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Raymond James Review

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Raymond James

Raymond James & Associates, Inc. is a financial services company that serves private clients, corporations, institutions and municipalities. It predominantly works with non-high-net-worth individuals, as the firm does not require a minimum asset amount for its financial planning or consulting services for individuals. However, each of its investing program does generally require a minimum investment, which can be as low as $5,000 or as high as $2 million.

The full-service investment firm currently has a total of $727 billion in client assets under administration. In the firm’s managed programs, there’s approximately $130 billion in assets under management. Raymond James has a network of 7,6000 financial advisors across more than 3,000 locations in the U.S., Canada and internationally. The firm's headquarters is in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Raymond James Background

Raymond James originated in 1962, when founder Bob James incorporated his firm as Robert A. James. Two years later in 1964, Edward Raymond sold his firm, Raymond & Associates, to James, with the stipulation that James change his firm's name to Raymond James & Associates. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. has been public since 1983.

James founded the firm based on the belief that clients needed advice regarding the entirety of their financial situations, not just their investment decisions. The firm says it remains focused on long-term planning and methodical decision-making.

What Types of Clients Does Raymond James Accept?

Raymond James works with a wide range of clients. The firm serves individuals and families. More specifically, the firm says it provides services for affluent families, business owners, corporate executives, athletes, artists, entertainers and people who have come into sudden wealth.

Additionally, the firm works with corporations and institutions. It's capable of providing advisory services to individual retirement accounts (IRAs), banks and thrift institutions, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, state and municipal government entities, pension and profit-sharing plans, investment advisors and business entities.

Raymond James Minimum Account Sizes

Raymond James does not require a minimum amount of assets for its financial planning and consulting services. It does have set minimums required to open or maintain an account, however, and these minimums vary by account type:

  • Raymond James Consulting Services and Eagle High-Net-Worth Separately Managed Account Programs:
    • Equity and balanced accounts: $100,000
    • Fixed income:  $200,000
  • Freedom UMA Program: $300,000*
    • *except for:
      • Conservative balanced, aggressive and global strategies: $600,000
      • Institutional consulting growth, moderate growth and moderate strategies: $2 million
      • Raymond James Multiple Discipline Accounts: $300,0000 for all strategies
      • Raymond James Research Portfolios Programs: $100,0000
  • Outside Manager Program:
    • Equity and balanced accounts: $100,000
    • Fixed income accounts: $200,000
  • Freedom Strategies: $50,000
  • American Funds Models and Russell Strategies: $25,000*
    • *except for:
      • Freedom Retirement Income Solution Strategies: $100,000 
      • Freedom Foundation Strategies: $5,000
      • Ambassador Program: $25,000

Services Offered by Raymond James

Raymond James offers a wide range of services, including:

  • Investment solutions
  • Financial planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Estate, charitable giving and trust services
  • Banking and lending services
  • Insurance solutions
  • Institutional services
  • Private wealth services
  • Tax strategies
  • Education planning

Many of the firm's services are specific to certain types of clients. For instance, for business owners it offers business succession planning, retirement plans and transition plan strategies, while for people who have come into sudden wealth it offers capital markets transaction, sale of real estate or other assets and exercise of stock options.

As reflected by the above account minimums, Raymond James offers a multitude of investment solutions. The firm divides its fee-based programs into two categories: managed and advisory accounts. The managed accounts are managed by either a third-party manager or Raymond James, while the advisory account programs allows clients to retain full investment authority and direct the individual investments made in their account. All of the previously listed programs fall under the managed account category except for the Ambassador Account program, which is an advisory account program. Advisors recommend programs to clients based on their objectives, risk tolerance and current financial situation.

Raymond James Accounts for High-Net-Worth Individuals

Raymond James’ Private Wealth Services program is available for individuals and families with “significant wealth.” In this program, investors are provided direct access to the firm's top professionals and senior leaders, including wealth management consultants, portfolio solutions consultants and product specialists. Additionally, there's the By Invitation Only program, which allows clients to meet one-on-one with firm leaders and experts.

Hiring a Third-Party Manager Through Raymond James

Many of Raymond James' managed account programs are offered through third-party separately managed account (SMA) programs. SMA programs give clients the ability to choose investment management firms to manage their portfolios or provide recommendations in their accounts.

Raymond James will negotiate the management fee owed to SMA managers. Negotiations are typically based on the manager's assets under management in certain Raymond James' programs as well as expected sales and administrative service levels.

Investment Philosophy

Raymond James'  Asset Management Services division offers individual and institutional clients a wide range of portfolio options, which have different investment approaches and risk profiles. Its strategies include large and small cap equity, international equity, fixed income and a wide range of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), used individually or in combination with one another.

The firm recommends programs and strategies to clients based on their investment objectives, financial situations and risk tolerance. Generally, however, it recommends a diversified strategy that incorporates domestic and international equities and fixed income, as well as alternative asset classes like real estate and commodities.

Fees Under Raymond James

Raymond James may charge clients a percentage of assets under management, hourly charges, fixed fees and/or commissions for its investment advisory services. Clients have the option of negotiating either asset-based fee and/or commission rates with their advisor. The firm will aggregate all of a client's fee-based accounts and clients will pay a fee based on that aggregated account value.  

