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Updated on Monday, August 16, 2021
Edward Jones is a massive private asset management firm with headquarters in St. Louis. It has more local offices nationwide than any other U.S. investment firm, with over 15,000 locations in North America. Edward Jones’ primary focus is managing portfolios for individuals and families. It does not offer a la carte financial planning services, such as the creation of budgets or written financial plans.
The bottom line: Edward Jones is a huge asset management firm with thousands of locations across North America that primarily provides portfolio management services.
- No strong focus on financial planning
- Insurance and annuities are sold
- Flexibility on client involvement in their portfolios
|Assets under management: $519,780,123,422|
|Minimum investment: Varies by account type, starting at $5,000|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 148:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, other fees|
|Headquarters: 12555 Manchester Road|
St. Louis, MO 63131
All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 12, 2021. For more information, please consult Edward Jones’ website.
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Overview of Edward Jones
Investment banker Edward Jones Sr. created the eponymous firm in 1922 in St. Louis. Edward Jones’ roots are in the brokerage industry, as it first registered with the SEC as a broker-dealer in 1941, and then as a registered investment advisor in 1993. Edward Jones’ parent company, The Jones Financial Company L.L.L.P, has more than 24,000 Edward Jones associates holding limited partnerships.
Today, Edward Jones has over 15,000 locations throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada. The firm’s philosophy is to serve clients through local offices, where advisors live and work in the area and can meet with clients face-to-face. The team includes over 19,000 employees who perform investment advisory or research functions. Most of the firm’s advisors are also licensed as registered representatives of broker-dealers and/or insurance agents.
Edward Jones’ pros
- Highly accessible: For investors looking to establish a personal relationship with a local advisor who you can easily meet face-to-face, Edward Jones has more local offices throughout the country than any other financial services firm. To find the office nearest to you, use the Find an Advisor tool on Edward Jones’ website.
- Low account minimums: While some financial advisory firms require a six-figure investment in order to establish a relationship, you can work with Edward Jones with $5,000 or less for some account types. Other account types may have steeper minimum requirements.
- Flexibility on client involvement: You choose whether you want to have the final say on all account decisions and trading activities, or if you’d like to hand the day-to-day management over to your advisor. Edward Jones offers accounts suited to both preferences.
- National recognition: Edward Jones has appeared on a myriad of best-of lists by established publications. For example, the firm ranked No. 4 in the securities and asset management category on Fortune’s list of World’s Most Admired Companies in 2021. In 2020 and the four previous years, the firm ranked No. 1 for customer experience among full-service investment services firms, according to a ranking by Forrester Research.
- Standardized pricing: The firm publishes a list of what you’ll pay for its various services across all of its advisors, making it easy to estimate how much you’ll pay for the firm’s services before you even meet with an advisor. You can still try to negotiate, however.
Edward Jones’ cons
- Potential conflicts of interest regarding products: Most Edward Jones’ advisors are dually registered as representatives of broker-dealers and also licensed insurance agents, meaning they can earn commissions when you buy certain products. Thus, they have a financial incentive to recommend certain investment or insurance products, creating a potential conflict of interest.
- Unable to choose your own broker: For many accounts, Edward Jones requires you to use them as the broker when you’re placing trades.
- Potential conflict of interest related to 12b-1 fees: Some mutual funds pay Edward Jones 12b-1 fees for distribution and marketing expenses. This creates a potential conflict of interest. However, Edward Jones works to mitigate this by promising to credit clients the amount of 12b-1 fees charged for any shares in their account.
- No intensive financial planning services:Financial planning is not a focus for Edward Jones, so clients looking for that service may be better served elsewhere.
- A disciplinary track record: Edward Jones does have disclosures on its record. See more below.
What types of clients does Edward Jones serve?
Today, the vast majority of Edward Jones’ clients are individuals, though it also serves a number of high net worth individuals, who the SEC defines as investors with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.
Clients can access the advisory services with as little as $5,000 to invest, although some discretionary accounts where the advisor handles the day-to-day decisions and trades can require an investment of as much as $500,000 or even $1 million to open an account, depending on the type of account chosen.
Services offered by Edward Jones
Portfolio management is the main offering of Edward Jones’ investment advisory division. Depending on how involved a client wants to be, they can choose from a range of account options.
Clients who are looking for guidance on how to invest their money but prefer to call the shots themselves will want to look at the Guided Solutions funds, which steer you to certain investments based on your objectives but leave you in charge of how you allocate your money across those funds, and responsible for all buying and selling decisions. On the other end of the spectrum, clients who prefer to take more of a hands-off approach and leave much of the day-to-day management up to their advisor can consider the Advisory Solutions accounts.
The firm also offers employers assistance in managing their employer-sponsored retirement plans. Advisors do not offer standalone financial planning services, such as creating a written retirement plan.
Most Edward Jones advisors are also registered as broker-dealers, so they can place individual trades for brokerage clients and earn commissions separate from these programs. Many Edward Jones advisors are also licensed insurance agents and can sell annuities as well as life and disability insurance.
Outside of their advisory services, Edward Jones assists families with trusts and estates. Their specialized Client Consultation group provides insight to clients and their financial advisors on complex topics such as retirement income, business sale and succession, and portfolio tax management.
