As the financial advice industry continues to reel under the pressures created by COVID-19, Edward Jones, which has built a unique brand by opening offices with only one broker, is asking its advisers to suspend in-person meetings with clients.
The company is being mindful of the health of its clients, advisers and employees, it said in a statement.
“We have asked our financial advisers to temporarily suspend making residential face-to-face contacts,” Edward Jones said in the statement. “We are also temporarily restricting public access to our branch offices, and encouraging clients and our financial advisers to communicate using virtual means, including telephone call, WebEx, secure text and online access. We are committed to serving and supporting our clients – without exception.”
Other large firms, including UBS and Wells Fargo Advisors, are also making changes to work policies, but they have less of an impact on advisers communicating with clients. At UBS, offices are open, but the firm is suggesting that if people can work from home, they should.
Wells Fargo Advisors has not restricted in-person client meetings, but the firm is asking its advisers and employeesto use good judgment and conduct as many remote meetings as possible to protect clients and each other, spokesperson Shea Leordeanu wrote in an email.
Edward Jones touts its focus on working with clients. “Our founders believed in the importance of doing business in person,” according to its website. “It’s why we don’t send clients to a call center — we believe face-to-face interaction is the key to developing lasting relationships.”
“These changes and policies affect firms like Jones more because they have maintained the emphasis on face-to-face meetings more than almost any other firm on the Street,” noted Brian Hamburger, CEO of MarketCounsel.