Close Close
Popular Financial Topics Discover relevant content from across the suite of ALM legal publications From the Industry More content from ThinkAdvisor and select sponsors Investment Advisor Issue Gallery Read digital editions of Investment Advisor Magazine Tax Facts Get clear, current, and reliable answers to pressing tax questions
Luminaries Awards
Edward Jones Building

Regulation and Compliance > Litigation

Edward Jones Underpaid Female Advisors, Class-Action Suit Says

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

What You Need to Know

  • In 2021, Edward Jones issued a report disclosing that 2% of home office employees had not been paid equally for equal work.
  • While the firm said it had addressed those pay gaps, the lawsuit called those efforts lip service.

Edward Jones was accused of systematically underpaying female advisors in an employment discrimination class-action lawsuit filed Thursday.

According to the suit, filed in Illinois Northern District Court, plaintiff Blair Zigler filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on or about June 14, alleging gender discrimination on behalf of herself and others similarly situated against Edward Jones.

Zigler, a former home office financial advisor, was employed at Edward Jones from July 2018 to February 2022.

Edward Jones employs more than 19,225 financial advisors and has 14,667 branch offices in the United States, according to the suit.

“But as of 2021 — nearly 100 years after the company was founded — only 21% of Edward Jones FAs are women,” the suit states. “These disproportionate hiring statistics show that Edward Jones is aware of its tendency to favor male FAs over female FAs.”

Edward Jones is not alone in having a mostly male advisor force. The share of CFPs who are women has been stuck around 23% for years, according to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

The suit states that Edward Jones’ “leadership responsible for compensation policy decisions is predominately white and male.”

Edward Jones, the suit states, “is well-aware that women FAs are significantly underrepresented in senior leadership, recently acknowledging that only 30% of its senior leadership are women.”

The suit goes on to maintain that “due to long-standing systemic, company-wide discriminatory practices with respect to training, compensation, partnerships, sales support and business opportunities, female home office employees are denied wages and advancement opportunity on the basis of gender.”

As a result, the suit continues, female home office FAs at Edward Jones are paid less than male home office FAs.

“Edward Jones is well-aware of the centralized, systemic, company-wide discriminatory employment practices to which Plaintiff Zigler, and the class she seeks to represent, has been and continues to be subjected — and has been for many years,” the suit states.

The suit cites Edward Jones’ 2021 Purpose, Inclusion, and Citizenship Report “pay equity analysis,” in which the firm analyzed pay for its U.S. home offices to “assess equal pay for equal work across race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation and military status.”

Zigler and the members of the proposed collective and classes, the suit states, “are among the 2% of home office employees identified by Edward Jones as not receiving equal pay for equal work,” according to the suit.

“Despite Edward Jones’ claim that these ‘[i]dentified gaps have been addressed,’ those impacted by Edward Jones’ discriminatory compensation practices know this to be public-facing lip service, unaccompanied by actual change or meaningful compensation,” the suit maintains.

“Consequently, Edward Jones continues to knowingly and intentionally foster an inequitable and unlawful workplace that disproportionately disadvantages female home office employees and that does not serve any reasonable business purpose,” the suit states.

Edward Jones said Friday in a statement shared with ThinkAdvisor that while it has not reviewed the suit, the firm “is committed to creating a place of belonging for our associates and our clients and making a positive impact in our communities. We condemn any instance of discrimination or bias. Edward Jones takes its commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion seriously and will continue to listen, learn, take responsibility and act in accordance with its values and purpose to make a positive impact in the lives of its clients, colleagues and communities.”

In 2020, Edward Jones committed to reach these “human capital aspirations” by the end of 2025:

  • 20% people of color and gender parity among leaders in the firm’s U.S. headquarters
  • 15% people of color and 40% women among U.S. home office general partners
  • 15% people of color and 30% women among U.S. financial advisors.


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.