokerages in the country. This trend continued through 2007 when the firm was acquired by Wachovia Corp, leaving Benjamin F. (Tad) Edwards IV, current CEO of Benjamin F. Edwards, with a decision that would determine the legacy of his family’s company for decades to come.

“Tad decided to leave the company and start his privately held brokerage, which he named after his father, Benjamin F. Edwards III,” said Cliff Bryan, Managing Director at Benjamin F. Edwards in Chesterton. “He brought with him the well-known values of the Edwards family, and that was the beginning of what the company is today.”

Founded in 2008, the first Benjamin F. Edwards branch opened in August 2009. In 2018, Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. entered its 10th year of business with $23 billion in assets under management and launched a hybrid Registered Investment Advisory (RIA), Edwards Wealth Management earlier this year.

The firm now has 73 offices in 27 states with almost 300 Financial Advisors and 600 employees. The firm’s mission is to empower financial advisors with the freedom to provide personalized investment advice in an atmosphere grounded in trust, integrity and mutual respect. Financial Advisors are armed with advanced, comprehensive resources to provide clients with informed and objective advice to meet each unique investment objective.

 “When we started Benjamin F. Edwards, we were right in the middle of the Great Recession when many of the storied names of Wall Street were struggling or failing,” said Tad Edwards, Chairman, CEO and President. “But we knew that we had a real opportunity to put investors back where they belong – in the driver’s seat of the financial advisor-client relationship.” 

“Trust is the cornerstone of our industry and our client relationships,” Edwards continued. “We empower our advisors to earn it from their clients and establish a solid give-and-take relationship rooted in integrity and mutual respect.”

If ever there were a word to encompass all that Benjamin F. Edwards embodies, family would be at the top of the list, but for reasons that run far deeper than the many generations of the Edwards name.

“The Edwards family has had a tremendous legacy of respect, putting the client first always, and making sure the work environment was such that people wanted to come in to work every day,” Bryan said. “It’s never been about bottom line first—it’s always client first, employees second, and the bottom-line fits in somewhere after that.”

At Benjamin F. Edwards, clients are treated like family, and so is each one of its dedicated employees.

Family-centric culture has been a defining value of Benjamin F. Edwards from the beginning and is carried out in its offices nationwide.

“We all work together like a family, and support each other like a family,” Bryan said. “If that means that an employee’s kids need to come spend the day with us because school is closed due to weather, then we welcome that.”

This mindset is demonstrated wholeheartedly in Bryan’s branch, but is embraced throughout the company right up to the Edwards family themselves. Tad Edwards is a proven testament to the culture that has been built.

“Tad embraces this ideal with everything he does,” Bryan said. “If an employee has something important occur in their life, he’ll pick up the phone and call that individual. You don’t get that at the big firms, they just don’t have those relationships.”

Though Bryan’s branch is celebrating just one year of service this month in Northwest Indiana, the firm’s connection to the organization at large feels as though it goes back for years.

“Our firm has been absorbed into the greater company with open arms,” Bryan said. “We all share the same common goal, and every office operates like a family within the big family of the company.”

“I’ve been with multiple firms and had heard about the atmosphere here at Benjamin F. Edwards,” said Jennifer Espinoza, Senior Client Service Associate. “When I came here, I was just blown away that everything they said was true. I don’t think we’ve encountered anything as a team here that hasn’t been taken care of, where everyone didn’t come together and just say, ‘Hey, we’ve got this.’”

The admirable company culture that exists at Benjamin F. Edwards was inspired by decades of rich heritage that just can’t be matched and is a rarity in today’s world of finance. May the firm continue to hold onto its strong historical ties and show the world the great things that can happen when a company puts kindness first.