But what Wilson is in for today will be a workout of a different kind. Wilson will meet directly with executives from all sides of Raymond James's business, including wealth management, asset management and equity research. And his investment portfolio will be put through the paces to see how the planning for all of his investments-income tax, estate and retirement, as well as risk management-can be pushed forward even more. He will even get a tour of the firm's extensive art collection.
Accompanying Wilson is his long-time advisor, Charles Nemes, senior vice president of investments at Raymond James, who has flown in from Novi, Mich., where his practice, Nemes Rush Private Wealth Management, is based.
The visit is part of Raymond James's exclusive "By Invitation Only" program that allows its financial advisor force to invite select clients with at least $1.5 million in investable assets to a visit to the firm's home office. It is here that clients get to meet directly with the executives behind Raymond James's various departments.
The experience is aimed at strengthening client's ties to their advisor and trust in the firm, which is the purpose of Wilson's visit today. Other visits are centered around an inflection point in a client's life-such as retirement, divorce or sale of a business-that will change their financial situation. Advisors may also invite certified public accountants or attorneys they may partner with on a BIO visit.
The visits also are aimed at instilling the confidence that leads to new clients moving to the firm with new advisor hires, existing clients transferring more assets to the firm and both clients and professionals making more referrals to the firm's advisors.
And the program, which began in 1988, shows no signs of slowing down. In the past five months, Raymond James has redesigned the space devoted to the BIO program to enable more visits on the same day. The visits are organized by BIO Visit Coordinator Debbie Hunting, who works with a team of six wealth management consultants. The firm has also recently opened its BIO program to its newly acquired advisory force at Raymond James-Morgan Keegan.
The result has been a surge in participation in the program. The total BIO visits for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 are expected to reach 220, with the last two quarters seeing a 30% jump in visits from the same period one year ago. On average, the firm sees more than 200 visits on a year over year basis, according to Raymond James.
"Our philosophy is we see the advisor as our client," says Patrick O'Connor, senior vice president of Wealth Management Solutions at Raymond James, which includes the BIO program. "If it's worth the advisor's time as our client, and their client agrees to come, it's worth everyone's time in the home office to support that relationship."
Where the Tour Begins
The advisor-client relationship between Nemes and Wilson traces back to even before Nemes began his career as a financial advisor. Prior to starting his advisory career at Merrill Lynch in 1987, Nemes was a CPA. Wilson's father, Bruce O. Wilson, a well-known attorney in Michigan, hired Nemes for expert testimony in a case.
So when Nemes began his career as a financial advisor , he called Bruce Wilson to let him know what he was doing and asked him to pass his name along if he knew anyone who needed his services. "'Clients nothing. I'll be over tomorrow,'" Nemes remembers Bruce Wilson saying in response. The family became one of Nemes's first clients, and stayed with him when he moved to Raymond James at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 following 20 years at Merrill Lynch.
Both Nemes and Stephen Wilson remember Bruce as a man who was "bigger than life." After Bruce Wilson passed away 10 years ago, his son received several calls from people who his father had provided pro bono legal services to in times of need.
Bruce Wilson also didn't differentiate between anyone because of class, Nemes recalls. "They had a hunting place up North, and he would invite the guy who ran the gas station, who would be right next to a Supreme Court judge, and all three would be hunting together," Nemes says. "He was friends with all and to all."
Today, Nemes also works with Bruce Wilson's widowed wife and daughter. Stephen was in college when his father first started working with Nemes, and since then his career has made several transitions. After graduating with degrees in criminal justice and teaching, Wilson became a football coach. But at the age of 29, Wilson realized he had never fully realized his wrestling dream.