Observation on Edward Jones

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MrPotatoHead
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Observation on Edward Jones

Post by MrPotatoHead » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:38 pm

I stayed this week at the Hilton Charlotte University Place for business purposes.

I noted there were several conventions and meeting going on. One in particular caught my attention. It was a diversity recruitment event for Edward Jones. I attended a couple of sessions and was amazed. What was conspicuously absent was any type of discussion or screening of the candidates in terms of background, credentials, or certifications in the financial industry. Everything I observed was centered on trying to attract a diverse pool of candidates without regard for qualifications.

This certainly gave me pause about Edward Jones. When I discuss financial matters with a representative I want a advisor who is passionate about personal finance, taxes, and investments and made those subjects part of lifelong pursuit. What I saw at this gathering was a bunch of middle aged third or fourth career types being actively recruited based on criteria other then financial acumen. I had several opportunities to discuss various matters with various would be candidates and not a single one had a financial background.

I am just reporting what I observed in the hope it might be beneficial to someone considering doing business with Edward Jones. Up until this week I had a rather positive to neutral view of Edward Jones; that view has been altered.

For what it is worth....
Last edited by MrPotatoHead on Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by Spirit Rider » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:05 pm

What you observed is actually spot on with who Edward Jones recruits.

They do not want financial professionals. They might recognize the snake oil that is being promoted. They recruit mid-career professionals to change careers. Then they can train them to drink the Kool-Aid. They want non-financial professionals to act as affinity sales moles.

Their favorite recruit is a professional who has invested with E.J. for several years with total buy-in. After all who is a better salesman than someone who is a true believer and a former professional in your community.

I knew a highly successful Principal Software Engineer who resigned at the peak of his career to be recruited by his E.J. advisor. I could never get him to even try to determine what his expenses were. He had no idea what his expenses were and didn't care. He was convinced by his advisor how great he was doing even though he had never bench marked his returns.

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hoppy08520
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by hoppy08520 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:10 pm

Edward Jones financial "advisors" are salespeople first, financial experts second.

This article is a bit old, but it tells you all you need to know:

Can Your Edward Jones Financial Advisor Really Serve Your Best Interests? -- The Motley Fool

Also, who is the #1 Congressional opponent of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule to regulate financial services firms like Edward Jones who exploit consumers into compromised financial products for their IRA and 401(k) accounts? That would be Rep. Ann Wagner, from Missouri's 2nd congressional district. Edward Jones is HQ'd in St. Louis, MO, 63131. Guess who represents that zip code in the House of Reps? Rep. Ann Wagner. What more do you need to know?

Edward Jones, Ann Wagner, and the War on the Fiduciary Rule | Money
During the last election cycle, Wagner raised more than $780,000 from finance, insurance and real estate firms, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That put her 28th out of 435 House members in donations from that sector—despite ranking no higher than 258th by seniority. In all, giving from financial firms represented roughly 34 cents out of every dollar she raised during the 2016 election cycle, according to the group.

Her largest overall source of contributions—Jones Financial Cos., parent of investment firm Edward Jones, and its employees—gave more than $50,000.
More about the Edward Jones business model:
But like many other brokerages, its advisors often sell variable annuities and mutual funds with built-in sales commissions.

And so the fiduciary rule—which would make it less attractive for brokers to sell commission-generating investments in an effort to stamp out what many see as conflicts tied to these payoffs—could mean a direct hit to Edward Jones' business.
What does this tell you about Edward Jones? How could any informed consumer trust Edward Jones with their money when its very business model depends on selling conflicted products to their clients?

BTW, you left out the "J" in your subject.

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nedsaid
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by nedsaid » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:26 pm

MrPotatoHead wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:38 pm
I stayed this week at the Hilton Charlotte University Place for business purposes.

I noted there were several conventions and meeting going on. One in particular caught my attention. It was a diversity recruitment event for Edward Jones. I attended a couple of sessions and was amazed. What was conspicuously absent was any type of discussion or screening of the candidates in terms of background, credentials, or certifications in the financial industry. Everything I observed was centered on trying to attract a diverse pool of candidates without regard for qualifications.

