ORLANDO, Fla. -- Banks will have a more difficult time recruiting advisors in the future.  That's just one conclusion that came from the Raymond James Financial Institutions Division Symposium this week.

"There aren’t enough people going into the industry to replace those who retire,” Scott Curtis, president of Raymond James Financial Services, told some 200 program managers and bank advisors at the event in Orlando.

In addition to an advisor shortage, bank wealth management businesses will contend with the challenge of keeping up with technology and client expectations regarding communication practices, Curtis and other senior executives of Raymond James said. While Raymond James Financial Services has made great strides in modernizing legacy systems and technology, it needs to take what it’s done “to the next level,” Curtis said.

The firm last year rolled out new financial planning software – called Goal Planning & Monitoring – that it says has helped advisors serve their clients and gather more of their assets by presenting clients’ financial information in a holistic way. To date, GPM has helped advisors uncover more than $20 billion in potential new assets, according to Josh Bohlander, vice president of Advisor Technology at Raymond James.

Nevertheless, more work is needed, Curtis said. The firm plans to upgrade the GPM tool so that advisors no longer need to manually input client assets held away from Raymond James.  Plans are in the works to bring in that information on a “more automated basis,” Curtis said. 

Chet Helck, CEO of the Global Private Client Group at Raymond James, credited the acquisition of Morgan Keegan for some of the technology innovation, particularly in the area of client reporting. He noted that reports are easy to access, print and are constantly updated and integrated. 

“All that stuff was the direct result of some infrastructure Morgan Keegan brought with them,” Helck said.

Helck noted other benefits of the Morgan Keegan acquisition, such as its expertise in institutional fixed income, which helps financial institutions manage their own balance sheets.

Helck and Curtis also discussed the possibility of paying advisors monthly, rather than quarterly, a contentious issue that has advisors divided. “There’s a mixed set of opinions,” Helck told the audience.

While the firm would love to pay advisors monthly, many advisors are not in favor of it because they want to be paid as soon as the firm charges the client, Helck said. Raymond James Financial Services bills advisory clients quarterly in advance.

Ideally, the firm would like to give advisors “a la carte choice,” but the technology has not yet been developed to make that an option.

Which way the firm will go in terms of monthly or quarterly advisor paychecks for advisory fees is up in the air. “We haven’t come to a strong enough consensus in one direction or the other,” Helck said.

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