Two financial advisors have filed a lawsuit accusing Edward D. Jones & Co. of discrimination in its account distribution practices, according to a report by AdvisorHub.
The class action claim was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Missouri by a current Edward Jones broker, Kathryn “Katie” Dixon, and a former broker with the firm, Jaime “Jimmy” Gaona. The action was brought on behalf of themselves and all women and minority advisors who have worked at Edward Jones over the past four years.
The suit cited the St. Louis-based company’s ‘Goodnight Program’, under which senior financial advisors assign assets to less tenured advisors. Dixon and Gaona said the majority of brokers assigning accounts under the program “are white men primarily of United States national origin or ancestry.” As a result of their discretion to assign the accounts, the plaintiffs allege that assets are being concentrated in the hands of white male financial advisors instead of a more diverse group of advisors.
Dixon and Gaona also claim that Edward Jones has failed to take meaningful action to address “systemic bias” alleged in previous discrimination cases against the firm.
A spokeswoman for Edward Jones did not comment on the current lawsuit’s specific claims but said that the company condemns any instance of racism, discrimination or bias. Last year the firm set a target to double the number of minority representatives in its brokerage force.
The suit said Dixon disclosed to Edward Jones in 2020 that she identifies as LGBTQ+ while Gaona is a first-generation Mexican American.
In 2021, Edward Jones settled a $34 million class action bias claim filed by Wayne Bland, who alleged that the firm employed policies and practices that unlawfully segregated its workforce and denied African-Americans income and advancement opportunities because of their race.
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