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Edward Jones Breakaway Says the Firm Serves “Kool-Aid”

March 25, 2014

A former advisor at Edward Jones, whom the firm unsuccessfully sued for $5 million after he left it in 2012, tells ThinkAdvisor his former employer has a “Kool-Aid culture.”

That’s why John Lindsey, the advisor in question, takes time from running his new firm, Westlake Village, Calif.-based Lindsey and Lindsey Wealth Management, to counsel other advisors on the verge of following his example by leaving a “captive” or “full service” for independence.

Talking to ThinkAdvisor, Lindsey portrays Edward Jones as punitive to advisors seeking independence. The firm is not a signatory to the Broker Protocol, and has allegedly sued other advisors who try to retain clients when they bolt. Lindsey, as quoted by the news website, says Edward Jones seeks to cause financial hardship and keep advisors from speaking out against the firm by forcing them to sign a confidentiality release.

Although Edward Jones maintains a favorable public image, Lindsey tells ThinkAdvisor that, in addition to having a “Kool-Aid culture,” it marginalizes employees who don’t assimilate.

In its lawsuit against Lindsey, Edward Jones claimed that Lindsey stole 500 pages of client-mailing labels before leaving and used them to contact clients on his new firm’s letterhead, according to ThinkAdvisor. That was adjudicated as incorrect in arbitration.

John Boul, manager of global media relations at Edward Jones, writes in an e-mail to FA-IQ that the arbitration was not about Lindsey’s departure but “concerned the protection of client information, something we take very seriously.” He says a companion case in 2012 “enjoined Lindsey from soliciting Edward Jones clients for one year following the end of his employment.”

However, because Lindsey left nearly two years ago, that order, it seems, is no longer in effect.

By Chris Latham
  • To read the ThinkAdvisor article cited in this story, click here.