Raymond James ready to acquire more advisors

By Suzanne Sharma | June 22, 2016 | Last updated on June 22, 2016
3 min read

Raymond James’s recent acquisition of 3Macs isn’t deterring the advisory firm from additional opportunities.

In fact, Richard Rousseau, EVP Wealth Management at Raymond James, says the firm is always looking to add more advisors to its growing team.

“We’ve actually invested quite a bit in our business development team,” he says. “We have a senior VP who supervises a group […that is] actively trying to build a recruiting network. That team is there to recruit advisors specifically from the banks.”

Why target banks? Rousseau foresees more restructuring within their branches, which will offer additional opportunities.

“There are many different competing channels trying to do wealth management with the investing public, whether it be robo advice, private banking services [or] financial planners at the branch level in the MFDA world.

“The advantage that we have is that we have none of those other competitive channels. The only way a client can deal with Raymond James is through one of our independent investment advisors. Our only business model is to support advisors that are working on behalf of their clients.”

Read: BMO bleeding brokers

And the firm’s initiatives to add advisors seem to be working. By the end of June, there will be 23 new advisors joining Raymond James. Twelve are former ScotiaMcLeod advisors, each of whom has between $70 million and $120 million in assets.

In addition to the 72 3Macs advisors who joined the firm last month (Rousseau says the firm plans to retain 100% of them), that takes the total number of Raymond James advisors to 465. And the firm has been managing about $33.2 billion in total assets since these deals, says Rousseau.

Read: Manulife Securities ramps up hiring as banks restructure

What is the firm looking for when it comes to acquisitions? Strong cultural fit, like the 3Macs deal. Specifically speaking to that, he says it was a market Raymond James had been trying to “develop for several years now.”

Rousseau adds, “We’ve invested a lot of money in developing our francophone abilities. And for us to be able to partner up with one of the oldest firms in the country and establish a solid presence not just in Montreal, but also in Quebec City, is very much in line with what our strategic plan was.”

CSA proposals

Regulatory proposals like CSA’s best interest standard and targeted reforms are positive, says Rousseau.

“On titles and designations, we’ve struggled with that just to try to remain competitive,” he notes, pointing to the ScotiaMcLeod hiring as an example. He says there were conflicting advisor titles between ScotiaMcLeod and Raymond James. “So, it becomes confusing to the investing public.”

As a result, Rousseau is “supportive of more prescriptive use so that people know what type of an individual they’re dealing with.”

Meanwhile, he says the firm has been working towards suitability, relationship disclosures and proficiency. “These are not new things.”

And due to their efforts, Raymond James received only 18 client complaints last year, which he says is “ridiculously low.” In 2014, the firm received 40 complaints. Rousseau credits the firm’s strict compliance regime, as well as risk rating models, which were implemented in 2015. The models help advisors better explain risk factors to clients.

“You’re acting on behalf of your client,” he says. “That’s the relationship that our advisors have. There are no quotas related to selling. There are no proprietary products that put the advisors in any kind of conflict of interest.”

Suzanne Sharma