Raymond James's wealth management profits rose 6% year-over-year while its advisor force expanded to a record 6,507.

The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based firm added 123 advisors during the recent quarter. Headcount was up 256 year-over-year, about a 4% increase.

"We're in the right place at the right time. We have the products and technology for the high-end advisors joining us, and we have a culture that they like," CEO Paul Reilly said during a conference call with analysts.

The growth occurred across channels: Raymond James' independent network grew by 65 advisors to reach 3,487 while the employee side added 45 advisors to reach 2,541.

Reilly said that the firm has not changed its recruiting package despite an aggressive competition for new recruits. He notes that he's "well aware we are below the Street" in terms of a deal.

"It doesn't mean that we don't lose some teams that we would like to have. Some of those checks are awfully big. But there are still people who like [our] deal and are coming," Reilly says, attributing the firm's current recruiting successes to upgrades in its technology and product platform as well as its culture.

Pointing to what he says are strong retention rates, Reilly said, "our existing advisors who have been here for a long time create our culture and help us attract new advisors."


Raymond James' Private Client Group, which contains both the independent and employee channels, reported that pretax income rose to $86.4 million from $81.5 million.

Assets under administration grew 5% year-over-year to reach $475 billion. Assets in fee-based accounts grew at a faster clip, 11%, rising to $186 billion.

Reilly told analysts that it takes a few months for new recruits to bring over their clients' assets, and that they usually have grown past that after a year or two.

Companywide, Raymond James said profits grew 9% year-over-year, rising to $133.2 million. Revenue also rose 9% to $1.3 billion.

Total non-interest expenses climbed 8% to $1.1 billion. The firm's largest expense continued to be compensation, commissions and benefits, which grew 9%, rising to $901 million.

Earnings per share rose to 93 cents from 87 cents.

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