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Raymond James Taps New Heads of Independent, Employee Units

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Raymond James (RJF) said Monday that it named a new executive to run its independent-advisor channel as Dick Averitt prepares to retire, and a new head for its employee-advisor channel, as Dennis Zank moves into the COO slot at the parent company.

In early January, Scott Curtis (below) will assume the role of president of Raymond James Financial Services (now led by Averitt) and managing director of its independent-contractor division, and Tash Elwyn will become president of Raymond James & Associates’ private-client business, which is currently headed by Zank.

Scott Curtis, RJFSAveritt, 66, is retiring, while COO Chet Helck, 59, will continue to oversee the firm’s global private-client group, which includes the two advisor channels as well as the international PCG businesses. Raymond James includes about 5,400 advisors in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with some $217 billion in client assets under administration.

“I would like to recognize and thank Dick for his remarkable leadership and years of service to the firm and our advisors,” said CEO Paul Reilly, 57, in a press release. “His contributions are innumerable and his commitment to running Raymond James Financial Services with integrity, hard work and a continual focus on our advisors and their clients is both a wonderful example for our future generations of leaders and an embodiment of the firm’s values.”

Averitt has led RJFS since 2002. He joined the firm in 1978 as a financial planner and registered representative and joined the firm’s management team in 1984.

“Dennis and Dick have both played critical roles in the firm’s growth and success over the past 33 years,” explained Executive Chairman Thomas A. James, 69, in a statement. “Dennis … is well-suited to provide broad leadership in his new role, [and] Dick’s track record has been similarly exemplary, starting as an advisor and then as a leader of advisors … he made major contributions supporting his predecessor and has performed extremely well leading Raymond James Financial Services over the past eight years.”

Zank, 57, has served as president of RJA for the past nine years. Earlier, he served as executive vice president of operations and administration. He joined Raymond James’ accounting department in 1978 and became controller in 1982.

Curtis, 49, the new head of RJFS, has served as senior vice president of the Raymond James & Associates private-client group for the past six years. He joined Raymond James nine years ago from GE Financial.

“I have been impressed with [Curtis’] understanding of our business and our advisor clients,” said Averitt, in a statement. “He has tremendous leadership skills, and I look forward to working closely with him.”

Elwyn (left), 40, who will lead RJA, joined Raymond James in 1993 as a financial-advisor trainee. He later became a branch manager and divisional sales manager. For the past five years, he has served as director of the Atlantic division.

“Tash has made significant contributions to Raymond James & Associates’ success,” said Zank in a press release. “He has provided strong sales management leadership in supporting his advisors’ growth plans and adoption of best practices.”

Raymond James said in mid-November that a UBS (UBS) team with $200 million in assets joined its independent channel in Duluth, Minn. Earlier in the month, RJFS attracted a Morgan Stanley team in Pennsylvania with annual production of roughly $1.15 million and client assets of about $155 million.

“We are pleased with the firm’s continued growth, illustrated by record-breaking results in 2011, but we also understand the importance of remaining diligent with planning for the future. Proactive succession planning is part of that,” said Reilly. “This fiscal year we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary. “These promotions reflect our evolution as an organization as well as our commitment to our strategic growth plans for the future.”


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