The Great Green Machine?

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Feb 21, 2012 6:17 pm

I am having a hard time trying to decide weather to stay at EJ or leave to join an Indy like Ray Jay... I run a good office, about 1/2 mil in production, feel independent already, but very hesitant about the unknown. Strong personalities here tell me I have no idea how good it is here (I'm not an LP, only been here a few yrs), and indy's tell me the grass is greener over there. For those of you who have thought about it and stayed, what were your reasons? For those of you who left, what were your reasons? I appreciate your feedback.

Feb 22, 2012 12:20 pm

I am still consdering leaving. Several guys I know have left my region, so I have seen some of the numbers. Pretty amazing actually. It seems that most that have left are taking their biggest/best clients, and leaving all the small accounts/PITA's. One guy I know in particular took only 50 or so of his 350 clients (by choice). But he is entirely fee-only, and he is netting MUCH more than he was at Jones (his book was definitely an 80/20 deal - his top 50 clients were a good portion of his book, and a VERY large portion of his income). And his expenses are super-low.

It seems from my research that people that have a decent amount of big clients that move with them do better than guys that try to bring tons of small accouns with them.

Feb 22, 2012 3:03 pm

Former Jones Rep

I left because I didn't just want to act like a business owner. I actually wanted to be one.  Paying a bunch of people I've never really met 65-60% of everything I did just didn't feel right. 

What's better about being Indy:

No more hearing about recruitment.

Focus on growing my business now

Make more $$$

I can offer any product under the sun

I own the book

You can figure out the rest.

What do I miss?

Health Care

Some of the people

The grass is greener without a doubt... you just have to do some yard work.

Feb 23, 2012 12:52 pm

I've heard over and over that deciding to go Indy was the best move that a RR could make and even more so I hear that they wish they had made the move earlier.  I believe the key is finding an Indy BD that isn't too big but also isn't too small (600-1000 range).  You also have to look at management styles, excess net-capital and how it's kept (cash), how long the firm has been in business, the fee's associated with the firm (E&O should really be the only true unavoidable cost besides the mandatory FINRA fees and licensing fees), what products are offered, and finally will the firm stay out of your way and let you run your business the way you want? 

Feb 23, 2012 2:27 pm

These days no clean firm is able to "get out of your way and let you run your own business."  Regulatory pressures you understand.  We have taken on a few EDJ brokers over the years, had we stayed out of their way and let them do their own thing, we may not be in business today.  This is not limited to EDJ brokers by any means, for anyone coming from a (wirehouse type) controlled enviornment, transition to independence is a BIG adjustment.  That said, you will make a lot more money in the independent chanel.

Feb 23, 2012 11:52 pm

Arnie, at your level there shouldn't be anything hard about deciding to go indy. At $500k'ish  two years in, you are not a Noob. You are a man among children.  Jones' focus for the past 1-2 decades I know of has been growth, growth, growth, that has been satisfied by hiring kids, kids, kids.   I was there well over a decade and I've been outta there for a couple years but a loyal Jonser buddy (still stroking someone to get that elusive RL spot to be GP track) mentioned to me a couple weeks ago, "You know Juck, the RL spots are not about helping new FAs any more, but purely about growing the firm."

Reasons for my leaving? 

#1 INFRASTRUCTURE PROVIDER...  From a purely analytical perspective, I experienced EDJ slipping and/or me growing over time to where Jones had merely become an infrastructure provider to me, and I just didn't recieve any functional "value added" for what I paid them.  That, my friends, is what an indy firm is for -an infrastructure provider. It is simple arithmetic.  When you're paring  full service prices for indy type infrastructure, you're wasting someones money-yours!

#2) MORONIC FSDs (for you non Jonsers, FSD= "Field Supervision Director" = the Series 24 licensed OSJ in StLouis who had flunked out of the industry elsewhere).  I am a totally plain vanilla, and I mean conservative operator.  I love what I do.  I love my clients.  I am always aware that I have a very valuable reputation in my community that is at risk when I make recommendations. Nonetheless, I was spending an hour or two per week on followup questions from kindergarten level FSDs.  I would shake my head (and bang it against the wall!) at the futility of dealing with some of these never to be Mensa candidates.  i.e. One FSD who was over me for years FINRA Brokercheck showed to be a WalMart cashier after hours!  Seriously?  Yep!

#3 BIG CORPORATE AMERICA POLITICS.  I was worn out from the rah-rah frat party circle jerk regional meetings, training, and "volunteerism". Don't need it. Leave me alone. OK you Jonesturbators, stop right there- We know they could not physically MAKE me go but you gotta know the politics of being a "frat boy-esque, grab your bretheren in a headlock and give'em a good old nuggie kind'o team player" vs "Y'know, Juck's really not much of a team player.". If you are like me, not a maveric but a lone wolf, the frat president RL will get the chance to hose you somehow, some day.  I just didn't want to be beholden to that. Yes, I am an independent thinker and I am a big boy.  Don't need it.

