{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I am in talks with vanguard, fidelity and Edward Jones about making a switch. They obviously are vastly different career paths. I’m wondering if any other advisors here who have worked at any of these firms in the past have advice for me. If you could do it all over again where would you want to start your career? Thanks for your help!", "post_id": "615600da14239600301cabd0", "reply_count": 24, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "599feb177c057d0010be0554", "bowl_name": "Financial Advisors" }

I am in talks with vanguard, fidelity and Edward Jones about making a switch. They obviously are vastly different career paths. I’m wondering if any other advisors here who have worked at any of these firms in the past have advice for me. If you could do it all over again where would you want to start your career? Thanks for your help!

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It’s kind of like investing, the more risk you take- the more reward you stand to reap. Fidelity/Vanguard are lower risk- lower reward. Ed Jones is higher risk, higher reward. Going straight up independent day 1 like others here have said is both the highest risk and highest reward. You have to think about your comfort level with risk, your time frame, and current market environments to make the right decision. :-) Background: I’ve been at Jones for 7 years- started right out of college. First 3 years were tough- really had to push the rope. Year 5 was the point where things came automatically. Now at year 7 I had 2 people message me on Facebook this morning asking if could help them- and that’s not out of the ordinary now. Used to I’d beg people to become a client- now they ask me. If you have the age and financial backing/strength to grind it out for 3 years- I’d say go to Jones, but I’m biased. Best of luck!


Thank you for sharing this! I just took over an existing office and I’m 2 years out. I KNOW I can make it one more year. (And sorry to OP for hijacking the thread.)


You are right in that they are vastly different! I started with EJ about a year in, I was struggling so interviewed at Fidelity. In that interview they kept saying that I needed to be " re-trained ". I asked what they meant and the interviewer said something I'll never forget " People don't meet with you because you are you. They meet with you because we're Fidelity". Needless to say, I ended up toughing it out at Jones and years later have more freedom / income than I could ever earn at a discount brokerage. Hope that helps


I worked at Jones for 9 years, and have been independent for 6 years, now. I would say it depends on what your end game looks like. If you want to be an employee for the rest of your life, go to Vanguard or Fidelity, and then make a jump to a wirehouse later. At those shops you will gain experience but will not have clients to move with you later. If you want to go independent later, go to Jones so you can built a book and then move most of it later. There is risk in that, with their non-protocol contract, but most people are successful that make that move. If you already have experience in the industry then I would not do any of those options, but instead would consider a move to independence either on your own or partnering with an independent office in your area. Happy to share more info or help however I can. 


Ex Joneser and long time wholesaler supporting the other firms and couldn’t agree more w all of the above. Good luck!

I don’t necessarily think either is a bad choice. It all depends on what kind of advisor you want to be. I wanted ownership and equity. I didn’t want some firm telling me what to do with my clients or exerting too much control over my investment choices.  Also I didn’t want to be told that I ran a business business (which is what they tell you at Edward Jones) even though I didn’t own the business. However, I will admit, going to independent route is not for everyone. You can be a top producer at another firm but that doesn’t mean that you’re cut out to be a business owner. I think some people have to be honest with themselves and determine what their strengths are.


Worked a few different places, at Jones for the last 10 years, absolutely the best, I wished I would have done it sooner


Jones is a great middle ground. They may not put it in writing, but you will most likely be given assets to start with in your first year. Someone is retiring our trying to right size their book. That will give you a good head start. I have been at Jones since 2009 and came over from Wachovia Securities. I looked very closely at going Independent and if I ever left it would be to go Independent but I wanted a firm that wasn’t publicly traded and had no proprietary products. As long as those tenants are intact and they stay out of my office, never telling me what to put people in, Jones has been as close as I can be to being Independent without having to create my secretary’s W-2.


I will admit I did struggle with Bridge Builder when it first came out but it was more a solution to the structure of the mutual fund industry and inflows from advisory killing the funds we had in advisory than a jump to proprietary products. Advisory Solutions itself is the product, not the funds. I am about 90% fee based with the majority in flex and some Fund, but very little Advisory Solutions at this point with no push from the firm to do more. My office was never closed during covid, I did offer virtual first and guaged where that client was on the spectrum of comfort level. I will say the culture and direction of the firm have certainly changed under Penny and definetly not all for the better. The Wokeness is getting old but for the most part what I have always said is still true. Once your profitable no one will bother you unless you want it.


You never answered the question, “where are you now?” I worked for Shearson and Smith Barney, independent through Chubb Securities and Jefferson Pilot. Started my own RIA firm in 2001 and then merged with another RIA in 2008 for economies of scale. Best moves I ever made. More money and time with a business I can sell. If I had to do it all over again I would set up the RIA after getting experience and built a fee-based business from the start. Another good question that was asked, “What is your end game?” Some people are more comfortable getting the steady income and benefits. I only stayed at Shearson, which became Smith Barney, three years. I’ve never been a big corporate player. Way too independent. Come March I’ll be in this business 38 years.


With Jones, you will start with assets which will allow you to build your business. As long as you are profitable you can build the business your way. There are many product restrictions at Jones, so make sure you are aware of that so it does not disrupt your strategies. Jones is in the midst of trying to redefine itself so there will be changes


Where are you now?


+1 for Edward Jones. Been here for 4 years now and absolutely love it. I run a successful branch and effectively don’t have a boss.

Came to Jones as a career changer in 2014 from completely different industry. Didn’t know what I know today about the business, but certainly don’t regret my decision either. Have a lean client base with just under 1M gross revenue. Moved over to a k-1 couple years ago and has helped in business expensing and tax-planning. Bought the office space after lease came due and with the new Joint Venture coming soon, don’t see any reason I would part ways. imho

If your still interested in making a switch, I’d be interested in having a conversation….

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