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.
Raymond James has a network of 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.
Raymond James Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
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 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
- *except for:
- 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
- *except for:
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.
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|| || ||2.60%||2.25%||2.25%||2.25%|
|$1MM up to $2MM|| || ||2.35%||2.00%||2.00%||2.00%|
|$2MM up to $5MM|| || ||2.10%||1.75%||1.75%||1.75%|
|$5MM up to $10MM|| || ||1.85%||1.50%||1.50%||1.50%|
|$10MM and up|| || ||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.
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.
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.
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