SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA. Financial Advising company Edward Jones is facing a lawsuit alleging it retaliated against an administrative employee for reporting discretionary trading and mishandling sensitive client information.
The lawsuit alleges: “Edward Jones is a national firm of Financial Advisors which purports to provide advice for building and preserving wealth, savings for retirement and estate planning. Being in the financial industry, Edward Jones is heavily regulated by federal and state law which require it and its Financial Advisors to, inter alia, carefully protect sensitive client information and investments. In order to ensure compliance, Edward Jones has promulgated internal rules, policies and procedures for its Financial Advisors to follow and avenues for reporting non-compliance by administrative employees.”
The lawsuit further alleges: “Notwithstanding the façade of towing the line when it comes to compliance, when administrative personnel report violations of internal rules, policies and procedures, like Plaintiff did in this case, Edward Jones commonly looks the other way, as its Financial Advisors are considered “golden geese”. However, Edward Jones doesn’t just “look the other way,” it looks for a way to terminate, reassign or have an administrative employee resign rather than enforce its own rules, policies and procedures. The result – client information is compromised; Financial Advisors engage in discretionary trading and Edward Jones’ clients are thrown to the proverbial wolves. Here, Plaintiff worked for Edward Jones for sixteen years – achieving high marks and accolades, but when she began to report heavy abuses of rules, policies and procedures by a new Financial Advisor, she was retaliated against by being yelled at, called names like an Edward Jones’ clone, humiliated, and written up by Human Resources who took the side of the Financial Advisor putting his clients in harm’s way. Plaintiff now seeks damages and other relief from this Honorable Court.”
The lawsuit goes on to allege: “practically from the day he started at the Boca Raton Office, Thomas also paid little attention to protecting client information and his callous attitude towards policy and procedures resulted in client data being seriously compromised. Thomas routinely used client forms as “scratch paper”, removed documents with sensitive client information from the office, maintained pictures of clients’ driver’s licenses on his private cellphone, left the office with his computer unlocked exposing client account information on open computer screens and allowed clients to use his work computer to input information while other client information was exposed at his desk.”
The Complaint also alleges: “One of the other major violations of Edward Jones’ policy by Thomas was discretionary trading and failing to communicate with clients. On July 17, 2019, Thomas received an email regarding frequent trades on accounts that had no client communication intimating discretionary trading. Thomas answered the inquiry by stating he had spoken to clients on the phone, but that was false as Thomas rarely reached out to clients as required by Edward Jones. From that point on Thomas, would occasionally update the system with call activity to mitigate the concerns of discretionary trading but, in reality, he wasn’t speaking to the customers. Indeed, he just made the reports up to circumvent Edward Jones’ policies.”
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