As is the case with the firm’s account minimums, Raymond James’ asset-based fee schedules vary from program to program:

Account value Account types
  Consulting Services & Eagle High-Net-Worth Separately Managed Account Programs Freedom UMA Program Multiple Discipline Account & Research Portfolios Programs Outside Manager Program Freedom, American Funds & Russell Model Strategies Program Ambassador Program
Up to $1MM
  • Equity, Balanced & ETF: 2.75%
  • Fixed Income: 2.55%
  • Laddered Bonds & Short-Term Conservative: 2.45% 
  • All Strategies Except Institutional: 2.60%
  • Institutional Strategies: 2.50%
2.60% 2.25% 2.25% 2.25%
$1MM up to $2MM
  • Equity, Balanced & ETF: 2.50%
  • Fixed Income: 2.30%
  • Laddered Bonds & Short-Term Conservative: 2.20% 
  • All Strategies Except Institutional: 2.35%
  • Institutional Strategies: 2.25%
2.35% 2.00% 2.00% 2.00%
$2MM up to $5MM
  • Equity, Balanced & ETF: 2.25%
  • Fixed Income: 2.05%
  • Laddered Bonds & Short-Term Conservative: 1.95% 
  • All Strategies Except Institutional: 2.10%
  • Institutional Strategies: 2.00%
2.10% 1.75% 1.75% 1.75%
$5MM up to $10MM
  • Equity, Balanced & ETF: 2.00%
  • Fixed Income: 1.80%
  • Laddered Bonds & Short-Term Conservative: 1.70% 
  • All Strategies Except Institutional: 1.85%
  • Institutional Strategies: 1.75%
1.85% 1.50% 1.50% 1.50%
$10MM and up
  • Equity, Balanced & ETF: 1.75%
  • Fixed Income: 1.55%
  • Laddered Bonds & Short-Term Conservative: 1.45% 
  • All Strategies Except Institutional: 1.60%
  • Institutional Strategies: 1.50%
1.60% 1.25% 1.25% 1.25%

Clients may pay additional fees outside of Raymond James' set asset-based advisory fee. These fees may include safekeeping fees, charges/interest for maintenance and/or short positions and fees for legal or courtesy transfers of securities. Clients will also incur management and operating expenses for funds.

To get a sense of how Raymond James’ fees compare to those of some of its competitors, take a look at the below. All of the figures listed are estimates and may vary depending on various factors. Remember, clients may also pay outside fees.

Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Raymond James** National Median Advisory Fees***
$500K $13,000 $5,000
$1MM $26,000 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $92,500 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $160,000 $50,000
*Fee estimates only consider the maximum base fees for the services each firm provides. You may also pay manager fees and other fees, which can vary in amount.**Fee rates apply to Raymond James Multiple Discipline Accounts and Raymond James Research Portfolios Program.***All figures are based on median fee levels according to Bob Veres' 2017 Planning Profession Fee Survey. The above estimates solely take into account AUM-only fees. Total costs will likely be higher due to additional expenses.

Raymond James Awards and Recognition

Raymond James has been the recipient of a number of accolades and awards throughout its decades in business. Most recently in 2018, 124 Raymond James-affiliated advisors were named to Forbes' best-in-state wealth advisors list, while six advisors were named to On Wall Street's list of the top 25 regional advisors under 40.

In 2017, Raymond James was honored by 17 awards throughout the year, with advisors named to Barron's top women financial advisors list, Financial Times’ top 400 financial advisors list and InvestmentNews' top 40 under 40 list. Previous years have garnered similarly impressive numbers of awards.

What to Watch out For

As indicated by the above fees section, Raymond James' fee structure is far from simple. On the flip side, the extensive fee table also illustrates how many advisory program options clients have to choose from. If you decide to become a client, just be sure you fully understand what fees you will be paying, including those that are charged in addition to asset-based fees. Raymond James notes that the asset-based fee that clients pay for its advisory programs may be allocated differently depending on the program, which may disincentivize advisors to recommend certain programs to clients with smaller accounts. 

The firm has also been embroiled in several fee-related allegations. These disclosures are described in further detail below.

Disclosures

Raymond James does have disclosures, including some serious allegations by  the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Recently, in May 2016, FINRA fined Raymond James $17 million for compliance failures in its anti-money laundering programs.

The firm has also faced fee-related charges. In 2015, Raymond James was one of three firms, alongside Wells Fargo and LPL Financial, that was ordered to pay more than $30 million for failing to waive mutual fund sales charges for certain charitable organizations and retirement accounts. A few years prior to that, in 2011, FINRA ordered the firm to pay more than $2 million in restitution after it was alleged that the firm had charged excessive commissions for trades in almost 16,000 accounts.

Though disclosures aren’t uncommon for massive wealth management firms like Raymond James, it is always crucial to do your homework and ask questions.

Opening an Account With Raymond James

To find a Raymond James advisor near you, simply go to the firm's website and click on the “Find  Advisor” button on the far right of the screen. You can then enter your zip code or the last name of a specific advisor into the search bar. The results will show you all of the advisors within a specified radius, which can be adjusted. From there, you can view each advisor or branch's website and reach out using the contact information provided. 

To establish a managed account with Raymond James, investors must fully fund the account to the required minimum account level and submit all account opening paperwork and documentation. A client must also sign an investment management agreement. The firm will not consider an account to be managed until all of the above is completed and processed. 

Once you've established your account, you and your advisor will have a conversation about your needs, concerns, objectives, family and values. Based on that information, you will develop a comprehensive financial plan. The firm will collaborate with your other professionals, such as your attorney and accountant. You can access your latest account information online through Investor Access.

Where Is Raymond James Located?

Raymond James is headquartered in  St. Petersburg, Florida, a city in the Tampa Bay area that’s located along Florida's gulf coast. That's just one of the firm's more than 3,000 locations across the U.S., Canada and internationally.

Tips for Finding a Qualified Financial Advisor

  • Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.  
  • Once you’ve narrowed it down, carefully examine your options. You should interview more than one financial advisor. Be sure to ask about each advisor’s fee structure, investment approach and certifications.

How Many Years $1 Million Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Least
Most
Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research