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Raymond James says it has hosted over 50 virtual home office visits for prospective advisors or teams since COVID-19 restricted in-person visits, though its recruiting pace has decelerated. 

“Although the pace of financial advisor recruiting has slowed due to travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders, our pipeline is strong and we have effectively transitioned to virtual recruiting and advisor onboarding,” said Chairman and CEO Paul Reilly in a statement late Wednesday.

“We remain confident in our ability to retain and attract high-quality advisors over the long-term,” Reilly added. 

David Paller, who moved to Raymond James recently from UBS with his business partner Charles Isaacs explained: “Ironically, transitioning during a crisis has really helped us as we work with clients, many of whom are busy executives who may not have previously been as available or been able to dedicate as much attention.”

Paller, who has 28 years in the business, and Isaacs work with about $360 million in assets. They switched firms on April 30, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

In the first three months of 2020, the firm’s advisor headcount rose 286 from last year to hit 8,148 on March 31, up 88 from December 2019. It has 4,772 independent advisors and 3,376 employee advisors. 

Assets under administration for its advisors were nearly $787 billion for April, increased 1% from April 2019 and 7% from March 2020.

“Advisor interest and feedback from remote HOVs since early April has been quite positive,” according to Scott Curtis, president of Raymond James’ Private Client Group.

While these virtual visits “can’t replicate an in-person meeting at Raymond James’ headquarters campus…,” Curtis explained, “we’re seeing increased interest in resuming due diligence conversations, as advisors have become more comfortable with virtual meetings.”

Raymond James also says investor clients’ use of its online account resources has grown some 50% since earlier this year, and their use of its mobile app has jumped 82%. Advisors use of mobile applications has grown about 80% since their offices closed, while traffic on advisor websites has improved roughly 62%.

RBC Update

Meanwhile, RBC Wealth Management recruited a six-person team with $650 million in assets from Morgan Stanley. The Sheresky-Samsen Group joins RBC’s Midtown Manhattan branch in New York. 

It includes brothers Steve and Jeffrey Sheresky, both of whom have 35 years of industry experience; Jeff Samsen, 33 years; Steve’s son Kenny Sheresky, three years; business associate Jeannine Barlotta; and client associate Stanley Weeks.

“We are fortunate that RBC’s digital tools and our strong culture have enabled us to continue attracting the industry’s top talent during this time, despite limited in-person interactions,” said John Moran, director of the firm’s New York complex, in a statement. 

LPL News

LPL Financial has added advisors Brian Lynn, CFP, John Fessler and Jim Pacheco from Wells Fargo. The trio work with about $305 million in assets and are launching Claritas Financial Partners in Marlton, New Jersey, with support from LPL Strategic Wealth Services, the firm’s new affiliation model for employee/wirehouse advisors. 

“We’ve become a tight group, and through a series of discussions, we decided we could create a better client experience and expand our offerings if we come together as a team to offer objective financial advice,” explained Lynn, in a statement. 

The group plans to operate via a fee-based model.

“Launching a business is a big decision, and it is admirable that this team chose to do that out of a desire to do more for their clients,” said Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial managing director and divisional president, Business Development, in a statement.

Also, LPL announced that its affiliate Simmons Investment Services, the wealth management program at Simmons Bank, purchased Landmark Bank’s investment program. The wealth program is based in Arkansas and has advisors in Texas, Missouri and Tennessee. 

Earlier, Landmark worked with $400 million in assets and was affiliated with Raymond James. After acquiring Landmark, Simmons Investment Services now serves about 8,000 clients with $1.5 billion in assets.

“What was particularly remarkable was that we were able to onboard the business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to W. Cary Curzon, director of investment services at Simmons. 

“LPL didn’t hesitate to think outside the box,” Curzon added. “Their transition team used WebEx video conferencing to provide continuous support like they were right there with us.”