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Raymond James Lands Its Biggest Recruit Ever, From Morgan Stanley

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The Americas Group, which manages about $2.4 billion for both retail and institutional clients, has moved to Raymond James (RJF) in South Florida from Morgan Stanley (MS). Raymond James says this is the largest team it has ever recruited to any of its channels.

“We are delighted to have attracted the Americas Group, which is widely recognized as one of the most successful advisor teams in the country, to join our firm in South Florida,” said Tash Elwyn, president of the firm’s employee broker-dealer Raymond James & Associates, in a statement. “Their decision to join us is testament to our technology and support platform and our service-first culture. We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with the team in support of their clients.”

The group includes veteran advisors Don d’Adesky, W. Kristopher Lemke, Matthew Cicero, Jose Cabrera Sr., Kevin Gourrier and Ryan Weber. It has offices in Boca Raton and Coral Gables and serves high-net worth-individuals, institutions and banks primarily located in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

Moving to St. Petersburg, Florida-based Raymond James involved a lot more than geographic considerations, according to d’Adesky, who heads the Boca Raton practice.

“We spoke to up to 13 firms … and some independent firms made such an effort,” he said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “You have to look in the mirror, which we did. We knew we did not want to own our own branch.”

For its part, Morgan Stanley says it is “no longer able to accommodate [the team's] business model. They serve a number of smaller central banks in Caribbean and Latin American countries, and for regulatory reasons we are shifting coverage of these clients to our institutional business and will no longer serve them in wealth management,” the wirehouse explained in a statement.

The freshly recruited Raymond James team says it plans “to focus on our clients, grow the business and sit with them to discuss issues like mortgages, risk tolerance, etc.,” according to d’Adesky. “We have lofty targets for growing our business with high-net-worth individuals and mid-market institutions.”

While Raymond James offers the Americas Group technology, portfolio and other tools to help make this happen, it also provides the team members with piece of mind. “I’m 50 and at an important point in my career. I have awesome clients … and now I’ve found a place where I could retire,” he said.

Plus, d’Adesky states, the clients don’t appear to be going anywhere because of the team’s move. “They say, ‘I have done business with you for many years. As long as you are there and monitoring my portfolio, I’m with you.’ ”

The group’s move out of a wirehouse, he adds, is about finding the right competitive and cultural fit. “There a huge push from robo-advisors, who are compressing fees. And the major firms, the wirehouses overall, are focusing on ROA (return on assets). They have to have economies of scale for the client,” d’Adesky explained.

In this high-pressed environment, the Americas Group was looking for “the ability to have tools to enhance the client experience and [for clients] to monitor their own portfolio on the institutional side,” he said. “With our retired clients [retail] clients, we are continuing on the same path and hope to grow to have the economies of scale we need to be as competitive as possible.”

Raymond James’ treatment of the new group, he adds, “has been excellent, and we are looking forward to more of that experience.”

— Check out Breaking Away—When the Wirehouse Wants You to Stay on ThinkAdvisor.


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