Edward Jones plans to add about 8,000 advisors over the next eight years. If this ambitious goal can be realized or even approached, some of the success may be due to specialized efforts to recruit and acclimate new advisors from nontraditional backgrounds.

For instance, Edward Jones has had its Women's Initiative for New Growth Strategies (WINGS) in place since 2008, according to Amy Williams, the principal at Edward Jones who is responsible for the program. “WINGS has helped our firm grow its ranks of female advisors by 26% from 2008 to 2011,” Williams said. “This was done in the midst of a very challenging market environment.”

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