This certainly gave me pause about Edward Jones. When I discuss financial matters with a representative I want a advisor who is passionate about personal finance, taxes, and investments and made those subjects part of lifelong pursuit. What I saw at this gathering was a bunch of middle aged third or fourth career types being actively recruited based on criteria other then financial acumen. I had several opportunities to discuss various matters with various would be candidates and not a single one had a financial background.

I am just reporting what I observed in the hope it might be beneficial to someone considering doing business with Edward Jones. Up until this week I had a rather positive to neutral view of Edward Jones; that view has been altered.

For what it is worth....
This is what I call the Vacuum Cleaner salesman syndrome. One month a salesman is selling brushes, after that are Vacuum Cleaners, and then on to mutual funds. Pretty much if you are persuasive and good at selling, you can sell any number of products or services successfully. You would hope, as you said, that your financial advisor would have a lifelong passion for personal finance and investments and have the accompanying expertise. Sadly, many of these people are just salespersons who will just spout the company line rather than giving you an independent opinion.

In the financial services industry, it is sink or swim. They are willing to recruit people who have little or no sales experience in hopes that at least you will bring your friends and family to the firm as clients. It is a difficult industry to succeed in, in part because of the intense pressure to make quotas.
A fool and his money are good for business.

texasdiver
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by texasdiver » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:47 pm

That's also why they want mid-career professional types rather than fresh out of college 23 year olds. They want a sales staff that has thick lists of professional contacts to exploit.

afan
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by afan » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:15 pm

Not to defend EJ or any high priced broker, but was this only for recruiting stock salespeople? Or was it recruiting for a broader range of positions?
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BolderBoy
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:37 pm

MrPotatoHead wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:38 pm
What was conspicuously absent was any type of discussion or screening of the candidates in terms of background, credentials, or certifications in the financial industry. Everything I observed was centered on trying to attract a diverse pool of candidates without regard for qualifications.
They might exclude folks with the "Series" certifications.

The movie "Boiler Room", a 2000 film might be interesting to you in this regard.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

marcopolo
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by marcopolo » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:52 am

MrPotatoHead wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:38 pm
Up until this week I had a rather positive to neutral view of Edward Jones; that view has been altered.
Curious as to what might have led you to have positive view of EJ?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Portfolio7
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by Portfolio7 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:48 pm

This is consistent with my experience with EJ. I have never invested with them, but I am considering a career change, and talked to a reasonably successful EJ guy about a year ago. The guy I talked to was fairly knowledgeable about several segments of the business, but flat out denied that they had high fees and commissions. I didn't want to insult the guy, since we run in the same social circles - but that ended any interest I had in working for them... I mean it's one thing to simply note that they charge more and then make a case that they deliver more. This guy was denying their well-known high costs. I've also read first hand stories from several advisors that they did very little advising, it was mostly about just parroting/implementing the corporate line. EJ seems mostly concerned with bringing in new people to chase down & recruit new customers. You get some time to recruit, some time to pass required exams, but then the salary guarantees end and it's all about how many customers you have.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

dbr
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by dbr » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:55 pm

Portfolio7 wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:48 pm
This is consistent with my experience with EJ. I have never invested with them, but I am considering a career change, and talked to a reasonably successful EJ guy about a year ago. The guy I talked to was fairly knowledgeable about several segments of the business, but flat out denied that they had high fees and commissions. I didn't want to insult the guy, since we run in the same social circles - but that ended any interest I had in working for them... I mean it's one thing to simply note that they charge more and then make a case that they deliver more. This guy was denying their well-known high costs. I've also read first hand stories from several advisors that they did very little advising, it was mostly about just parroting/implementing the corporate line. EJ seems mostly concerned with bringing in new people to chase down & recruit new customers. You get some time to recruit, some time to pass required exams, but then the salary guarantees end and it's all about how many customers you have.
Where is that quote about not disputing what a person has to believe to earn his living or whatever.