The "M word" was merely an exclamation point to the ubiquitous "G WORD".   When they came out with the "FIVE YEAR PLAN" and I scrutinized and analyzed every part of it... Reading the part stating "We MUST grow to 12,500 offices by the end of 2012" my analytical brain kept echoing with the same questions...

Q: Oh we "must" grow  by 5,500 more advisors in 5 years, huh?  Well WHY?  OK all you Missourians SHOW ME specifically W.H.Y. M.U.S.T. we grow?

Q: Even if you do add 5,500 more advisors, Q: How does that help my client? A:  It doesn't.  Q: How does that help me help my client?  A: It doesn't.

Nonetheless, my analytical brain went into overdrive and a made a focused but futile attempt to determine Weddle's true resoning and justification. If you scrutinize the FYP you will see three points of purely circular logic.  A) "We MUST grow so that we CAN grow.  B) We WILL grow so that we CAN grow.  C) Ditto."  All I could surmise is veiled coprorate greed of the GPs.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not conflicted about this.  Let me state clearly that I have no problem with the owners being greeedy and making more money but I was never goign to be an owner (GP) and I am, at least I FINALLY became, too analytical and smart to continue to pull their greed wagon.  Again, their greed is not necessarily bad- it just is what it is- and they (GPs) ARE the owners.  I am one of those FAs that never had the ability nor the desire to be a GP.  If you do, you go for it!   If you are a GP at EDJ then you don't need to look to indy- that's the brass ring, baby!

LP... You're not a LP?  So?  What a joke. They invite you to use your own money to buy a BOND that pays a varying rate of interest and as long as you live will be valued at par- again that's 100 cents on YOUR OWN dollar- with no growth.  An EDJ LP is not an owner yet they get these circle jerking dweebs to pull their shoulders back and puff up their chest as they profess "I am an OWNER of this firm!". Excuse my while I wipe my nose, as I just laughed so hard I blew my drink out of my nose!

After a mere 2 years indy, I am now the GP of my own practice that has twice the value of my EDJ LP!!! And the EQUITY value of my personal GP will grow amazingly in future years.  Oh, and I will never ever have to kiss some other GP's a$$ ever to make my GP grow to well over $1mm in the coming years.

As an indy, I have more and better product availability. I do great things for my clients and I enjoy the busines more. Oh yeah, I happen to be paid better because my indy firm and I simply have a lower cost business model.   I am no longer funding the layers of fat (GPs, recruiting, training, national advertising etc) in a behemoth organization. And here is a real valuable intangible.  I can do as I darn well please- i.e. I can play with Facebook or post flaming rants on RR forum at any time of the day without fearing any boogieman on the other side of the monitor down in StLouis. 

Let me close this post and circle back, lest you think I'm merely a flaming hater.  If you are 23 years old, fresh from college, don't know Jack and you want to learn the business, in my opinion there would be no firm better than EDJ. If you are sharp enough to build or run a half million dollar practice (Arnold Palmer), and you have at least a couple entrepeneurial bones in your spine, then you should go indy. Do it for your clients.  Do it for yourself. It is win/win.

Warning!  Like others before and after me, however, MY LEGS ARE SORE from kicking myself in the a$$ that I didn't do this five or ten years earlier. Don't have sore legs.  Be smarter than me. Run Ferris, run.  I mean Run Arnold run!

Feb 25, 2012 11:38 am

Juck your on the money. I have been off these forums for quite a while. Did Spiff leave the mother ship?

Feb 26, 2012 8:35 am

juck...well said.  i left the jones plantation a couple of years ago to go indy..couldnt be happier.   jonesturbation...that about sums it up...too funny

Feb 27, 2012 6:26 pm

Thanks Donedrinkin.  It would be impossible to imagine wanting to go back over that green Berlin wall.

Yeah Biggie, I steped away from these forums too.  Checked to see if Spiff had gone blind from Jonesturbating but looks like he disappeared just about a year ago right now.  Holy cats, that dude posted (a bunch of worthless junk) about 3 times a day so it seems pretty abrupt to hear..............Spiffysilence

Although I try to post only meaningful, potentially beneficial info on here rather than idle flaming rants, name calling, gang banging, fight picking, and bullying,  Spiff's perpetual green puke, however, was pretty nauseating to me. I'm not sure he really added much value on here but provided a tiring form of entertainment for some (maybe I need to chillax and accept entertainment for entertainment's sake).   That being said, I hope he found reality and bailed from the Green Machine.  If so, I wish him the utmost success and true happiness.

SPIFF!!!!!!!   HELLO!!!!   ARE YOU OUT THERE???   CAN YOU HEAR US???  Spiffy, wake up!  What's that? "Biggie size?"...  Would I like to biggiesize that order?  Oh, no thank you Spiff, regular is fine...

