From the April 2007 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

April 1, 2007

RJFS' Recruiting Team Takes Shape in 2007

Raymond James Financial says its private client group grew pre-tax income 47 percent as commissions and fees experienced "healthy increases," in the quarter ended December 31, 2006. The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company includes three wholly owned broker/dealers: Raymond James & Associates for traditional employee FAs, Raymond James Financial Services (or RJFS) for independent FAs, and Raymond James Limited for FAs in Canada.

The total number of Raymond James advisors stands at 4,283 vs. 4,364 a year ago; about three-fourths of these FAs, or 3,255, are in the independent channel. To reinvigorate recruiting, RJFS hired Bill Van Law away from Raymond James & Associates in September.

To date, the new RJFS senior vice president and national director of business development has focused on building a regional model of recruiters, who are strategically located throughout the country. RJFS recently hired four new recruiters, after tapping Nestor Gonzales in October to serve as a business development consultant in the firm's western region.

"We are building a diverse team to provide geographic diversification, to be closer to the financial advisors already on our team and to those who are interested in joining," says Van Law, CFP, who cut his teeth as a broker and manager at Merrill Lynch.

The latest RJFS hires are:

o Ronald J. Singer as the northeast regional director of business development in Millburn, N.J.; he trained as a rep at Merrill Lynch, before starting his own recruiting firm.

Kimberly Hollenbeck, a business development consultant based in Denver, is a recruiter, experienced advisor and CFP.

o Fred McGinnis, a business development consultant based in San Antonio, started in the business with E.F. Hutton and has worked for two decades as a branch manager in the securities field;

o Jodi Perry, a business development consultant based in St. Petersburg, is returning to Raymond James as a 12-year veteran after taking a six-month absence; and

o Paul Martin, administrative manager for the business development division in St. Petersburg, joins RJFS from Raymond James & Associates, where he was an administrative manager in the private client group.

"We're excited as we expand the team and move forward," says Van Law. "We remain more enthusiastic than last year, when recruiting was down across the industry. For Raymond James, our aggregate recruiting results have been at a record level, and we are optimistic in terms of where things are headed."

Though some executives on the non-independent side of the business, like James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, say "too many" advisors have gone the independent route, Van Law disagrees.

"The larger producers do not feel that going independent is a hurdle for them. They are finding more tools to help clients with our platform," he shares. "These are entrepreneurial folks, who are interested and excited about going independent, especially as they get unsettled by some circumstances [they face working at the traditional firms]."

The majority of advisors joining RJFS come from the larger, traditional broker-dealers. In the fiscal year ended September 30, 2006, as advisors came over to RJFS, they transferred 66,159 accounts in and 17,064 accounts out.

"Bill knows it's a huge decision to go independent, and each situation is different," explains Hollenbeck, 30. "We have flexibility to grow the territory without a cookie-cutter approach, so it's a good fit for both sides. We know we have a job because of our advisors, and that's how we want to build the firm."

McGinnis, a Houston native who led a UBS branch in Dallas for a time, is keen to target advisors who are making $250,000 and up in yearly production, as well as FA groups with a high-net-worth focus. "Out top concern is quality," he says. "Another key is whether an advisor has the desire and a reasonable understanding of what it takes to run his or her own business."

"I've been more than surprised at the positive reception we get from some advisors with wirehouse firms," says McGinnis. "We don't focus on convincing them to leave. They've made that decision and are looking at different platforms."

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Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at jlevaux@researchmag.com.

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