Raymond James said in early March it had wrapped up the conversion of Morgan Keegan operations and clients into Raymond James’ technology systems, and the Morgan Keegan brand had been retired.
The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based broker-dealer says that over the 10-month integration, more than 500,000 client accounts were transferred from Morgan Keegan to Raymond James. To make this happen, conversion specialists were trained and deployed to about 100 branches.
“It’s been really exciting that throughout the integration and combining of our firms, we have kept a critical focus on retaining all financial advisors from Raymond James and Morgan Keegan with very high service levels and Private Client Group leadership, which planned, prepared and executed the conversion extremely well,” said Tash Elwyn, president of Raymond James & Associates-Private Client Group, the firm’s traditional employee channel, in an interview. “And at the same time, we’ve delivered many new IT applications to FAs that continue to enhance our competitive position within the industry.”
The broker-dealer field does not always get IT conversions “right.” Raymond James, though, seems to have learned from the experience of other firms.
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“Above and beyond, we built a team within the two firms of 100 conversion trainers who were Raymond James and Morgan Keegan associates and not outside consultants,” explained Elwyn. “They know systems and were trained in systems, and perhaps most important, they know the culture and they care.”
These 100 “conversion trainers” were put into the Morgan Keegan branches in mid-February, so the integration could take place over the three-day President’s Day weekend. By Feb. 19, everything was branded Raymond James, according to the company.
Plans outlined during the first stages of the merger—which was first announced on Jan. 11, 2012—allowed for the Morgan Keegan brand to be preserved in certain business segments for up to two years. “But former Morgan Keegan executives asked for the brand to be retired sooner, embracing the Raymond James brand and signaling a sign of confidence in our collective future,” the company said in a press release.