Raymond James’ independent advisor conference attracted about half of FAs affiliated with the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based broker-dealer: Roughly 1,600 advisors and 1,800 guests came to the greater Dallas area in late April for the four-day event. For many attendees, the highlight of the event was a talk by former President George W. Bush, who lives in the area and just opened his presidential library.
“Unlike many other firms that seem obsessed with the number of advisors affiliated with their firm, we’re much more focused on the quality of advisors and helping those advisors, like you, increase their client assets,” said Scott Curtis, president of Raymond James Financial Services in his opening remarks.
Still, Curtis acknowledged the presence of 65 prospective advisors who are attending the event to check out the broker-dealer. He also pointed out that in 2008 RJFS included 3,150 affiliated advisors with nearly $110 billion in client assets. As of April 19, it had 3,240 advisors with close to $175 billion in client assets. “So in five years, the advisor count is up roughly 3%, while client assets have increased 60%,” Curtis said.
Vin Campagnoli, chief information officer for RJFS’ parent firm, says the firm spends over $200 million a year on technology and is getting strong results from this effort. “We have increased our spending 30% over the past two years,” Campagnoli said. “No one else [in the industry] can say that.”
Right before the conference, Raymond James received the Bank Insurance and Securities Association’s 2013 Technology Innovation Award for the firm’s commitment to technology-based industry solutions and the rollout of its financial planning software, Goal Planning & Monitoring (GPM).
As for the company’s overall growth plans, “Don’t overcomplicate your strategy and your focus,” said Raymond James (RJF) CEO Paul Reilly, when asked whether the company planned to expand organically or through additional acquisitions, like its purchase of Morgan Keegan (which wrapped up in April 2012 and was followed by its platform integration in February 2013). “With Morgan Keegan, we had such a good experience,” he said, “but that’s because the cultures were nearly identical.”