Cost Controls Boost Wealth Profits 10% at Raymond James

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Pretax profits for Raymond James' Private Client Group rose 10% year-over-year, boosted in part by cost controls, the firm said.

That discipline on expenses proved necessary during a quarter in which revenue grew a mere 1% year-over-year for the wealth management unit, according to the firm, which reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

CEO Paul Reilly said in a statement that given market challenges in recent months, the firm was pleased with the results, "which reinforce the value of our diversified business model and long-term focus on serving our clients."

Other wealth management firms have reported slumping revenues for the start of 2016.  Morgan Stanley, which issued its earnings release earlier this week, said that wealth management revenues declined 4% year-over-year. CEO James Gorman attributed the drop in revenues to lower commissions and fees.

Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch also reported declining revenues last week, down 3% and 2.6% respectively.


Reilly said he anticipated stronger growth later this year due in part to additional recruiting as well as the planned acquisition of Deutsche Bank's U.S. Private Client Services unit.

The advisor ranks increased modestly across the firm's employee and independent channels, rising to 6,765 from 6,687 for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2015.

Pretax profits for Raymond James' Private Client Group rose to $82.2 million from $75.4 million for the year ago period. Total revenues for the unit increased to $883 million from $873.6 million.

Client asset growth was also modest, increasing 3% year-over-year to $485.6 billion.

Overall, the company reported net income of $125 million, up 11% year-over-year, and earnings per share of 89 cents, up from 79 cents for the year ago period.

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