Raymond James has appointed marketing veteran Michelle Lynch as vice president and director of the firm’s Network for Women Advisors. Lynch, who has 11 years of experience with the company’s Private Client Group and Asset Management divisions at Raymond James, will lead the Network for Women Advisors—which includes more than 800 reps—and other diversity initiatives.
Lynch will report to Tash Elwyn, president of the Private Client group for employee-advisor channel Raymond James & Associates, and to Scott Curtis, president of the independent-advisor channel Raymond James Financial Services, which recently held its national development conference in Las Vegas. At the event, the company shared the news that it now includes a Black Financial Advisors Network.
Founded by three advisors—Tony Barrett, Joel Burstein and Kaon Nelson—BFAN has the support of Raymond James’ top leadership, including CEO Paul Reilly. It is focused on both recruiting more black advisors and increasing existing black advisors’ success at the firm.
In an interview during the conference, Barrett said BFAN members want to make black advisors “feel welcome at Raymond James.” Since the industry itself “doesn’t have a lot of diverse talent, we need to make the industry more attractive to young people,” he added.
It’s “the right time to do something more inclusive for the firm,” since there are more affluent black Americans, “plus the talent pool has increased” for new advisors among black college graduates, explained Barrett, who is the Philadelphia area complex manager for Raymond James & Associates. “We’re looking at how we can bring in more education and training so existing advisors grow and develop.”
Barrett, Burstein—RJA’s Miami branch manager—and Nelson, who joined Raymond James via the Morgan Keegan acquisition, had informally discussed how to achieve those aims, but Barrett said it was Elwyn “who called our bluff.” The three men realized that “if we were going to do something it would have to come from us.”
In February, the first formal meeting of the Black Financial Advisors Network took place, with about 30 people attending from across the firm.