At least three wealth management firms have pledged to finance relief efforts for victims of flooding in Texas.
Wells Fargo (WFC) is spending $275,000 to boost the efforts of the American Red Cross, as well as local nonprofits in affected regions of the Lone Star State, while Bank of America (BAC) has pledged $250,000 to the American Red Cross and Rebuilding Together. Raymond James (RFJ) is donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross in Austin and Houston.
Also this week, a former employee-advisor team with JPMorgan (JPM) went independent with Raymond James in New Braunfels, Texas, part of the area in South Texas being affected by storms. One of the now-indie reps, James “Trey” Mahan, says the company’s community focus played a big part in the group’s decision to affiliate with Raymond James.
“We were looking for this type of culture in the firm we planned to partner with,” said Mahan, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “We are very involved in the community and want to grow … with a firm that puts a priority on that approach.”
Mahan moved to Raymond James Financial Services with his partner Gregory Snider. The team, which does business as South Texas Wealth Management, has about $1.2 million in yearly fees and commissions and manages about $140 million in client assets. Many of its clients are current and former business owners.
Mahan was with Chase Investment Services in 2010, Merrill Lynch from 2011 to 2013 and then JPMorgan through mid-2015, according to his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records; Sniper worked for Chase from 2007 to 2012 and JPMorgan afterward.
Most of Mahan and Snider’s clients live in the Hill Country of South Texas, and only a few of their homes are near any of the rivers that flooded recently. The community of Wimberley, which lost about 350 homes, is located about 30 miles from New Braunfels.
“We were better prepared in some respects, because those who live by rivers in New Braunfels went through the floods of 1998 and 2000. They did what they could to make sure [a lot of damage] didn’t happen again,” explained Mahan.
“I went down to see how the rivers were running over the Memorial Day weekend. People were inner-tubing in them, but it was too fast for me,” he added.
Further south, in the area around Victoria and Eagle Ford Shale region, rainwater and flooding has negatively affected some of the team’s clients. “Homes have been hit, and some businesses have been put on hold as well,” Mahan said. “Many weren’t prepared there, because they had not seen this type of weather in a while.”
As people around South Texas dry out and businesses get up and running again, the new Raymond James team will focus on which niche markets in these largely rural areas it wants to target.
“We are thinking strategically about these smaller markets, and it’s a key reason we came to Raymond James,” Mahan said. Some of the larger firms, like the wirehouses, prefer advisors grow their practices in large metro areas.
“But we don’t want to grow in San Antonio, in Austin,” he explained. “We may add clients there, but these folks are retiring to areas like New Braunfels. It’s just a matter of timing.” Raymond James Buys Producers Choice Network
In other news, Raymond James said Friday that it plans to buy Producers Choice Network, a private insurance and annuity marketing organization that it has partnered with for about a decade.
The deal should close this summer, when Producers Choice will become part of the Raymond James Insurance Group, including about 60 employees.
Those employees will be retained in the firm’s current location. Principals Blair O’Connor and Dwight Eberts are expected to expand their roles within the organization.
“Enhancing the support services we offer financial advisors so they can serve the holistic planning needs of their clients is an evergreen priority,” said Scott Stolz, senior vice president of Raymond James Private Client Group Investments & Wealth Solutions, in a statement. “This addition brings more life insurance and annuity specialists to our team to support advisors, while also adding a small external wholesale segment we believe can leverage our internal resources for future growth.”
— Check out Risk Management for Homeowners Returning to the Coasts on ThinkAdvisor.