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Edward Jones ditches independent status as it refuses to offer ‘unrealistic’ fee option

Edward Jones has become one of the biggest whole of mar- ket adviser firms in the UK after relinquishing its independent status.

The firm, which plans to expand from 123 to 250 RIs within two years, says it has removed the word “independent” from all its marketing and literature as it does not offer a fee option.

Principal of products and marketing Robb Boyd says it would have gone against the firm’s principles to offer some kind of “false” fee option in an attempt to hold on to independent status.

Boyd says it was a very difficult experience to prepare the firm for its new status, in terms of the expense of updating marketing material, but it was required to ensure that the firm did not fall foul of depolarisation regulations.

Boyd says he is unaware of any other big adviser firms operating under the whole of market banner.

Both Aifa and the Personal Financial Society have warned advisers that they risk enf- orcement action by the FSA if they operate under independent status without offering a fee option to their clients.

Boyd says: “We worked evenings and weekends to make depolarisation happen by June. We chose not to offer a fee as it just does not seem to be in the best interests of the customer and the idea of off- ering an unrealistic fee goes against our business values.”

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