Private Client Group
Industry-leading retention of current advisors, strong productivity and record recruiting – boosted by positive equity markets and higher short-term interest rates – combined to drive Private Client Group client assets under administration up 15% to $755.7 billion as of the end of fiscal year 2018.
KEY PERFORMANCE DRIVERS
- Record recruiting of high-quality advisors
- Limited attrition of existing advisors
- High advisor productivity
- Positive equity markets and rising interest rates
- Regulatory changes and expectations
- Rising technology expenses, especially related to strengthening cybersecurity protections and enhancing mobile device access capabilities for advisors and their clients
- Trends toward index investing and “robo advice” models
Enacting leadership succession plans
Following an April announcement that Raymond James Financial Chief Operating Officer Dennis Zank, who also led the Private Client Group, would step down at the end of the fiscal year, Scott Curtis was named head of the firm’s domestic Private Client Group businesses. Scott was previously president of Raymond James Financial Services (RJFS), the firm’s independent advisor business. In addition, Tash Elwyn was named president and CEO of Raymond James & Associates (RJA), adding regulatory oversight and reporting responsibilities for RJA’s broker/dealer activities, while continuing his leadership of employee financial advisors and branch associates. Finally, Jodi Perry, former national director for the Independent Contractor Division of RJFS, was named president of that division and promoted to the firm’s Executive Committee, and President of Alex. Brown Haig Ariyan’s role was expanded to include leadership of the firm’s Investment and Wealth Solutions departments. These appointments reflect a strong succession planning discipline that has allowed for effective senior leadership transitions.
Enhancing products and services for advisors and their clients
As the financial services and wealth management landscape continues to evolve, firms and advisors must adapt to meet the needs of clients. The Private Client Group, with support from all areas of Raymond James, continues adapting to changes and facilitating thoughtful, pragmatic progress to ensure advisors and their clients receive best-in-class support and service. One example is the unique longevity planning solutions the firm introduced this year. By combining education and planning tools with key external partnerships, the firm is helping advisors guide and assist clients through the challenges associated with longer retirements, covering not only “expected” areas such as financial and estate planning, but also wellness planning and risk management – including protection against elder fraud.
Responding to an evolving regulatory environment
The challenges of an ever-changing regulatory environment continued in 2018. The firm rolled back certain changes implemented to comply with the now-vacated Department of Labor fiduciary rule, while keeping a watchful eye on the widely anticipated SEC’s best interest rule, which will likely require a uniform standard of care for all clients – an approach well-aligned with the firm’s client-first philosophy. Meanwhile, the Private Client Group made significant investments in enhancing risk management resources – continuing to add experienced associates, train financial advisors, and improve oversight systems and processes to ensure effective support and protection of advisors, their clients and the firm, now and in the future.
A constantly shifting environment influenced by macroeconomic trends, the potential for market volatility, changing advisor and client demographics and an ever-evolving technology landscape requires thoughtful adaptation and continuous improvement. The Private Client Group is well-positioned to continue to evolve as an industry leader, leveraging expertise and resources from the firm’s support teams and business units to provide best-in-class products and services within the client-centric culture that has been the firm’s core since the beginning.