NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With quarterly profits up 46%, Raymond James is growing fast. But can the firm maintain what executives say is its greatest asset?

"Our culture is what sets us apart. We believe it's our strategic difference. Wall Street size, but Main Street values. That's why people stay. That's why our recruiting is so strong," says CEO Paul Reilly.

As Raymond James aims to grow market share, particularly on the West Coast and in the Northeast, the regional firm is working to maintain what executives call its intimate culture and small feel for a growing advisor force.

But executives also acknowledge that growth is imperative for the company. "When you're not growing, people don't feel excited about the company. Regional growth is a big positive for any business," Reilly notes.

That said, he doesn’t see the firm as a wirehouse competitor. "We're not looking to compete in size with the wirehouses, and certainly not in attitude."

Reilly cites one important difference in recruiting strategies: "We don't pay people as much in transition assistance. We want people to come here for the right reasons."

In striving to maintain the regional firm culture while pursing growth, Tash Elwyn, president of Raymond James & Associates, points to a recent town hall event for advisors to speak directly with executives.

This year's summer development conference, an event at which children were welcome, included a kid's movie night, a group family outing to a water park, a country music band and "family" style breakfasts and lunches.

"We recognize that what makes Raymond James so unique and our greatest competitive advantage is our ability to stay small. That is our focus from the time we wake up until we go to bed every day," he said.

That culture, combined with the firm's burgeoning size, is also critical in recruiting new advisors, Elwyn argues. "They want Wall Street resources, but they want a regional culture."

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