Other advisory services executives may be targeting advisor growth -- but Raymond James Financial Services president Scott Curtis thinks differently about expansion.

“When I think about growth, I think about assets,” Curtis said at a meeting with editors from Financial Planning. “I’m focused on growing that number.”

The Raymond James division that works with independent advisors and broker-dealers currently has $170 billion in assets under administration, he says -- up “double digits” from a year ago. “Each year we try to grow assets at least 10%,” he said, “although that gets harder, of course, the bigger you get.”

FOCUS ON RETENTION

The division’s growth strategy centers on retention, boosting advisor productivity and recruiting, Curtis said. Of those, retaining advisors is the “highest priority,” Curtis emphasizes.

“If I lose a $100 million producer, it’s like water draining out of a bathtub while the spigot is open," he says. "We want to position ourselves so people don’t want to leave.”

To make sure that doesn’t happen, Curtis said Raymond James strives to stay competitive in key areas such as technology platforms, pricing, investment options and communication with advisors.

To boost productivity, the company works with advisors on client acquisition and greater share of wallet, Curtis says. The division provides its advisors with educational services, as well as help with client goal planning and monitoring, and ways to identify other assets that may be available from existing clients, he adds.

And when it comes to recruiting new advisors, Curtis says, quality trumps quantity for the division, which currently has over 3,200 advisors in 50 states. “I’m looking for high-quality advisors wherever I can find them,” he said. “We expect to grow slightly, but that’s not the number we’re focused on.”

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