The Canadian division of Edward Jones will have a new leader in January 2012, when Gary Reamey, principal and head of the division, relinquishes the reins after 17 years as boss of the Mississauga, Ont.-based business and a total of 35 years with the St. Louis-based brokerage firm.

Reamey, 56, will be succeeded by David Lane, 47, principal, who has been responsible for Canadian recruiting, training and development for the past two years. Lane will join the firm’s management committee, while Reamey will step down. Lane has been with Edward Jones since 1987 and, like Reamey, has several years of experience as a financial advisor under his belt.

“I’ve been through difficult periods in the market as a financial advisor and I understand the emotions,” Lane says. “Using the personal approach to help clients is where we shine. We look at our clients’ needs and help keep them on a steady path with a conservative, well-diversified portfolio and a long-term approach. We have always been the voice of reason in tough times.”

Reamey will remain closely connected to the firm for another year. Although he is resigning from the management committee, which has an operational focus, he will remain a senior partner and continue to sit on the executive committee. (The latter committee has seven members and is the equivalent of a corporate board of directors for Edward Jones, which is structured as a private partnership owned by employees.)

By 2013, Reamey will withdraw completely and spend more time on charitable pursuits and travelling. His wife, whom he married a year ago, is a two-time breast cancer survivor who is now in good health; however, her experience with the illness has led the couple to reassess their priorities.

“I will be spending more time with my lovely bride,” Reamey says. “I could have stayed another seven or eight years in the job, but there are other things we want to do.”

Reamey joined Edward Jones 35 years ago and was a financial advisor for 12 years in a town near Chicago. He then spent five years at Edward Jones’s head office in St. Louis, in charge of fixed-income and equities trading. Originally, he came to Canada in 1994 on a three-year assignment to get the company’s first international division up and running, but he ended up staying for the rest of his career. Even after retirement, Reamey will continue to own a piece of the firm and share in profits through subordinated limited partnership units.

“The quality of my retirement depends,” he quips, “on how the firm does in the future.”

Lane joined Edward Jones as a college intern and became a financial advisor in Kentucky in 1987. Between 1992 and 2005, he consistently ranked among the top five financial advisors at the firm. He also served as a regional leader for 11 years.

In 2007, Lane helped create and launch the firm’s Legacy and Partner Plans. The Legacy Plan allows a new Edward Jones financial advisor to begin building a business in the branch of a successful advisor, sharing office space but not accounts.

In the Partners Plan, a successful advisor shares accounts, but not office space, with a novice. In the first three years, more than 3,000 advisors have participated in these programs.

In 2010, Lane moved to Toronto, assuming responsibility for advi-sor recruiting and training.

Lane takes the reins at a time when Edward Jones is planning an aggressive expansion in Canada, increasing the number of its offices to a targeted 3,000 from 600 today. Offices will be opened as qualified advisors become available, but Lane expects the annual pace of expansion will be 10%-15%.

The cost structure in Canada is similar to that of the U.S. and unlike that in Britain, where Edward Jones sold its operations in 2009 after 10 years of working to establish a foothold. Edward Jones offers a unique business model of branch offices located within the communities in which clients live and work. Each office has one financial advisor and one branch administrator.

“The business model works in Canada, and our conservative investment philosophy makes sense to Canadians,” Reamey says. “We have offices across the country, in locations ranging from Yorkville in Toronto to Medicine Hat, Alta. and we have the locations picked out that would take us to 3,000. I got us started in Canada, but it’s David’s job to take us the rest of the way.”

Edward Jones concentrates on serving only conservative, individual investors and does not offer aggressive products, such as junior stocks or commodities futures. The firm doesn’t underwrite securities or cater to institutional clients.

“We are unique,” Lane says, “in that we serve only one master. And that gives us a clear focus and a competitive advantage.” IE