Here is a full list of services offered by the firm:
- Investment advisory services and portfolio management
- Education accounts
- Retirement accounts and generating retirement income
- Insurance and risk management
- Employee benefit plan fiduciary services and pension consulting
- Brokerage services
- Trusts and estates
- Business sales and succession
- Selection of other advisors
How Edward Jones invests your money
Clients initially fill out a profile with information about their goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Based on their answers, the firm will recommend a specific Account Portfolio Objective, such as all-equity focus with the highest growth potential, or an income focus with little growth potential. Clients also can choose an alternative objective if that’s available.
Next, clients or the advisor, depending on the account, will choose from the firm’s list of handpicked eligible investments for that objective. Objectives for Guided portfolios may include:
- All-equity focus
- Growth focus
- Balanced toward growth
- Growth and income
- Balanced toward income
- Income focus
Edward Jones handpicks eligible investments, both affiliated and unaffiliated, that are available in the accounts Portfolios are allocated across a variety of asset classes, and investments used may include stocks, bonds, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Fees Edward Jones charges for its services
For its Guided and Advisory accounts, Edward Jones charges an asset-based fee based on how much you have invested with the firm and the services provided. The flat fee is based on a tiered schedule, ranging from 1.35% for your first $250,000 invested down to 1% or less for $1.5 million or more invested.
|Edward Jones Program Fee Schedule|
|Value of assets||Annual rate|
|Next $1.5 million||1%|
|Next $2.5 million||0.80%|
|Next $5 million||0.60%|
|Over $10 million||0.50%|
For clients who choose the hands-off Advisory Solutions accounts, giving Edward Jones discretionary authority to make transaction decisions, you’ll owe an additional fee, with the rate depending on the size and type of account, as outlined in the table below.
|Edward Jones Portfolio Strategy Fee Schedule|
|Value of assets||Annual rate|
|Next $1.5 million||0.17%|
|Next $2.5 million||0.12%|
|Next $5 million||0.09%|
|Over $10 million||0.09%|
These accounts are wrap accounts, meaning you pay one bundled fee that typically includes the advisory fee as well as transaction costs. One exception is if another broker-dealer is used for the trade, clients may owe transaction costs.
Regardless of which account type they have, clients still owe third-party fund fees, such as mutual fund fees and ETF fees. Fees are deducted from client accounts each month. Keep in mind you can always buy and sell investments individually through an Edward Jones brokerage account, and pay commissions and transaction costs instead of a flat fee.
Edward Jones disciplinary disclosures
Edward Jones has faced dozens of disciplinary charges over the last 10 years, many of which they settled with regulators by paying fines, without admitting to or denying the charges. Many of the charges are for failing to adequately supervise individual brokers and advisors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisors to disclose on their Form ADV whenever the firm, an employee or an affiliate faces any disciplinary actions, such as criminal charges or civil lawsuits, that are material to a client’s evaluation of the advisory business or the integrity of the management team. Allegations against Edward Jones come from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the SEC or state regulators and include, among others:
- Issues around the sale of traditional and non-traditional ETFs, relating to oversight and compliance procedures. The firm was fined $200,000 and paid $51,581.25 in restitution to clients.
- Issues with municipal bond pricing. The firm paid approximately $5.2 million to current and former customers and a civil money penalty of $15 million.
- Violations with respect to mutual fund purchases and sales charge waivers for certain retirement plan and charitable organization accounts. The firm provided approximately $13.5 million in remediation to customers.
- Municipal securities transactions below minimum denominations. The firm paid a $210,000 fine.
- Supervision of the use and dissemination of reports from financial advisors. The firm paid a $725,000 fine.
- Violations around telephone solicitation calls in New Hampshire. The firm paid a total of $750,000 including costs, an administrative fine and funds for investor education.
For more information, you can go to the firm’s IAPD page.
Edward Jones onboarding process
- Find an advisor in your area: To find advisors in your area, use the search tool provided at edwardjones.com.
- Sign a client agreement: Before an advisor can begin providing services, you’ll need to sign a client agreement and fund your account with the minimum investment required. An advisor supervisor may call you to confirm that you understand the fees you’re paying.
- Have annual check-ins with your advisor: Once you’re up and running, your advisor should have annual check-ins with you to discuss if anything has changed with your goals and objectives, as well as your appetite for risk.
- Get your account rebalanced as needed: Some accounts include an annual rebalancing feature. For other accounts, you will have to notify Edward Jones to realign your account within the required time frame.
Where Edward Jones is located
Edward Jones lists locations in the following states on its Form ADV. However, it should be noted that the firm has over 15,000 locations across North America, and jurisdiction in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Visit Edward Jones’ website to search for an advisor in your area.
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Is Edward Jones right for you?
Edward Jones may appeal to a broad swath of inexperienced as well as sophisticated individual investors, as it has multiple offerings and allows clients to choose their level of involvement with their accounts. In particular, clients looking for a local financial advisor in their community who does not require a seven-figure investment may want to take a look at Edward Jones.
Since advisors can earn commissions by recommending certain products, be sure to find out why they are suggesting certain products and how much they may earn if you sign up. You should also understand that Edward Jones has multiple disciplinary disclosures, although this is more common for huge firms such as this one. And if you are looking for intensive financial planning services, Edward Jones isn’t for you, as it focuses on portfolio management. Be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.
The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.