Alumnus Named to Forbes Top 250 List

Troy Nelson always wanted to be a financial advisor. His dad, who dedicated nearly 30 years to training financial advisors, inspired him. Nelson graduated from MSUM with a degree in finance in 1998. He credits MSUM with giving him the tools needed to start his career.

“I got a good education and my degree in finance helped set the foundation for everything I needed in terms of my career,” Nelson said.

At MSUM, Nelson participated in Campus Crusade for Christ, which helped start a faith journey that is an important part of his life.

“My faith journey has completely changed how I operate as a businessperson, a leader in my community, a leader in my family and as a father,” Nelson said. “The stuff that built a solid foundation for my future in terms of both my faith and my education happened at MSUM.”

After graduation, Nelson applied to all the major investment firms and was turned down by every single one of them including, Edward Jones. Despite initial rejection by Edward Jones, he refused to take no for an answer and has now worked there for more than 20 years.

“I got a letter from Edward Jones saying I did not meet their hiring criteria, so I grabbed the phone and called the lady whose name was at the bottom of that letter,” Nelson said.  “I told her she had a tough job because she has to look at a sheet of paper and determine who Troy Nelson is. I told her, respectfully, she got it wrong.”

After making that phone call and laying out his case, they allowed him to go through the hiring process. He was offered a job and started his Bismarck N.D. based practice completely from scratch. After five years, he had established the largest office in the entire firm. With that, he had to learn the best way to serve his clients effectively and efficiently as his practice grew.

“I had to grow as a leader, and I’ve dedicated a lot of time doing that. I have coaches, a counselor, and I’ve done multiple leadership workshops,” Nelson said.

Nelson spends a typical day solving complex problems for his clients. He says that his ability to communicate complex solutions in easy-to-understand ways helps him stand out among other financial advisors.

“All Edward Jones offices are typically advisor operated so I can run my business in an entrepreneurial fashion,” Nelson said. “I call it a little ship with a big rudder; I can make course corrections quickly, but I have the backing, technology and research of a large firm. It’s the best of both worlds.” 

His team’s number one goal is to leave their clients better off than they were before.  Nelson enjoys making a big difference in people’s lives by finding solutions to all sorts of financial problems.

Recently, Nelson was named to the Forbes Top 250 list, a ranking of the nation’s top financial advisors. He landed at 125 and is the first person from Edward Jones and the state of North Dakota to make the list. The prestigious honor included rigorous screening and a lengthy interview.

“The Forbes Top 250 list is the gold standard, and I am very honored,” Nelson said.

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