Turning Succession Planning Into Business Growth: Raymond James

The independent RJ arm is brokering deals for its own advisors, as well as for breakaway wirehouse reps

It's a busy time for advisor M&As. It's a busy time for advisor M&As.

Raymond James’ (RJF) independent advisor channel is capitalizing on advisors’ desire to retire knowing they’ve made the best decisions for their clients and themselves. The group’s succession planning and acquisitions team aims to give advisors a full-service approach to merging or selling their businesses.  

“It’s a marriage,” said Patrick Jinks, vice president of the group, in an interview during Raymond James Financial Services' national conference in Las Vegas on Monday. “We give them honest answers” about how the firm facilitates these deals. “They are going to be together for a while … and we want them to go into this with their eyes wide open and even sign a prenuptial agreement.”

Raymond James works on the mergers and acquisitions of practices that don’t involve equity.

“We have the culture, depth and breadth of an in-house-like boutique M&A firm,” said Jinks, “and we partner with outside professionals, like tax and law firms, as well as third parties, such as Live Oak Bank.”

The firm handles financing for some transactions or refers advisors to Live Oak for certain deals, he adds, when the groups involved are looking to closely align tax amortization and loan repayments.

Raymond James also has a Match.com-like website for deals that happen between two Raymond James parties.

“We are having a great deal of success with that,” Jinks said.

In the first six months of the company’s current fiscal year, the acquisitions team has helped make 28 deals between Raymond James independent reps. Deals involving external advisors – who agree to affiliate with Raymond James as part of the M&A – have totaled 15.

“These external deals really didn’t exist last year,” said Jinks, who is a CPA. “We have paired folks at different broker-dealers, and then they both moved to Raymond James.”

Advisors and teams involved in the Raymond James deals have seen their trailing 12-month fees and commissions go up about 35%, according to Jinks. “This is revenue being retained by the firm, and the assets under advisement have gone up 50%, too.”  

In addition, Nathan Lenz, vice president and director of acquisitions, has assisted with bringing in over $10 million in advisor revenue since August through M&As.

“The pipeline is good,” said Jinks. “We believe we have a very competitive advantage in the field. No other broker-dealer has the internal resources of Raymond James Financial Services” to make these deals happen.  

Other firms, he notes, generally outsource the M&A process, but are paying attention to what the independent channel of Raymond James is up to.

But both executives are confident that the firm can keep up its advantage on the competition.

“We are empowering advisors, using a lack of industry succession planning to go after wirehouse reps and tothers with targeted recruiting” for these deals,” Lenz explained. “We have the flexibility and other advantages to offer them.”

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