Orlando, Fla. – Raymond James Financial Services CEO Paul Reilly presided over several big changes at the firm this year, including new president Scott Curtis, closing on its $1.2 billion Morgan Keegan acquisition in April and major enhancements to Advisor Access, its client relationship and wealth management platform.

The firm’s underlying culture, however, remains the same, Reilly said during a press briefing in Orlando at the firm’s professional development conference on Wednesday.

“We’re committed to saying, ‘You work in whichever model you think you can best serve your clients,” Reilly said. “You can choose to move back and forth with our blessing.”

That flexibility and independence has a big impact on the company’s source of commissions, according to Reilly. He said independent advisors generate 55% of commissions in the firm’s Private Client Group, which encompasses the firm’s various advisory business models. After the Morgan Keegan acquisition is taken into account, overall revenue from the private client group goes from 65% to 62%, he said.

Raymond James Financial supports five business models that financial advisors can choose from, in one combination or another, to run their businesses. They include the independent contractor division; the employee model; Advisor Select, in which an employee that can pay his or her own overhead; and financial institutions. Raymond James also supports the Investment Advisors division, the RIA-focused division headed by President Bill Van Law.

“We are beefing that up, it will be a good model, and we’re it making more outwardly competitive,” Reilly said.

As Raymond James continues to support a flexible environment for advisors to do business, it is testing an enhanced Advisor Access platform, scheduled for a firm-wide rollout this summer.

New recruits have used the Advisor Access beta model, and have given it high ratings.

“We’re happy about there we are, and we look forward to more,” Reilly said, of the firm’s recruiting efforts. He added that the number of visits to the firm’s home office is almost at the same level as they were in 2008 and 2009.

Overall, Reilly says he will continue to uphold the culture of Raymond James. He added that he learned from executive chairman Tom James that executives can keep corporate cultures alive by drilling into the firm’s employees every day, even when it seems clear that the ways for the firm are set.

“My legacy years from now is for my successor to be onstage, giving the same speech I gave [earlier],” Reilly said.

Donna Mitchell writes for Financial Planning.







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