Articles Tagged with Edward Jones

Another group of plaintiffs is suing Edward Jones, accusing the firm of charging excessive fees and self-dealing in its 401(K) Plan. In the complaint, the brokerage firm and a number of its employees, including managing partner James Weddle and financial adviser Brett Bayston, are accused of breach of fiduciary duty related to their decision to choose costlier mutual funds when there were less expensive, equivalent funds available. Edwards Jones and its employees are also accused of choosing an “unreasonable” amount of risky investment choices and engaging in self-dealing.

The purported self-dealing allegedly occurred through its distribution deals with a number of fund companies, including Franklin Templeton Investments, American Funds, BlackRock (BLK), and Goldman Sachs (GS). The plaintiffs claim that the fund companies paid Edward Jones revenue-sharing fees for access to its “captive market,” which included 401(K) participants, and “shelf space” in its brokerage business that targeted retail investors. As part of the distribution relationship, Edward Jones offered the fund companies’ investment options in its Edward D. Jones & Co. Profit Sharing and 401(K) Plan.

The plaintiffs believe that these distribution relationships affected the decisions made by the fiduciaries and ended up costing participants millions of dollars in excessive fees. An Edward Jones spokesperson says that the allegations are false and that the broker-dealer would mount a “vigorous defense.”

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An ex-participant in Morgan Stanley’s (MS) 401(k) plan is suing the financial firm. The plaintiff is alleging self-dealing and excessive retirement plan fees. Robert Patterson contends that the firm enriched itself at cost to employees. The case is Patterson v. Morgan Stanley et al. He is alleging breaching of fiduciary duty under ERISA. Patterson believes that plan participants sustained millions of dollars in losses in retirement funds from 1/11 through 4/14 because of the alleged breaches.

He is seeking class action status for case over the losses sustained and he wants the firm to pay $150M. The Morgan Stanley 401(k) Plan includes several Morgan Stanley mutual funds. According to the complaint these funds suffered “high relative fees” and/or “poor relative performance.” Although there were a number of non-proprietary investments included in the retirement plan, Patterson claims that they also performed poorly.

Meantime, Edwards Jones is also now a defendant in a 401(k) lawsuit. The plaintiff is a plan participant who claims that the firm caused employees to pay excessively high fees for record keeping and investment management services that purportedly resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in retirement savings. The proposed class-action lawsuit is McDonald v. Edward D. Jones & Co. L.P. et al.

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority says that another five firms must pay restitution to specific retirement and charitable accounts for overcharging them for mutual funds. Edward D. Jones will pay $13.5M, Stifel Nicolaus (SF) will pay $2.9M, AXA Advisors will pay $600K, Janney Montgomery Scott will pay $1.2M, and Stephens Inc. will pay $15K.

The announcement comes just a few months after the self-regulatory organization fined five other firms over $30M for similar violations. Those firms were LPL Financial LLC (LPL), Raymond James Financial Services (RJF), Raymond James & Associates, Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (WFC), and Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Due to their purported oversight, over 50,000 charitable organizations and retirement accounts ended up paying too much for their mutual fund shares.

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Jason Cox, a former Edward Jones financial adviser, is criminally charged with allegedly defrauding a disabled woman. Robert C. Yeamans, who is the woman’s now deceased father, had tasked Cox with managing her account. The woman, who is in her fifties, is developmentally disabled.

According to a federal complaint, Cox took at least $160,000 from the investment account set up for her. He allegedly structured transactions by taking out small amounts during a short time period so he wouldn’t have to fulfill bank reporting requirements for bigger sums.

When worried banking officials asked the woman about the money, she told them she put it in a business that Cox owned but did not know what kind of enterprise it was. The bank closed her account.

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