For those who are interested...here is some history on Jones:
Edward Jones was founded by Edward Jones, Sr., in 1922. In 1948, when the firm was a small St. Louis brokerage, the founder’s son, Edward D. “Ted” Jones, Jr., joined the firm. He began his career as a broker in St. Louis but built a business journeying around the surrounding rural communities as a traveling salesman. In 1957 he supported the establishment of the firm’s first branch office, in Mexico, Missouri, and in 1960 an office in Pueblo, Colorado, even though it required a 1,500-mile telegraph wire to link to St. Louis. Although none of the national or regional firms, or even his father, believed that a town with a population below 25,000 could support a brokerage, Ted Jones proved them wrong. His success gave rise to the original Edward Jones strategy of placing onebroker offices in rural locations where the competition was primarily the local bank. It also moved the firm quickly from being the 9th- or 10th-largest brokerage in St. Louis to being the 2nd largest.
By 1970, Ted Jones had built a firm of 100 brokers, mostly in the region surrounding St. Louis. He had also laid the foundation for the principles by which the firm would be run. As a partnership, the firm was built on the power of individual entrepreneurs in offices with one financial advisor (FA) and one branch office assistant (BOA). He maintained that owners should be employees of the firm and even denied his sisters a share in the firm, as they did not work there. When asked after his retirement why he never sold out and became as rich as Sam Walton, Jones replied that he was the richest man in America: “I have a wife who loves me in spite of all my faults. I have four dogs. Two love only me. One loves everybody. One loves no one but is still very loyal. . . . I enjoy my business. I love my farm and my home. I have a few close friends, and money has never been my God.”
About this time, John Bachmann, a partner and FA hired in 1963, suggested to Ted Jones that the firm pursue an ambitious expansion strategy. The letter he wrote to Ted describing the key features of that strategy and suggesting a goal of 1,000 offices became part of the lore of the firm.
In the next 30 years, with Bachmann as managing partner after 1980, Edward Jones grew rapidly. Leveraging the insights of Peter Drucker, a consultant to the firm, Edward Jones focused on serving the individual investor in a personal relationship. It entered metropolitan areas after 1981 over the objections of Ted Jones, who believed that the firm should locate “where there is no competition.” Drucker countered that competition only demonstrated how different the firm was from most brokers and that metropolitan offices were actually more profitable. The firm faced occasional challenges, such as in the 1980s when real estate partnerships that the firm distributed turned out to be bad investments. This episode triggered the development of a product review department charged with the responsibility of approving new products and given authority to decline the firm’s participation in such investments if it deemed them too risky.
However, for the most part, the firm adhered to a straightforward business practice that allowed for geographic expansion through the replication of the standard Edward Jones office. In 1994, the firm opened its first office in Canada, modeled after a typical Edward Jones office in the U.S., and in 1997 it similarly entered the U.K. market.
During the boom of the 1990s, Edward Jones’s strategy paid dividends. The firm increased its market share of brokers threefold and outperformed the industry average profitability by 10%. In 2000 and 2001, Edward Jones was named the best place to work in America by Fortune magazine.
When Bachmann passed the position of Managing Partner to Doug Hill in 2004, his successor’s task appeared to be one of “steady as she goes.” Regulators, however, soon accused Edward Jones and other brokerages of accepting payments based on the volume of business placed with mutual fund companies (a practice known as revenue sharing). Regulators worried that this would influence brokers to recommend certain funds and they alleged that this potential conflict was not adequately disclosed to investors. The company, without admitting or denying any of the allegations, eventually agreed to settle regulatory actions and class action suits for $202 million. Doug Hill voluntarily retired as Managing Partner, and Jim Weddle took the reins in January 2006.