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Raymond James Shares New Tech, April Results

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Raymond James (RJF) says it has rolled out a technology tool to bring together clients’ account data to give advisors a clear view of their financial situation. The tool, External Account Aggregation, also recently received a Technology Innovation Award from the Bank Insurance and Securities Association.

“External Account Aggregation is another key project that validates the work we have done to meet the needs of our advisors,” said Josh Bohlander, vice president of technology for Raymond James, in a statement. “By automating and integrating the information, it streamlines the work done by the advisor so they can focus on their client needs.”

Initial advisor reaction has been positive, the firm says.

“These days, clients are very busy, and to the extent we can help them simplify and feel in control of their financial destiny, we can be successful in further building our practices and retaining clients,” said Mitch Kauffman, an independent rep affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services and a branch manager in Pasadena, California, in a press release.

“External Accounts is easy to use and sets advisors and clients up with the information we need to have those deeper, more holistic financial planning conversations,” explained Kauffman, who tried out the tool at the independent channel’s national conference in April. “Raymond James continues to be forward-looking and responsive when it comes to the type of technology we and our clients need, and this is a great addition to the firm’s technology platform.”

Employee-advisor Shams Deitrick, CFP, of Deitrick Wealth Management, a Raymond James & Associates branch in Walnut Creek, California, is also upbeat on the new technology. “The tool assists me and my team in countless ways,” he said, in a statement.

“It helps with completing reviews – whether it’s for clients’ net worth statements, retirement analyses or asset allocation on their 401(k)s. More important, it’s another tool to help me strengthen my relationships with my clients. Time-saving, efficient technology allows me to focus on client conversations and helps to further position me as my clients’ primary trusted advisor,” Deitrick explained.

Monthly Results

Raymond James, which supports some 6,400 financial advisors, said this week that its reps had total securities commissions and fees of $287.8 million in April, a 7% year-over-year jump, “driven by growth in the Private Client Group segment and Fixed Income division.”

However, compared with March, securities commissions and fees dropped 2%, “largely due to a sequential decline in underwriting activity and one fewer business day,” the firm states.

Client assets under administration reached $501.9 billion in April, representing a 9% increase from a year ago and 1% improvement from March.

“The growth in client assets under administration continues to benefit from robust financial advisor recruiting and retention results and market appreciation,” according to a statement. Assets under management grew to a $69.7 billion.

The company says that it closed on its purchase of Cougar Global Investments in April. However, the impact of the deal on its financial assets under management “was relatively modest, as the vast majority of Cougar’s assets are in model delivery programs and therefore not included in financial assets under management,” the firm explained in a press release.

In other news, “Following an extremely strong month for M&A in March, investment banking revenues declined in April on both a year-over-year and sequential basis,” said CEO Paul Reilly, in a statement. “Nonetheless, investment banking activity remains healthy, although closings are inherently unpredictable and lumpy.”

Total net loans at Raymond James Bank were $12 billion, a 17% year-over-year increase but a 1% drop from March, as paydowns in April exceeded new originations, according to the firm. Also, Raymond James realized an $11 million pretax gain on the sale of a block of auction rate securities (or ARS) holdings in April.

“This was a solid start to the quarter,” Reilly added. “Client assets continue to grow, and the recruiting pipeline remains robust.  We continue to believe we are well positioned for future growth.”

Dividend News

On Friday, the company’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 per share, payable on July 15. Plus, the board increased its repurchase authorization of common stock and senior notes due August 2019, April 2016, April 2024 and March 2042, respectively, to $150 million.