Yes, it is surprising how many salesmen really believe in things that are just wrong compared to the the people that actually intend to perpetrate fraud or rip off the suckers.

MrPotatoHead
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by MrPotatoHead » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:41 pm

afan wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:15 pm
Not to defend EJ or any high priced broker, but was this only for recruiting stock salespeople? Or was it recruiting for a broader range of positions?
Everyone I spoke to was entertaining becoming a financial representative (customer facing). All the brochures were for customer facing advice type functions.

MrPotatoHead
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by MrPotatoHead » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:50 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:52 am
MrPotatoHead wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:38 pm
Up until this week I had a rather positive to neutral view of Edward Jones; that view has been altered.
Curious as to what might have led you to have positive view of EJ?
As I said it was positive to neutral. Decades ago I interviewed with them extensively and liked their model. At the time they did not seem to care how rapidly I built my book of business. At that time (around 1987) they were highly concerned with credentials. That is why I looked when I saw they were recruiting at my hotel. 30 years ago it seemed that were more selective. This rather shocked me and came across as unseemly.

Y.A.Tittle
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by Y.A.Tittle » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:25 am

The Jones business model resembles Domino's Pizza more than a reputable financial advisor. The important qualifications are contacts and location, not skill. Yes, the movies "Boileroom" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" are appropriate comparisons.

I'm pretty sure their name is a sham meant to make naifs think they are on par with Merril Lynch or the old E.F. Hutton.

Makes you wonder about the whole concept of "Diversity Recruitng" and whose interests it serves, or exploits.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:42 am

MrPotatoHead wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:38 pm
I stayed this week at the Hilton Charlotte University Place for business purposes.

I noted there were several conventions and meeting going on. One in particular caught my attention. It was a diversity recruitment event for Edward Jones. I attended a couple of sessions and was amazed. What was conspicuously absent was any type of discussion or screening of the candidates in terms of background, credentials, or certifications in the financial industry. Everything I observed was centered on trying to attract a diverse pool of candidates without regard for qualifications.

This certainly gave me pause about Edward Jones. When I discuss financial matters with a representative I want a advisor who is passionate about personal finance, taxes, and investments and made those subjects part of lifelong pursuit. What I saw at this gathering was a bunch of middle aged third or fourth career types being actively recruited based on criteria other then financial acumen. I had several opportunities to discuss various matters with various would be candidates and not a single one had a financial background.

I am just reporting what I observed in the hope it might be beneficial to someone considering doing business with Edward Jones. Up until this week I had a rather positive to neutral view of Edward Jones; that view has been altered.

For what it is worth....
Examine my bolded statements of OP's post. It explains their needs.

They weren't looking for knowledgeable hires, they were looking for diverse hires. Lots of organizations have diversity goals. And, diverse hires become salespersons who are more in tune with diverse segments of the overall population.

I think silicon valley is taking a lot of body blows in the media because of lack of diversity in the workplace(s). Perhaps Edward Jones has a lack of diversity in their employee base.

Edward Jones can teach people to do the job for them, but cannot teach them to be diverse.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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hoppy08520
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by hoppy08520 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:19 am

Regarding diversity, Edward Jones is just practicing smart business -- consumers tend to want to do business with people like themselves, and unlike many brokers, EJ has a face-to-face neighborhood business model where they have their little green signs in strip malls across America.

The EJ neighborhood brokers are really just salespeople and relationship builders. They aren't financial analyst MBAs; those people are in the EJ St. Louis HQ. The neighborhood broker doesn't need to read the WSJ, he or she spends more time handing out business cards and shaking hands at church social hour, Rotary meetings, neighborhood block parties, firehouse pancake breakfasts, etc., looking for their next sucker to roll over their $50,000 401(k) and let the EJ salesperson skim 5.75% off the top for their fund load fees.

