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Edward Jones attacked over door-to-door sales

Firm defends approach as doorstepped advisers call for end to ‘prehistoric practices’

Several advisers have complained after they were doorstepped by Edward Jones salespeople trying to sell them investment products.

Headley Financial Services IFA Richard Wells says: “I find it amazing to think these prehistoric practices of a bygone era are still being used and I hope the ‘sales manager’ or whatever term is used these days for those who encouraged these poor helpless individuals to go cold-calling is kicked out of this profession before they do any more irreparable harm.”

Concerns have also been raised about whether this practice is in keeping with the spirit of the conduct of business rules.

But Edward Jones says its advisers have always taken this approach to introducing themselves to clients and the practice is permitted under FSA rules.

Cob rules prohibit coldcalling for mortgage sales, it is allowed for general ins-urance sales but there is a grey area regarding investment products.

FSA spokeswoman Sam Bennett says: “It seems to sit in the middle. You cannot offer unsolicited advice to a member of the public unless a relationship is pre-existing, except in the case of generally marketed packaged products that are not geared.”

The FSA says this includes life policies, funds or stakeholder pensions.

Edward Jones says its strategy focuses on identifying areas with affluent residents, opening branches there and then making contact.

It says this is cleaner than complete cold-calling as it targets people more likely to need advice.

Principal (products and marketing) Rob Boyd says: “We do contact people, int-roduce our services and talk about people’s financial needs. But there is no way that we would get involved with any products involving gearing.”

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