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How a Top Raymond James Wealth Exec Gives Back, Unwinds

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As president of the Raymond James Private Client Group, Scott Curtis leads the firm’s domestic wealth management businesses, which include more than 8,000 employee and independent financial advisors and generate more than 70% of overall firm revenue.

Curtis is based in Florida’s Tampa Bay area and has been with Raymond James since February 2003. Prior to his current role, he served as president of Raymond James Financial Services, directing the firm’s independent advisor business.

From 2006 to 2012, he was senior vice president of the Raymond James & Associates Private Client Group, where he was responsible for leading initiatives focused on revenue growth, efficiency enhancement, product development, risk mitigation and service improvement. He is also a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Membership Committee and serves on the board of the Financial Services Institute.

Outside the financial sector, he serves on the boards of the nonprofit Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation and the local social services organization United Way Suncoast.

Via email, we asked Curtis a series of questions that touched not only on his professional knowledge but also what he does off the clock.

1. What market indicator, industry statistic, regulatory change or advisor trend are you watching most closely right now and why?

Scott Curtis: Among other market indicators, I pay close attention to short- and medium-term interest rates and public and private business valuations. While not always accurate, they typically reflect future economic expectations.

2. How have these figures been changing recently and how do you expect them to change in 2022?

Valuations continue to increase, albeit at a slower pace more recently. With multiple points of evidence reflecting inflationary pressures, perhaps in 2022 interest rates will increase.

3. What would you suggest advisors do now or consider doing in the future about them?

Regarding investments, hopefully advisors are already adhering to the time-tested benefits of appropriately diversifying clients’ holdings and lowering fixed income durations.

It’s not a new idea but the expected rise in interest rates provides a good opportunity to convert clients’ floating rate debt to fixed.

4. Who or what critical source of information do you track or follow online to keep up with this or other trends?

I rely on multiple sources, more of a patchwork, including Raymond James research, CNBC, Apple News and Barron’s (on the weekend).

5. Are you changing any of your work habits at this stage of the pandemic? 

More on this topic

Other than less travel, my work habits largely remained the same as I’ve been working from the office since October 2020. Business-related travel resumed a few months ago, with evidence of COVID vaccine and/or negative test required for most in-person events.

6. What’s your biggest hobby and what was the last event/activity you did related to it?

I enjoy outdoor activities and thankfully, in the Tampa Bay area, COVID didn’t disrupt getting outdoors for running, swimming, boating, fishing or playing golf. I went for a run last night and appreciated Tampa’s beautiful December weather.

7. How about your latest community/charitable activity/event/cause?

The Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy Foundation hosted an annual golf scramble and gala fundraising event a couple weeks ago, followed by the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, and Raymond James’ annual United Way fundraising effort just kicked off with a visit by a few Tampa Bay Buccaneers representatives and the Lombardi trophy.

8. What book are you reading now and why?

“The Code Breaker” by Walter Isaacson. A very interesting read regarding Jennifer Doudna, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for her work (and other scientists’ work) on the CRISPR system of gene editing.

It’s a fascinating look into scientific advancement and the accompanying ethical questions associated with potentially modifying the codes of life.

9. Any special holiday plan, activity or focus you’d like to share as we near year-end? Or a New Year’s resolution that you’ve decided on?

My holiday plans focus on enjoying time with family and friends. For most in our business, we’ve been very fortunate during the past year, while many others in our communities have struggled.

Year-end is a wonderful time to reflect, express gratitude and appreciation, and provide support to those in our communities who are less fortunate and need assistance, in whatever form.

10. Is there any other update or piece of advice you’d like to share with advisors?

Take time during the holiday break to learn something new — work-related or completely unrelated.

(Pictured: Scott Curtis)