Edward Jones Gets Apology from Reg Rep Magazine

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Jul 9, 2010 2:43 pm

Afraid to offend? Editorial independence or no?

Edward Jones got a high profile apology  from Reg Rep Magazine.  This month's "Street Level" letter from the editor profusely apologized for its misjudgement in portraying EJ Reps as being rubes.  The photo illustrating the story was seen as being not complimentary to Jones by Jones Reps.

I am wondering how objective Reg Rep Magazine is.

Jul 9, 2010 3:23 pm

The apology is as funny as the pic, hehe. 

 http://registeredrep.com/institutions/edwardjones/finance_apologies_edward_jones/index.html?imw=Y

Apologies To Edward Jones FAs

Jul 1, 2010 12:00 PM, By David A. Geracioti Editor-In-Chief

In our June issue, we wrote a story detailing Ed Jones' new increased production expectations (“Jones Raising Production Expectations,” June 2010). It was, in general, a positive story noting Ed Jones' support in trying to lift the business fortunes of lagging advisors. Alas, we played out the trite theme of Ed Jones' long history, its no-nonsense approach to investing and, well, the firm's “squareness,” is how we put it. Of course, Ed Jones does play to this theme, about how the firm and its employees don't chase the hot dot.

And that's a fine theme. But we here at Registered Rep. erred in our illustration of the story. (See photo at right.) We put a photo of a geeky businessman, wearing an ill-fitting suit, carrying — unaccountably — a red piece of luggage. The guy looks like a rube or some sort of hayseed trying to affect sophistication. We wanted to illustrate the no-nonsense investing philosophy of Ed Jones and its FAs. The image failed. We regret that we chose it; our intent was not to poke fun at Ed Jones FAs. I received a few complaints via email, as did the author of the story. In fact, CEO Jim Weddle (who received nearly 20 complaints from angry FAs) called me and complained — in a polite way — and I agree with him: The photo was a bad choice to illustrate the story. Our apologies to Ed Jones employees.

Jul 9, 2010 3:26 pm

I don't know...looks pretty right on to me.  I've seen that guy at some regional meetings in 2004. 

Jul 9, 2010 4:35 pm

They should do a Saturday night live skit, with a bunch of Kool aid drinking clowns.

Jul 9, 2010 4:44 pm

They apologized because they used a picture of a nerdy guy? Weddle called and was upset? Man up, registered rep.

Jul 9, 2010 4:47 pm

They forgot the cross on the lapel and the copy of glen bickers latest hanging out of the pocket.

Jul 9, 2010 5:21 pm

Here is an article on the apology in the New York Times (right before it occured).

Note: just substitue Reg Rep for McChrystal, Jim Weddle for Obama.

“I think it’s clear that the article in which the picture appeared showed poor judgment,” Mr. Obama said after a cabinet meeting. “But I also want to make sure I talk to him directly before I make final judgment.”

Jul 9, 2010 9:17 pm

What a joke, Weddle barks and reg rep jumps. No wonder they win Reg Rep's best in business every year

Jul 10, 2010 4:41 pm

You Jonsies should watch the latest season of "Raising Sextuplets" the guy gets hired at Jones and fired for not telling them he was on the show haha. The show the other night had them debating about moving to FL for an open office. Talk about some bad PR that can come out of this. Jones should think about the +/- of that decision!

Jul 11, 2010 8:48 am

It is telling though that so many of the brokerages out there are gone or merged and EDJ is still ticking.  I do agree with the cross pin and Glenn Beck reference, one of my reasons for leaving.  I actually had someone on a leadership team tell me once that I was not "Christian Enough"!  Nice...

Jul 12, 2010 9:39 am

The photo was astute and good journalism.

The red brief case can be seen as a reference to EJ's former Green, Yellow, and Red categorization for FAs. The system is based on commission performance, with "Red" being below standard.

Reg Rep played the role of the Court Jester. Looks like an advertiser got upset.

