Like the New York Yankees playing in (if not winning) the World Series, you can count on Edward Jones reps raving about their firm.
Jones brokers love their autonomy, and the company's ethics and old-fashioned philosophy.
“It's a given that we will do what's right for the client. That is first and foremost in the company's eyes,” says one rep at the firm.
“I've seen some of the terrible things people do to make a buck,” another broker says. “I don't see that with Jones.”
But all is not perfect in St. Louis, where the firm is based. Jones continues to expand in the face of a bear market, a strategy that raises eyebrows. “We're just hiring a lot of people right now, not necessarily quality people,” a respondent says. Adds another, “The concept of an aggressive hiring policy in a bear market doesn't make a lot of sense to me.” Many reps feel the firm has saturated some smaller communities with offices. “It's like a McDonald's on every corner,” complains one producer.
The firm's go-slow approach with technology also elicits some grumbles. For one thing, the satellite-based system is outdated. “When [the weather is] overcast, it's inoperable,” a rep says. And upgrading equipment throughout the 7,800 branches is a challenge.
Then there's the issue of fee business. “The firm is probably behind the curve here,” says a Jones broker. “Until they're sure it is best for the customer, they're just not going [toward fee-based business]. But there has to be a way to bridge the gap between the two ways of doing business.”
While other firms' analysts are vilified, Jones reps say research has improved. “Our research department is excellent,” says one producer. “That wasn't true when I joined the firm in 1993.”
A happy Jones rep sums up the firm this way, “It's a place you want to live, not a place you want to visit.”
|Firm Score||Average: All Firms|
|Freedom from pressure to sell certain products||9.84||9.23|
|Realistic sales quotas||9.26||8.65|
|The firm's hiring and recruiting practices||8.82||7.66|
|Quality of sales assistants||NA||7.87|
|Quantity of sales assistants||9.36||7.20|
|Quality of sales ideas||9.20||7.82|
|The quote and information system||8.76||8.70|
|Quality of the firm's operations||9.06||7.96|
|Quality of the firm's research||8.92||7.54|
|The firm's fixed-income pricing||9.12||7.77|
|Quality of the products offered||9.50||8.64|
|Your branch manager||NA||8.31|
|The firm's strategic focus||9.28||8.25|
|Overall ethics of the firm||9.94||9.31|
|The firm's image with the public||9.24||8.54|