The average EJ broker just pushes a template of funds that is market tested to appeal to their financially illiterate victims; they don't create custom portfolios. It's kind of like radio DJs who don't get to pick the songs they play, "corporate" creates the song list and the DJ just pushes the play button. The EJ salesperson doesn't need to understand investing, just how to convince people to walk in the door and sign up. They might also make some slight adjustments by picking a couple of funds to appeal to the investor's biases; for example, if the investor says "I heard dividends are good" then the smart EJ salesperson will say, "You're right Mrs. Jones, we're going to get your IRA into this dividend fund! It has good dividends." Whatever they want to hear. The only adjustment the EJ broker makes is in the stock/bond ratio that they adjust to the risk tolerance of each investor.

I know this first hand because my Mom was an EJ investor and her portfolio was nuts. 30+ funds, a few new funds every year to rip her off with paying fresh loads and transaction fees. State municipal bonds in her IRA (!?) Fortunately I convinced her to migrate to Vanguard.

Fire2030
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by Fire2030 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:21 am

I am not a proponent of EJ but they do seem to keep their employees happy unlike Big Blue. I see them consistently appear on Fortune list of 100 best employers, usually in the Top 10 too.

It might be at the expense of their customers though. :oops:

bloom2708
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:45 am

Looking from the employee side vs. investor side are two completely different things. They should not be mixed.

With the high fees, if you are successful (at selling) and can accumulate a large portfolio under your umbrella, you can reap vast benefits. 2 week trips to exotic ports. Advisory fees spilling into your checkbook. :wink:

My parents (they don't want to move) EJ advisor for years passed his portfolio down to his son. The son didn't earn any of the portfolio, but he is desperately attempting to hang on to it and accumulate more. They had loyalty to the dad, but none to the son. Yet they don't want to break up. I tried.

My parents' portfolio is the classic mess of too many funds, individual stocks, bond funds, individual bonds, overlap, high fees, A and C shares. It is painful to look at.
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MrPotatoHead
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by MrPotatoHead » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:32 pm

Fire2030 wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:21 am
I am not a proponent of EJ but they do seem to keep their employees happy unlike Big Blue. I see them consistently appear on Fortune list of 100 best employers, usually in the Top 10 too.

It might be at the expense of their customers though. :oops:
Big Blue, as in IBM?

bberris
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by bberris » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:58 am

Edward Jones is not alone in this. No financial background is required to be an "advisor" at the big full service brokers like Ameriprise, UBS ...They do all their training (mostly in sales), the computer generates portfolios. They do this because it works (generates big profits). EJ seems to be more willing than the other guys to train and recruit sales people with no experience and no customers.

The Full service industry likes people with college degrees (they can be educated to pass the regulatory tests).

About diversity: People have an affinity for people who look and talk like them. EJ, UBS and others recruit minorities because there are so many potential minority customers.

To be fair, these guys are fairly good at portfolio allocation (albeit with ridiculously complicated portfolios), education, and hand-holding. For some people, it may be worth it.

Fire2030
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by Fire2030 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:38 am

MrPotatoHead wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:32 pm
Fire2030 wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:21 am
I am not a proponent of EJ but they do seem to keep their employees happy unlike Big Blue. I see them consistently appear on Fortune list of 100 best employers, usually in the Top 10 too.

It might be at the expense of their customers though. :oops:
Big Blue, as in IBM?
Yes, now I am an Ex-IBMer after 17Yrs ...no regrets , had to move on before getting the axe :D

MrPotatoHead
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by MrPotatoHead » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:30 am

Fire2030 wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:38 am
MrPotatoHead wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:32 pm
Fire2030 wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:21 am
I am not a proponent of EJ but they do seem to keep their employees happy unlike Big Blue. I see them consistently appear on Fortune list of 100 best employers, usually in the Top 10 too.

It might be at the expense of their customers though. :oops:
Big Blue, as in IBM?
Yes, now I am an Ex-IBMer after 17Yrs ...no regrets , had to move on before getting the axe :D
I sub on a few of their contracts. They just cut a lot of good people. Seems like those over 50 and band 9 on up have a huge target on their back.