Jul 14, 2010 3:37 pm

Huh interesting. Thanks for posting.

Jul 15, 2010 11:27 am

Also, the ill fitting, cheap looking suit was probably a reference to brokers not meeting the firms standards, not a reference to Jones brokers in general.

But apologies are all the rage these days... especially after making a true statement:

White House Spokesman Gibb Apologizes After House Prediction

Jul 15, 2010 12:46 pm

I'm not sure RR put that much thought into it other than to play to the stereotype of the small town, small time EDJ brokers.  I might go for the idea that the red suitcase was a nod to the green, yellow, red standards that we use. 

I don't remember a pic attached to a RR article other than that one that was clearly meant to, despite what the editor said in his apology, poke a little fun at a group of FAs.  They've written a ton of articles about indy reps, many of whom are former EDJ guys with offices in the same small towns that the "hayseed" EDJ FA inhabits, and they've never put up that kind of cartoonish looking pic. 

While I didn't go to the extent of calling Weddle to complain, I think it was appropriate that he politely remind RR that we do spend a good chunk of change with their magazine and that making fun of us is not in their best interest. 

Jul 15, 2010 1:40 pm

Spiff, although I agree with you, the question of leaving us alone because we pay for ad space is up for debate.  I guess it comes down to philosophical questions....freedom of press vs. "pay to play".  At many periodicals, they try their best to keep the ad guys separate from the press guys in order to avoid the temptation to play favorites with advertisers.  I also think that much of the image they portrayed comes from the opinions on the Forums.  It seems that many stories seem to quote forum comments.  I think this is pretty poor (and lazy) journalism.  Despite the fact that I work for Jones, I honestly believe that the opinions of Jones on the Forums are slanted against them by many former Jones FA's, and people that know nothing about Jones, other than what they read on the Forums. 

The fact is, the top 50% of the firm (about 5000 FA's) average about $90mm in AUM.  It's the bottom 50% that is the drag on the firm (an average of about $20mm AUM).  The average 15 year veteran has $100mm AUM.  I think the "newbie" recruiting mentality places a drag on the firms financials and image.  I would estimate around 3000 FA's have less than 3-5 years experience.  There is a wild curve of AUM at  our firm, unlike many other firms.  Although I guess it's probably all relative.  For every guy at Merrill with $25mm, there is a guy with $250mm. 

Jul 15, 2010 3:55 pm

I'm not saying that RR needs to leave us alone.  What I was saying that the story was fine, but the pic wasn't.  I agree with Weddle and the rest of the people who complained about it.  The story would have been just as good, or bad, had the pic been of a guy doorknocking in a proper suit and tie or even just a pic of our home office.  I think they were trying to be cute and cater to the indy crowd around here just a bit too much. 

As to the easy journalism, I agree that using these forums as fodder for your material can be dicey if you want to be taken as a serious reporter.  I don't know if that's Christina's goal or not, but if I were her my journalistic goals would certainly reach beyond RR. 

Jul 15, 2010 3:57 pm

You can work for RR and be a good reporter.  Using info you derive from Blogs and Forums and not coming to your own independant conclusions is lazy and unprofessional.

Jul 16, 2010 11:26 am

Registered Rep by its very nature gives advisors independent information. That is, information independent of the advisors own broker dealer about the industry.  I would have benefitted had I paid closer attention to Reg Rep in my early years.

I believe the more Reg Rep protects and retains their status as an independent voice, the more valuable they'll be to advisors. If they become a mouthpiece for certain firms because those firms are advertisers - and write advertorials about them without labeling them as such - they'll become less relevant.

They have to stay in business too. It's a fine line to walk.

Jul 19, 2010 10:07 am

The real question about the picture is what does the upraised hand indicate?

Jul 20, 2010 2:57 pm

 

Edward Jones, RBC top J.D. Power investor survey

I wonder if J.D. Power would have had to apologize if they had forgotten to put Edward Jones on top?