Training APEX Awards Best Practice: Edward Jones’ Journey to Goals-Based Advice (GBA)

Prior to the first session of this test-and-learn experience, learners took a self-assessment on the new Ed professional development platform to gauge their strengths and opportunities for improvement in 21 GBA behaviors.


APEX Awards

Edward Jones’ Journey to Goals-Based Advice (GBA) is a test-and-learn learning experience co-created by the financial services firm’s branch teams and the home office to help branch teams increase the percentage of their clients with multiple goals.

Goals-based advice includes the mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets Edward Jones financial advisors must employ to serve clients deeply and completely. It’s critical that branch teams build up their GBA acumen because they’ll use this whether they’re offering clients an investment plan based on all the client’s goals or the firm’s future offering of a fuller, more-integrated financial plan, where the financial advisor acts as a fiduciary.

Program Details

Branch teams are Edward Jones’ largest global associate population, comprising nearly 43,000 financial advisors and branch team support members. This training is targeted at branch teams “in the middle” in terms of adopting GBA. The training impacts all branch team associates, as financial advisors work as a team with their branch team support members in growing client relationships. The training also impacts home office associates who take feedback from trainees and lessons learned and apply those to future branch team training programs.

Journey to GBA content focused on four topics delivered in a three-part series:

Session 1: Discovery and Financial Statements

Session 2: Multiple Goals and Co-Created Agendas

Session 3: Bringing It All Together

Training content and delivery included the following:

  • Prior to the first session, learners took a self-assessment on the new Ed professional development platform to gauge their strengths and opportunities for improvement in 21 GBA behaviors. Based on the assessment, Ed recommended a GBA learning journey the learner could complete on Ed prior to the live Journey to GBA training.
  • Each session began with field-based Advanced Branch Team Performance (ABTP) partners (general partners who are also financial advisors running successful branches) delivering the content and sharing best practices in a video.
  • After participants viewed the video, ABTP partners facilitated a live, virtual Q&A session, followed by a branch team peer group session to discuss key takeaways and action items.
  • Participants returned to their branches to implement the action items.
  • Two weeks later, small cohorts of 10 or fewer branch teams gathered to discuss their experiences implementing training in their branches: what worked well, what didn’t work, obstacles faced, and best practices discovered. These live, virtual peer group sessions were facilitated by peer group leaders—one financial advisor and one branch office administrator from a branch successfully implementing GBA. While participants were free to discuss any topics, the peer group leaders led the sessions by prioritizing key topics aligned with the firm’s strategic transformation.

Journey to GBA is reinforced on the new Ed professional development platform, which currently hosts seven GBA learning journeys, each focused on a different topic and broken down into several microlearning components.


As of July 28, 2023, 35 percent of branch teams had adopted GBA and were delivering GBA to 49 percent or more of their client relationships.

Branch teams that participated in Journey to GBA saw significantly greater increases in the percentage of clients with emergency cash and protection goals compared to non-participants over the same period. From December 2022 to April 2023, branch teams who participated in Journey to GBA experienced the following results:

  • 8 percent increase in emergency cash goals (vs. a 6 percent increase for non-participants)
  • 1 percent increase in protection goals (vs. no increase for non-participants)
Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.