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EJ Employees Are Lovin’ It

Edward Jones is having an awfully good run, according to the firm’s fan base, er, its employees.

Edward Jones is having an awfully good run, according to the firm’s fan base, er, its employees. Edward Jones made Fortune magazine’s “100 Best companies To Work For,” list again this year. Edward Jones came in at number two, for its 10th year on the list. According to the firm, Jones has been among the top 10 companies for seven years, and had consecutive No. 1 rankings in 2002 and 2003.

The St. Louis-based Jones beat out fellow Wall Street firms, Goldman Sachs, which came in at number nine and Midwest-based regional b/d Robert W. Baird, which rolled in at number 14.

We here at Registered Rep. are not surprised. In December, Jones came in with the highest overall score in our 2008 Registered Rep. Broker Report Cards, sharply contrasting the near failing grades reps at other big firms gave their respective employers. While the recent upheaval on Wall Street has certainly humbled the traditional Wall Street-based firms, the general perception of the average Jones advisor has been that of an aw-shucks, small-town rep with little sophistication. Jones reps are also criticized for ardently loving their firm as if it were a cult. (As one Wall Streeter we know put it, “They knock on doors!”)

Considering the carnage at brokerages, everybody can shut up now. Jones employees are happy. What’s wrong with that? Read here to see why Edward Jones advisors are so darn happy.

While Edward Jones’ recent success brings to mind the Bronx Bombers of the 1996 season, in other baseball news, Citigroup can’t even seem to keep up with the Mets. According to the Journal, the verdict is still out on whether the bank will maintain its 20-year and nearly $400 million marketing deal with the Mets, which includes naming the new stadium (CitiField) after the ailing bank. A Citi spokesperson says the Journal got it wrong; Citi will remain the sponsor. “Citi signed a legally binding agreement with the New York Mets in 2006. No TARP capital will be used for Citi Field or for marketing purposes," the spokesperson says.

The agreement with the Mets came under attack from the Hill since the bank accepted $45 billion in bailout money from the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) in addition to passing off $301 billion of loans and other assets to the government. Still, next week, Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and other bank CEOs are set to appear before a House committee, where they will undoubtedly be roasted as to its use of TARP money.

But, in truth, the whole argument is a silly one. Since cash is “fungible,” and since Citi would be insolvent without the bailout, yes, TARP money is being used in the CitiField deal. Period. But what’s wrong with that? Companies still need to market themselves, even if they nearly blew themselves up. But then, at least Citi isn’t Wells Fargo, which the New York Post says is off on a TARP-funded boondoggle to Las Vegas.
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