Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly says that, despite the purchase of the Morgan Keegan advisors in 2012 and the Deutsche Bank wealth reps in 2016, the firm is firmly focused on organic growth.
Part of that growth story, he suggests, is tied to what he describes as the firm’s long-timer “values and culture.” But part of this strategy is forward looking, as well.
“As you saw with our ‘client of the future’ [internal educational] campaign that we rolled out last year, the client is female,” he said in an interview Wednesday after speaking some 1,700 independent advisors and 1,400 other guests at the firm’s yearly conference in Nashville.
“Our Black Financial Advisors Network has doubled its number of advisors [to about 50], and we want to roll this out [its structure] to [more] affinity groups — which would include advisors that reflect the clients we serve,” explained Reilly.
Both he and members of both the Black Financial Advisors Network and the Network for Women Advisors admit these efforts take time to produce major results.
“Before 1985, there were not many [blacks] in the business, but that began to change in the 1990s,” said Joel Burstein, a co-founder of the group and also a branch manager for Raymond James & Associates in Miami.
And shifts in the deomography of the advisor population do not happen overnight.
“There’s got to be a 20-year lead time,” Burstein explained. “You have to build a strong foundation and base, which is important for changing the images of what people and firms see as an advisor and what the black community sees it can do – in other words, institutional changes.”
While not easy, “It’s good for firms, clients and the community,” he added.
Reilly and other executives say they agree wholeheartedly and are using the structure of the firm’s group for women advisors, which includes 900 female registered reps, to guide what it does with black advisors.
“The Network for Women Advisors has enabled us to be women friendly in our recruiting, training and in other areas. We have the same [goals] for the Black Advisors Network. There is a steering group to help us figure out how to boost diversity and recruiting, and it is becoming an advocacy group for us,” the CEO said.