The growth of the firm continued in 2019 – guided by the belief that what makes us different as people makes us better as professionals.
Doina Pinto, Barbara Boccuto and Katherine Reisfeld of Rhinebeck Wealth Advisors are one of many teams across the country who found the right fit at Raymond James.
“There was a time when we would not have considered working anywhere but at a major wirehouse. But as times changed and the big firms got too big and smaller firms offered more, we began looking for a ‘Goldilocks’ firm. One of the things we kept hearing about was the culture at Raymond James. It’s a hard thing to articulate, but when we visited the home office we finally got a feel for what it meant.”
That’s what Katherine Reisfeld of Rhinebeck Wealth Advisors said of her team’s decision to affiliate with Raymond James in 2018. It’s a sentiment shared by numerous advisors, whether they’ve spent their careers here or have only paid one visit: culture. It’s been the force driving the growth of Raymond James since our founding in 1962, drawing professionals who are attracted to the firm’s people-focused mission.
That trend continued in 2019 as our Private Client Group continued to retain and attract high-quality financial advisors.
Retention of top advisors remained strong, as always, while recruiting momentum rebounded from a slow start to finish with our second-best year for recruited production. We grew total financial advisor headcount by 2.5% in fiscal 2019 to reach a record number of advisors – with more than half of that growth occurring in the fourth quarter alone.
This continued expansion was also measured in geography and scale as we welcomed new teams and individual advisors across the country – with significant success in the Northeast and West – as well as two groups each managing approximately $1 billion in assets. We also reinforced our commitment to the Registered Investment Advisor model with the appointment of industry veteran Greg Bruce to lead our Investment Advisors Division.
Growth in 2019 also came in the form of strategic hires across businesses that have been a source of strength and fresh opportunity for the firm.
Raymond James Equity Capital Markets hired several investment bankers, expanding its presence in Europe and New York, as well as in key industries including diversified industrials, specialty finance and healthcare.
Public Finance built on its momentum in the Midwest, Mountain States and West Coast with hires that bolstered its education and local government practices.
The firm also deepened the expertise of its equity research team with the addition of consumer and healthcare policy analysts and an institutional equity strategist.
All of this growth was supported – and inspired – by a reinvigorated effort to build something the financial services industry has notoriously lacked: diversity.
“A basic principle of finance is to diversify to optimize potential. In order to leverage our associates’ unique perspectives, we should be applying a similar principle to our human capital,” said Pedro Suriel, who now leads the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts alongside Renée Baker, head of Advisor Inclusion Networks. Added Renée, “Demographics are changing, and clients’ needs are as diverse as they are. When we can understand their cultural norms and needs, it only makes us better.”
The belief is echoed across every level of the firm. In his session at the Private Client Group’s Women’s Symposium, hosted annually by Raymond James for 25 years, CEO Paul Reilly put it in mathematical terms. “We’ve been gaining ground – women and minorities accounted for about one-third of the participants in our Advisor Mastery Program over the past year. But how do we do better? How do we get to 50% to reflect the overall population?”
In total, 2019 was another year in which we approached growth as thoughtfully and responsibly as we always have, with an eye toward building for the future even as we stay grounded in the values that have guided us throughout our history.
“We’re committed to ensuring our businesses and our strategy remain aligned with our cultural imperatives,” said Chris Aisenbrey, chief human resources officer. “In doing so we will ensure we continue to attract the best talent to every area of our firm.”