Do I choose Edward Jones? (just got an offer)

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Jun 24, 2010 4:45 pm

I'm 21 and just graduated from college. I am down to offers from Edward Jones and W&R.  My confusion comes from I like some things about EJ but I am also very worried about some things.  I would appreciate any comments, hopefully without hostility (I am surely naive to much of this).

What I like about EJ:

getting your own branch/boa seems unique
first year compensation seems competitive, in addition to EJ paying for licensing and studying for licensing (ex: vs. W&R)
it seems "better" than the smaller firms like W&R - this is just a gut impression, not entirely backed by substantial evidence
I get the feeling they're going to help/guide me more vs. the feeling I get at W&R that they will just throw me into the fire and seem especially obsessed with the people/family members I already know

Worries with EJ:

the contract is so restrictive I'm not sure how much I can breathe - if I leave will I be able to bring clients? I often hear of other FAs across other companies doing it but it seems so difficult leaving EJ...
being an employee now seems ok but later, as a lawyer tells me, being an IC is better for taxes (asked headquarters lady with whom I deal with for my hiring if I could switch from employee to IC at a later date and they laughed at me)"
the FA I interviewed with (who seemed frank with things he liked and didn't like) said he didn't like how they don't have wrap accounts which seems like it puts a lot of pressure on making constant sales without any earnings trails in wrap accounts - if there is something I haven't understood correctly please let me know (I've seen a lot of talk about Advisory Solutions but I don't know what this is other than managed accounts by some managing division in EJ)

also - how long does door to door really go for? the FA I interviewed with said he did it for about 8 months - according to him, he's one of the best producing FAs in So. CA though

how different are places like Merrill Lynch? what are the advantages/differences between somewhere like ML and EJ?

thank you everyone!

Jun 24, 2010 4:54 pm

W&R, sucks, bad company, bad products, bad everything. Don't go there.

At EJ, you prospect at least until you accumulate 30 million. Door to door or by phone, by horse by spaceship, whatever. No vacation, lousy benefits. Prepare to bust your ass for 3 to 5 years. Learn to live on a couple grand per month. 10 years from now, if you survive, you will have a nice income and great lifestyle.

Jun 24, 2010 5:58 pm

No problem leaving and having clients follow if you build good relationships.  It is a tough business, especially at your age but EJ is a good place to learn from scratch.  If you're up for a challenge, go for it.

Jun 24, 2010 6:42 pm

Ice, how do the ins. co's prospect?

Jun 24, 2010 7:32 pm

soca check your inbox.

Jun 24, 2010 8:46 pm

Check it again Soca

Jun 24, 2010 9:00 pm

If you start at Edward Jones with the idea in mind that you are going to leave them ... then why start with them?

The contract is restrictive. If it's too restrictive, don't sign it. But this is an industry where self-imposed morality and honesty frankly are prerequisites. You'll be dealing with OPM and the temptations to cheat them will be omnipresent. If you sign a contract right at the outset, with the idea in mind that you plan on cheating the other party ... what does that say about you?

***

I doorknocked for 14 months. Doorknocking, you will find, is the penalty for not getting referrals. I'm sure Space and B24 will echo this: you can build your business any damn way you want at Jones. But if you fail, and you haven't even tried to doorknock, they will be merciless in showing you the door.

~an ExJoneser.

Jun 24, 2010 10:49 pm

I don't know where I made it sound like I was trying to cheat them in anyway so alrighty...I'm merely planning for the future. Odds are you don't start and stick with a company your whole life, especially in investments. I don't think it says anything bad about my character or who I am. Since
you attacked me for some reason... FYI the great job market makes it hard to shop around right out of school. I'm moral though and not trying to cheat anyone.

Jun 25, 2010 12:45 pm

SOCA, the only thing you owe any company is your time and an honest effort. You don't owe them your life. There is nothing wrong with taking a position as a stepping stone to another position. If you choose to leave jones after 3 years from your can sell, fine. It's up to jones to make it worth your while to stay. If you take assets with you, good for you. Jones is actively seeking producing transfers, so "as they sow, so shall they reap". Best of luck.

