June 19, 2013

Raymond James, Janney Nab More Wirehouse Reps

There's some debate, however, as to what's driving the latest movement out of the wirehouses and its significance, experts say

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James (RJF) says it continues to recruit successful advisors from Morgan Stanley (MS), Merrill Lynch (ML) and a number of other firms, building on its momentum in technology and its integration of Morgan Keegan.

“We see continued very-strong interest across the full spectrum of affiliated options, including our employee, RIA and independent options, said Tash Elwyn (left), president of Raymond James & Associates-Private Client Group, in an interview with AdvisorOne.

At the same time, Philadelphia-based Janney Montgomery Scott has been adding to its ranks by recruiting a number of wirehouse reps. The firm said Tuesday that ex-Morgan Stanley advisors Alfred DeRenzis and Scott Ford  joined its new branch in Westminster, Md.

DeRenzis and Ford have a total of nearly $160 million in client assets. Prior to Morgan Stanley, the team worked with Citigroup and earlier with Legg Mason.

The ability of these firms to attract these veteran reps, experts say, may stem in part from their non-Wall Street character, which can be especially inviting to reps who were previously with broker-dealers in the Midwest or Southeast. A number of wirehouse reps, meanwhile, have swelled Raymond James' ranks in a few recent big-firm exits.

On Monday, for instance, a team of advisors led by Scott A. Schuster formed Dashboard Wealth Advisors, an independent firm affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services in Oak Brook, Ill. The team came to Raymond James from Morgan Stanley, where they managed more than $240 million in client assets and had annual fees and commissions of $1.9 million.

“We wanted a firm where we could continue to expand and develop our holistic process of financial planning … with a service-first focus that offers cutting-edge technology, so when we discovered that Raymond James provided all of those things … it was a slam-dunk,” said Scott Schuster, who moved to Morgan Stanley from A.G. Edwards in 2007, in a statement.

And on Wednesday, Raymond James said that Claire Friedrichs joined its traditional employee channel in Mandeville, La., from Merrill Lynch, where she managed some $80 million in client assets and produced $850,000 in annual fees and commissions through April, when she switched firms.

Motivation for Movement

As for what’s driving movement out of the wirehouses, “There’s no big trouble or scandal right now, so we’re really in a stalemate here,” ” recruiter Rick Peterson explained, in an interview.

“The [recruiting] deals are the same as they’ve been in the past three or four years,” explained Peterson, who sees today's attrition and recruiting levels at the wirehouses as a "zero-sum game."

Elwyn (right), however, sees things differently. “Despite the extremes of market highs and lows, what’s consistent is that many competitors – at the wirehouse and regional firms – continue to create pain points for their advisors,” he said.

 “Those pain points can vary from macro, firm-oriented issues to micro, branch-level issues like branch manager turnover, the ratio of financial advisors to service associates and the like,” Elwyn noted.

“There’s a pairing of the pain points that exist at competitor firms and Raymond James’ culture, values and other factors that attract advisors to us,” he said, “such as our reputation, industry-leading technology and 101 quarters of profitability.”

Elwyn says Raymond James expects its recruiting of wirehouse and other reps to remain strong, regardless of market conditions.

 

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