Star Broker recounts strange breakup with Edward Jones
It wasn’t an unnecessary legal threat that Edward Jones made, out of the blue, according to financial advisor Melanie J. Housden, who had built a multi-million dollar business in the small town of Hamilton, Texas – 3000 inhabitants – over 15 years. years. Granted, when Housden went independent a year later, Jones followed through on her alleged threat and sued her for $ 3 million, Housden told ThinkAdvisor in an interview.
A Solo Advisor since 2015, she is an Affiliate Partner of the Carson Wealth Management Group in Hamilton.
The award-winning advisor, 51, was managing more than $ 100 million in assets from 300 to 400 clients when Jones concluded she was preparing to leave the firm and threatened to “take aggressive legal action” if she did. was doing, Housden said.
About two years before going on her own, Housden had researched opportunities elsewhere when she realized that Jones “was not going to be able to provide the services I thought my clients needed. [or] take care of me as an advisor, ”she said in a June 2018 interview with InvestmentNews.
What happened after Jones allegedly made his threat was a few rather strange things, Housden says. His clients suddenly started receiving phone calls about their accounts from people saying they were representing Jones. Later, Housden said, she had frightening and unintentional visits from two Jones advisers.
After the firm filed a lawsuit against her in 2016, Housden filed a counterclaim along with third-party claims against the two advisers.
Then, two years after his release, Jones abandoned his business; and Housden issued its counterclaims. She was not required to pay the company a dime.
However, according to a spokesperson for Jones, “Edward Jones did receive payments from companies with which Ms. Housden became affiliated after her employment with Edward Jones. All parties have dismissed the claims against the others, and there has been no admission of wrongdoing or liability on the part of either party. “
Housden and his attorney, David K. Bissinger, declined to comment on Jones’ statement regarding payment to companies with which the adviser subsequently affiliated.
Upon leaving Jones, Housden joined Pinnacle Financial Group and Carson Wealth Management. Pinnacle partnered with Carson and took the Carson name in 2018.
All is well that ended well for Housden, maybe; but between the time Jones’ alleged threat was received and the acrimonious deal was concluded, the brokerage house inflicted brutal treatment on him that included harassment, invasion of privacy and scaring his clients, according to the FA.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed Housden, over the phone from Hamilton. For the conversation, she used an iPhone with a Bluetooth wireless phone clip connected to the sound processors of her two cochlear implants, which allow her to hear via electrical signals. Housden, who lost his hearing at 14, is profoundly deaf. That, of course, never stopped her from achieving a myriad of ambitious goals.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
THINKADVISOR: What prompted you to leave Edward Jones after building a large firm there for a decade and a half?
MELANIE HOUSDEN: It all started with a client arbitration case that I inherited when I took over the Edward Jones office in Hamilton in 2004. They waited six years to file a claim with FINRA. I hadn’t sold any of the investments, but I was the advisor in that office when they were liquidated; so the complaint was filed against me and Edward Jones. I hadn’t done anything wrong.
FINRA agreed to have the matter removed from my file, and Edward Jones had to file the expungement. However, in 2014, I found out that they still hadn’t filed it. So I contacted the legal department. I also spoke with FINRA. In about two weeks he was taken off.
So was that it?
No. I received a call from my area manager who told me that the legal department had contacted him saying that my attempt to erase my file indicated that I was going to leave the firm; and he was calling me to tell me that if I was going to leave Edward Jones would take aggressive legal action against me and involve HR.
Were you actually about to leave?
No no. Even though I was looking for other companies, that didn’t mean I was going to leave. Why would I leave when I had successfully built a multi-million dollar business portfolio there? I should walk through the door without saying anything [of my clients] because of my non-compete contract.
How, then, did you react to what the manager said?
I thought: Wow, they threatened me. Why didn’t they just say, “We’re sorry we didn’t take care of this? [expungement] as we should have ”?
Did the company follow through on their threat in any way?
I started getting calls from my clients telling me they were getting weird calls from someone saying they were from Edward Jones who wanted to tell them about the activity in their accounts. It really alarmed them: they were afraid that someone would try to steal their identity.
Why was Jones calling your clients?
They denied calling them. But then other clients called me to tell me they were getting calls from Edward Jones. Customers told them, “I don’t know who you are. I talk to Mélanie. I’m not telling you about my account.
Have you tried to do something about it?
I called the Edward Jones fraud department, the legal department, and my area manager. But no one wanted to answer me. Then I emailed the firm’s general partners, the head of human resources, the head of the legal department and my chief compliance officer to ask them why the firm threatened me and why they were calling my clients. to scare them. Nobody answered.
What were your thoughts?
I have a very strong Christian faith, and God started to tell me it was time to make a change. I knew I had to find another place to go. Obviously, my confidence in Edward Jones had diminished. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I had to protect my clients. I was terrified. So I started looking for other opportunities. It was the hardest decision I have ever made.