Raymond James (RJF) said Wednesday that it aims to train a number client associates each year to become advisors. This move comes on the heels of a pilot program for associates, which it started last year, to boost the number of female advisors and to groom successors for retiring advisors.
“We want to create a career path for service associates who want to advance,” said Tash Elwyn of Raymond James & Associates (RJA) Private Client Group, the company’s employee broker-dealer, in a statement. “We also know that by being exposed to this education, participants will gain many new talents in working with their respective advisors and teams and improving their skills, whether or not they ever pursue the ultimate goal of becoming financial advisors.”
The program received a flood of applications, but just two candidates from each of RJA’s five geographic divisions were accepted. If the pilot is successful, the company says, it plans to expand the number of associates in the training program in future years.
Male associates are eligible, too, but most associates are women.
“At one of our recent Women’s Network gatherings, we asked for a show of hands from advisors who had begun their careers as sales or service associates, and at least 30% of the audience raised their hands. And of the members of our Women’s Advisory Council, that number increased to 50%,” said Nicole Spinelli, director of the Raymond James Network for Women Advisors, in a statement.
“So we knew immediately we had a very deep pool of potential advisor candidates already at the firm,” Spinelli said. “It was just a matter of developing the right curriculum, assessing the right candidates and launching a pilot program to see where that leads.”
The year-long effort pairs an associate with an advisor in the Women’s Network Advisory Council. They spend several hours a month working via conference calls, completing online classes and tutorials and, finally, attending the annual Women’s Symposium in the fall.
After six months, participants train for the Accredited Asset Management Specialist designation and take the exam. Candidates also work with a business coach, a female Raymond James advisor and other professionals contributing to the program.
Raymond James decided to use the AAMS curriculum due to its focus on core concepts of investment management (portfolio construction, asset allocation, risk assessment, etc.), as well as inclusion of financial-planning topics (such as insurance and estate planning), according to Pat Dixon, vice president of Wealth Solutions.