I brought a 120k lump-sum to an Edward Jones broker who insisted the funds I was purchasing were less expensive than buying no-load funds. At the time, I wasn't comfortable buying funds on my own, (although I'd purchased no-load funds for my IRA for 12 years), after I got burned in the 2000-2003 drop in the market.
The Edward Jones broker sold me funds that were supposedly "the best", and for about a year and a half I was satisfied that I'd done the right thing with my investments. Then, in January of 2005, I discovered that Edward Jones settled a case with the SEC because they'd recommended 7 mutual fund families over all other mutual funds, because the fund families PAID EJ to recommend the funds. When I asked my broker about this and the SEC investigation, she evaded my questions. Guess which funds the broker sold me (if you said "one of those 7 fund families, you'd be correct!) I also plugged in my fund ticker symbols into Morningstar's website, and found my ongoing fund expenses would lower my return greatly compared with no-load funds over 3, 5, and even 10 years! And, Edward Jones reps who bring in enough new investments in these 7 fund families are rewarded with luxury trips, and other perks; which, apparently, is another reason EJ got in trouble with the SEC.
Although my investments were purchased with "breakpoints" for 50k or more, my broker would not give me a dollar figure I'd paid for the investments. The broker told me I'd need to come in and she'd help me "figure out" what I'd paid. Hello? That's what I thought I was paying HER to do!
Needless to say, I'm getting out of Edward Jones, and moving to another firm. I'll most likely go with Vanguard and/or Fidelity; or possibly an online brokerage which is where I should have gone in the first place. My broker was more a sales rep than a financial advisor. As for the "service" Edward Jones get a lot of press for, it just ain't there. You'll get a lot of attention and hand-holding, as long as you continue purchase more load funds. It's just not worth it!
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