Raymond James Financial Services has tapped a company veteran to serve as a director overseeing the No. 3 independent broker-dealer’s five regions.

Jodi Perry, who has worked at the company for 24 years and previously served as southeastern regional director, took over May 1 as the national director of the independent contractor division, a newly created position, according to the St. Petersburg, Florida-based firm.

Raymond James’ first-quarter earnings showed records in pre-tax profits ($157.6 million), net revenue ($1.27 billion) and headcount (7,604) in the private client group, which includes its IBD and its employee brokerage. The IBD’s 4,551 advisors make up about 60% of total headcount.

Raymond James advisor headcount

Analyst Ann Dai of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods raised the firm’s estimated earnings per share and the target price of its stock after the earnings report. Raymond James is seeking to keep up its momentum by hiring a company veteran to lead the IBD’s advisors, says Dennis Gallant, president of GDC Research.

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“It’s a challenging marketplace. There’s more pressure with regard to adding value and demonstrating value with clients,” Gallant says. “They have lots of choice. The advisors in this marketplace are very sought after. The firms just have to continue maintaining that level of support and service.”

Raymond James is currently searching for a replacement to fill Perry’s former regional director position, as well as candidates for two high-level roles after other executives recently announced their departures.

Dennis Zank, the COO of Raymond James and longtime CEO of its employee brokerage, announced in April that he will retire later this year. A month earlier, Bill Van Law, head of Raymond James’ RIA services, left the company to “to pursue other personal and professional interests,” the company said.

The firm has started interviewing candidates for Van Law’s position, Raymond James spokeswoman Shereen McCall said in an email.

Jodi Perry, Raymond James
Jodi Perry took over May 1 as the national director of the independent contractor division at Raymond James Financial Services.

Also in March, the IBD tapped two recruiters with prior tenures at Ameriprise and LPL Financial, respectively, for positions in its western region. Brent Randol supports recruiting efforts in Northern California and part of Nevada, while Rollin Ellis operates out of the Pacific Northwest.

In her new role, Perry now reports to Scott Curtis, president of the IBD, while managing the five regions within the independent contractor division. That division includes all of the firm’s IBD advisors except for those based at banks and credit unions. Perry started at Raymond James as an operations assistant in 1994.

She released a statement saying she was honored and excited by the appointment, noting it had been a pleasure working with the firm’s independent advisors in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The growth of the independent contractor division prompted the IBD to create the new national director position as Curtis takes on additional responsibilities, McCall says. The five regional directors had earlier reported to him.

In a statement, Curtis called Perry “a natural fit” for the new post.

“We look forward to continuing Raymond James Financial Services' long history of successfully supporting and attracting high quality, client-first focused independent financial advisors under Jodi’s leadership as national director,” Curtis said. “She has been influential in expanding RJFS’ presence in the Southeast and providing exceptional support for financial advisors in her region.”

KBW has boosted its estimate of Raymond James’ EPS by 10 cents to $6.74 for fiscal year 2018 and by 29 cents to $7.68 for 2019, according to Dai’s April 26 note. The stock’s value stands at around $86 per share, but KBW’s higher price target forecasts it to go as high as $112.

“In our view, RJF is well-positioned to capitalize on growth trends within the brokerage business and has significant sensitivity to higher rates,” Dai wrote. “We continue to believe the stock offers a compelling value at the current price and reiterate our outperform rating.”

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger is an associate editor for Financial Planning, On Wall Street & Bank Investment Consultant.