Hukedonfonix4me
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by Hukedonfonix4me » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:26 am

We recently observed Edward Jones at the "Best of the Emerald Coast" while vacationing in Destin over the weekend. There were over 100 vendor booths including many 5 star restaurants. They all had samples/offerings including crab, oysters, prime steak, and cocktails. Edward Jones offered some popcorn....

http://www.emeraldcoastmagazine.com/Bes ... ast-Event/
"While some mutual fund founders chose to make billions, he chose to make a difference." | -The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing

MrPotatoHead
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by MrPotatoHead » Wed May 09, 2018 9:19 pm

As the OP, I would suggest anyone who runs across this old thread also review this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=248678

Any integrity this firm once possessed is clearly a thing of the past. The recruitment I saw that prompted the original post now makes sense in context of the behavior of the firm. It is a sad thing.

amateurnovice
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by amateurnovice » Wed May 09, 2018 9:40 pm

I've dealt with an EJ advisor. He wasn't such a bad guy but he could sell. Put my mother and my father in some balanced mutual funds with front load fees. They've managed to make back those fees under the market the last year, but barely. She used him because he was a frat brother of some of her former student workers, so it is who you know to some degree. Anyway, she's mentioned getting out and using Vanguard, but I think she's content with helping someone else make a book, put food on their table.

CedarWaxWing
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Re: Observation on Edward ones

Post by CedarWaxWing » Wed May 09, 2018 9:50 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:47 pm
That's also why they want mid-career professional types rather than fresh out of college 23 year olds. They want a sales staff that has thick lists of professional contacts to exploit.
And may not want to change careers one more time.

JBTX
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by JBTX » Fri May 11, 2018 7:10 pm

I would never personally use Edward Jones and I am sure many of their retail brokers are snake oil salesmen. However, I did recently meet with an Edward Jones rep who brokered my wife’s employer 401k. I was quite surprised about how knowledgeable he was on various 401k and investing topics. I assume he is a cut above your standard broker. It certainly is true that if they continue to use them they will have a more expensive plan. But in this particular case the extra $3000-$5000 they will pay a year may be worth the additional hand holding.

Silk McCue
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by Silk McCue » Fri May 11, 2018 9:01 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 7:10 pm
I would never personally use Edward Jones and I am sure many of their retail brokers are snake oil salesmen. However, I did recently meet with an Edward Jones rep who brokered my wife’s employer 401k. I was quite surprised about how knowledgeable he was on various 401k and investing topics. I assume he is a cut above your standard broker. It certainly is true that if they continue to use them they will have a more expensive plan. But in this particular case the extra $3000-$5000 they will pay a year may be worth the additional hand holding.
A good fee only advisor would cost a fraction of that $3-5k for an annual checkup on an established plan. Staying with EJ after this experience would indicate Stockholm Syndrome.

Cheers

JBTX
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Re: Observation on Edward Jones

Post by JBTX » Sat May 12, 2018 9:29 am

Silk McCue wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 9:01 pm
JBTX wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 7:10 pm
I would never personally use Edward Jones and I am sure many of their retail brokers are snake oil salesmen. However, I did recently meet with an Edward Jones rep who brokered my wife’s employer 401k. I was quite surprised about how knowledgeable he was on various 401k and investing topics. I assume he is a cut above your standard broker. It certainly is true that if they continue to use them they will have a more expensive plan. But in this particular case the extra $3000-$5000 they will pay a year may be worth the additional hand holding.
A good fee only advisor would cost a fraction of that $3-5k for an annual checkup on an established plan. Staying with EJ after this experience would indicate Stockholm Syndrome.

Cheers
It isn’t so much advising on the investments, it is more of the evaluation of scenarios on how to best get to a safe harbor plan and also evaluating the impact of scenarios of a “pension” type contribution for the owner (I forget the terminology). I clearly told him he would be paying several thousand a year more to stick with him. It is his business and I’m not going to push the issue. The extra few thousand dollars is fairly immaterial to the 50k plus additional employer match to get to safe harbor. Plus the amount is tax deductible at the highest bracket.

I’m going to keep an eye on what they are doing to make sure they don’t pull anything stupid. However I don’t want to own it, and my wife doesn’t have time to devote to it.

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