© 2020 Arizent. All rights reserved.

As wirehouses shed advisors, Raymond James hits record 8,060 headcount

Register now

The advisor ranks at Raymond James just keep on growing.

The firm hit a record headcount figure: 8,060 independent and employee advisors — a net increase of 245 from the year-ago period, according to the company’s latest earnings report.

CEO Paul Reilly anticipates more and bigger new hires in 2020.

The firm is “attracting some very large practices,” particularly in the $1 million to $5 million producer range, Reilly told analysts Thursday.

Raymond James’ headcount has been expanding in recent years, even as some of its larger rivals have been shedding advisors.

Morgan Stanley reported earlier this month that headcount ticked down to 15,468 advisors from 15,694, representing a 1% year-over-year decline.

Wells Fargo’s advisor ranks dropped a net 456 year-over-year, slipping to 13,512 from 13,968, according to the bank’s earnings report.

While some wirehouse advisors have left the business or retired, many have found new homes at regional broker-dealers, drawn to these smaller competitors for what they deem to be more flexible work environments.

Reilly said many of his firm’s new recruits have come from the wirehouses.

Attracting top talent can be costly. Advisor compensation and benefits at Raymond James rose 7% year-over-year to reach $857 million, according to the company. Reilly assured analysts that the firm’s strategy was critical to ensuring long-term success.

“We’re also adding support at the branches and home offices,” Reilly told analysts. “We’re paying internal and external recruiters. We’re also paying for ACAT transfers. Growth is expensive, but we believe it will result in a very good long-term benefit for shareholders.”

The firm is already seeing those benefits. Robust recruiting helped boost client assets to a new record for the company’s private client group: $855 billion, up 24% year-over-year. Fee-based assets were up 31%, reaching $444 billion.

Companywide, net revenue rose 4% to $2 billion and net income increased 8% to a record $268 million.

“I’m quite pleased with our results,” Reilly said.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.