Jun 25, 2010 4:54 pm

imo...navet is correct. I have been in this business for 11 years. Trust me, the firms don't care about you. Do what is best for you, your family and your clients...

My concern is that you are 21 years old?

Unless you are a superstar (And you may be.), start another career, make tons of contacts then become a FA in your late 20's. This is what I did and all those contacts I made are now my clients. I can't really see a 65 year old person ready to retire hand their life savings over to a 21 year old. Now, if you are able to join a team that brings age and experience and you work your tail off and leverage them...you might have something there!

There are plenty of older advisors that really need someone, unfortunately, they are dinosaurs and don't realize it, but some do.  Your risk there is that "your" clients get locked into the team.  You want them to become your clients.  Then again, you may have a chance to buy a book if they are looking to transistion out...

Anyway you slice it, it is a very rewarding profession. 

Jun 25, 2010 5:26 pm

[quote=soca2010]the contract is so restrictive I'm not sure how much I can breathe - if I leave will I be able to bring clients? I often hear of other FAs across other companies doing it but it seems so difficult leaving EJ...

[/quote]

The contract strictly forbids you "bringing clients" insofar as the clients at Edward Jones are considered to be "theirs". You are not allowed to solicit that business when you leave. You have read that contract and understood it to be the case; and here you are asking if you can expressly violate the terms of the contract.

You don't owe them a thing, except your honest effort and signing a contract in good faith. I'm sure you are capable of the former or you would not have been offered a position. Obviously I don't believe you owe the next 21 years of your life to Edward Jones, since I myself left the firm. But when I signed the contract it was with the complete belief I'd never leave. That is the least you owe Edward Jones, is to start out with the belief that they are the sort of people with whom you want to work, and they do things in an honorable, decent way and you need to buy in to that or you should work elsewhere.

Starting at Jones with the idea that you don't need to doorknock and are already figuring on an exit strategy seems doomed, in a field where even the best intentioned and connected people fail at incredible rates. 85% of my class no longer maintain their series 7, many of whom knew a lot more about the business and had incredible contact lists they could draw on.

But I'll give you this much: at least you read the contract, and you found this site to ask opinions. Good luck.

Jun 28, 2010 12:39 am

No offense to anyone, but I wouldn't really listen to any of these statements (mine included!)

  It completely depends on you, and everyone is different...  I've met plenty of succesful FA's that were hired right out of college.  Some of the most successful in fact, even current GP's of the firm.  There really isn't a better place to learn the biz than Jones (as far as training they're top notch).  That being said, it's not for everyone, like it's been said here, the main difference is that the lead generation is completely up to you.  Some embrace that and love it, some despise it and leave.

BTW, I don't see truth to some of these extreme comments above either.  Go talk to someone with experience.  Visit as many branches on both sides as you can, and talk to people.  Be proactive

Jun 28, 2010 10:45 am

You're 21 and you are worried about signing a three year contract with a company?

Jun 28, 2010 1:21 pm

Jones claims to "own" your customers. You claim to "own" your customers. It is in your best interest to keep your own customers and to do whatever you can to keep the book you built. Don't let Jones talk you into not keeping what you built. Your customers have the right to go where they please. And you have the right to speak to whoever you please. Never let Jones legalese keep you away from a paycheck. There are hundreds of ex-jones FA's that left with their book. Just plan it well and speak to those who have left successfully.

Jul 1, 2010 5:56 am

Thanks for the really helpful comments (Jones2158). To clarify: I'm not planning on taking advantage and jumping ship with clients I shouldn't, but rather I'm asking before I get locked into anything.
Yes, I am worried about it. Jumpman: If you've happened to ever read an EJ contract it says, in short, if I leave the firm for any reason (fired or quit), I virtually can't work as an FA for 3 years unless I pay <$75k. Naturally, that's worrisome. I'm going with Jones and I'm excited for the opportunity.