Mar 5, 2012 11:03 am

Bottom line for me was that no matter how hard I worked, I would never "own" my efforts. Period. I also saw through the Div Trip and LP gimmicks pretty early on. You win a trip that you have to ultimately pay for (it gets added on to income and taxed at 39%), and LP was just as Juck described it, plus you get the nifty pleasure of having it taken back from you once you retire anyway.

I got out as early as I could. The first six months has been MUCH more difficult than I expected because I had to lay down much more infrastructure than I expected (CRM, marketing materials, etc.) But now that the groundwork is over with, production is ramping up nicely. About 60% of my assets came with me, but that was only about 20% of the accounts, and I was pleasantly surprised who the real loyal clients were. They were NOT the ones who demanded so much of your time and attention.

Mar 8, 2012 7:38 am

Juck Phones..... Dam you are spot on!!!!! I have been here 10 years and can't stand another day of it.... but finding the right BD fit is begining to be a pain in the ass.... So many of them and then do you go smaller like Common or First allied.... or big like RJ or LPL....... I started this process back in 2007 but put it on hold when the crash came. Now I am doing my due diligence and can't beleive what I am learning. I think the Green Machine has people fleeing at a high rate. 

Mar 8, 2012 8:28 am

Greenslime, what part of the country are you in?

Mar 8, 2012 9:31 am

What is it about Ed Jones that pisses you guys off so much?  They've got to be better to work for than a wire.  The payout is fair it seems although I have no clue as to their product line up.

Mar 10, 2012 2:04 pm


What is it about Ed Jones that pisses you guys off so much?  They've got to be better to work for than a wire.  The payout is fair it seems although I have no clue as to their product line up.


It is better than working for a wire. You have much more autonomy. You have an ample product lineup with a 40% payout. The trimester bonus system can be great. If you are a million dollar producer the trimester bonus can be well over 6 figures. Also, the LP is a great deal. It averages around a 15% annual return. Last yr it paid 17%. No, you probably will not earn as much as an Independent doing the same level of production, but for someone who wants a high level of support with the firm paying most of your overhead, it's a very good setup in my opinion., and a good company to work for.

Mar 12, 2012 11:05 am

Wow!  Juck Phones, that was one of the funniest things I have EVER READ!  I'm not kidding.  Still laughing.  Jonesturbation is my new word of the day...Anyway, Element, the thing that makes people so mad about Jones is not that it is a bad place to work or the payout.  For me anyway, it was the pretenses.  The pretense that you are a business owner, the pretense that we need to grow to survive, the pretense that Field Supervision is there to protect you.  When it all comes down to it, EVERYTHING Jones does is for the GPs.  Now, as JP said, they are the owners, but when you work for them and they keep telling you that it's all for you, and you see through it, it becomes nauseating pretty quickly.  If they would come out and tell you, "You don't own this business, we do, and we are going to help you run it the best way possible to make us the most money."  I would be 100% fine with that.  But don't feed me a line of bull about how it's my business and I can run it my way...NOW I have MY business that I can run MY way.  Not then.

Mar 14, 2012 10:39 am

Element, I think it is the fact that they keep telling you to build your business when in fact if you ever did anything wrong or pissed of the regiaonal leader they would come and scrape your name off the door. Then stick some punk out of college in your office and then he will call all your clients and say that you were fired and are under investigation. Then you will need to hire an attorney just to get him to somewhat stop bashing you. Then after he starts hitting the productions numbers from all your hard work, they will put him up infront of the region and have him tell the rest of the region how he built his business. I have seen this happen.....

Also, this need to keep growing and the fact that they want you to help hire people and train the retards they hire.. I meen the people they hire good lord... Most of these people I wouldn't give a dime to.

All Jim Weddle wants is a five pack so his reps can sell it.

Mar 14, 2012 11:59 am


What is it about Ed Jones that pisses you guys off so much?  They've got to be better to work for than a wire.  The payout is fair it seems although I have no clue as to their product line up.


I know one girl who has changed BD's four times in 5 years.  Every time she complains about the firm.  It's never her fault.....  of course! 


Mar 14, 2012 12:16 pm

I'm not looking to change 5 times, only once!!!! Want to build my own practice. Jones was a good place to start. But for those of us who can think for ourself, it feels like after awhile you don't want to do anything and you get lazy.... You can't even charge to review someones financial matters and I swear they want to control the product. They don't need advisors, all they need is someone to carry out the orders...

Mar 14, 2012 1:51 pm

Choosing a B/D is like marriage. Everyone is entitled to a mistake. Sure she was beautiful and put out when you first got married... but as the years went on you came to understand you didn't want to spend the rest of your life with her. It was not awful but not great. She gained some weight, you stopped having sex as often, and she started nagging you.

After the second, third, etc. mistake however you've got to start to look in mirror and see where the real problem is.