As Raymond James Financial Chief Executive Paul Reilly looks to the future, he sees more diversity in the firm’s workforce, particularly when it comes to female and younger financial advisors.

And that force will come from efforts the firm is making now, Reilly said in an interview at the firm’s Women’s Symposium on Friday, starting with the firm’s new changes it has made to its new advisor training program this year.

Those changes include a new emphasis on a combination of on site branch training, online education and large group lessons in the firm’s Saint Petersburg, Fla., headquarters, Reilly said.

Those efforts are aimed at beating the industry rate of survival for new trainees, where just one-third of new trainees typically last five years. And those changes may encourage more diversity in the firm’s financial advisor ranks, particularly when it comes to female and young professionals.

“You just have to get through a long rejection period, and it takes awhile to build up,” Reilly said. “But getting people to get through that frustrating part of building assets is frustrating, once you’re there, it’s a great business.”

Raymond James has typically targeted more of a personality profile in its hiring efforts, Reilly said. But the firm is also making sure it ushers in more diversity for professionals starting their careers so that they ultimately broaden the pool of candidates to someday consider for its upper ranks.

Reilly noted that Raymond James now has two women on its board, two women in its executive ranks and has promoted a number of female regional leaders. At the same time, the firm is also working to encourage diversity in other areas through employee resource groups including African American and Hispanic professionals.

“It’s going to take time to get them through the system, but we’re committed to it,” Reilly said. 

The efforts come as younger advisors coming into the business stand to benefit from retiring advisors who are looking to pass on their assets.

“There’s going to be a lot of movement, and if you can build or differentiate your book when that happens, you stand a great opportunity to get a lot of clients,” Reilly said. “I think it’s great for young advisors, but it’s hard to get them in right now, because it’s a hard road.”

Raymond James has also benefited from its acquisition of Morgan Keegan’s brokerage business earlier this year, Reilly said, and the more apprenticeship model Morgan Keegan had to its trainees. The firm has since appointed Morgan Keegan’s head of training to lead its own training efforts.

Completing the transition for the acquisition will be a major focus for the firm this fiscal year, which began in October, Reilly said.

“People ask me what the next big step was going to be, and I said to go back to our boring 10% to 15% growth and then just get better every year,” Reilly said of the firm’s post acquisition goals. “We don’t have this strategy that we’re trying to be the biggest firm … If we find niche acquisitions, as we have in the past, we’ll add them.” 


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