Michelle Lynch heads up the Raymond James Network for Women Advisors.

Several hundred female financial advisors with Raymond James (RJF), as well as guests and prospective advisors with other broker-dealers, are meeting in Orlando, Florida, for the group’s 22nd annual Women’s Symposium this week as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida.

This is the first time the group is meeting in a location other than St. Petersburg, where Raymond James has its headquarters. And it’s also the first time female advisors with Alex. Brown, recently acquired from Deutsche Bank, will be part of the assembly.

“We’ve just outgrown facilities here in St. Petersburg,” said Michelle Lynch, vice president and director of the Raymond James Network for Women Advisors, last fall. “The breakout rooms are busting at the seams. Attendance continues to grow, and moving to a larger venue—the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando—will help us address that need.”

In 2015, about 300 female advisors and 200 other financial professionals attended the Women’s Symposium, including 23 prospects.

Keynote Speakers

On Wednesday, advisors will get an update on the new Department of Labor fiduciary standard. They also will hear from Carla Harris—a Wall Street banker, gospel singer and author.

Thursday’s agenda includes talks by client-relations specialist Amy Florian of Corgenius and Cathleen Stahl, global head of marketing for PIMCO. Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly will present his outlook for the firm and respond to questions; he will be followed by political correspondent Cokie Roberts, and Dr. Joe Coughlin of MIT AgeLab.

On Friday, Susan Story, president and CEO of American Water Works and a Raymond James board member, will speak. Next on the agenda is Brigadier General Maureen LeBoeuf, retired, who was in the U.S. Army for 28 years and served as both professor and head of the physical-education department at the U.S. Military Academy, making her the first woman to chair a department at West Point since it was founded in 1802.

The conference also features educational breakout sessions, workshops led by home-office staff members, a panel of advisor clients and study groups. Other events include an awards gala and a fun run.  

Prior to the Alex. Brown purchase, Raymond James had about 6,800 advisors in the United States and Canada. As of last fall, about 850 of these registered reps were women. In addition to these female advisors, about 100 members of the company’s Capital Markets team have attended past Women’s Symposiums.

The company’s executive committee includes Bella Loykhter Allaire, executive vice president of technology and operations. Along with Story, Shelley Broader, president, CEO and director of Chico’s FAS Inc., sits on Raymond James’ corporate board of directors.

—Related on ThinkAdvisor: