Founded in 1962, Florida-based Raymond James Financial
(RJF) is one of the largest financial services firms in the U.S.,
with 2,300 offices around the world. RJF subsidiary Raymond
James & Associates is the largest full-service investment firm
and New York Stock Exchange member headquartered in the
Southeast. Its business falls into four core areas. The
private client group offers securities transaction, investment
advisory and financial planning services to approximately 1.9
million client accounts. It operates through subsidiaries
Raymond James & Associates (RJA) and Raymond James Financial
Services (RJFS) in the U.S. In Canada, it's known as Raymond
James Ltd., and in the U.K., it is Raymond James Investment
Services. The private client group consists of more than
5,300 financial advisors.
The equity and fixed income capital markets group includes
institutional sales, investment banking, syndicate, equity
research, equity and fixed income trading and public finance.
It also provides research on more than 600 companies and
market-making in 330 common stocks, as well as bond trading.
And its research group is well regarded on the Street.
RJF's professional asset management division includes
proprietary asset management operations, internally sponsored
mutual funds, nonaffiliated private account portfolio management
alternatives and several nondiscretionary fee-based programs.
As of mid-2010, assets under management totaled nearly $30
billion. The asset management group also includes personal
trust services and two private equity funds. Finally, the
Raymond James Bank is a federally chartered savings bank providing
loans and deposit accounts to clients of the firm's broker-dealer
From thrift to commercial
In September 2008, The bank announced its intention to
change from a thrift to a commercial bank. The company issued
a statement declaring that the move had been part in the works for
years. "For some time, the Raymond James Financial board has
been concerned about the limitations associated with Raymond James
Bank's thrift status, leading to alternative charter
considerations," the firm said in a statement. "The move
would permit a higher proportion of corporate lending, which has
historically been more profitable and bears less interest rate
risk," it said. Overall, the firm said, "the switch will have
little impact on the firm's overall operations and organizational
The announcement followed Goldman Sachs' and Morgan Stanley's
announcements that they, too, would change become bank holding
companies. But then-Raymond James CEO Tom James emphasized
that the spirit of these transformations "are more form than
substance." He also sought to put distance between his firm
and the other, troubled banks that had made the switch.
At Raymond James Financial, customer service is a No. 1
priority. In practice, this means that financial advisors are
given a certain degree of autonomy in their dealings with
clients. As Raymond James Chairman Thomas James has put it,
good customer service can't come from "automatons who only read
scripts provided by the home office." For his leadership,
Thomas James won the 2008 entrepreneur of the year award presented
by Ernst & Young (James was CEO of RJF back then; in May 2010,
he passed on the baton to current CEO Paul Reilly).
RJF's philosophy extends to its community, and many Floridians
know it as a major supporter of local arts, sporting events and
charities. The firm sponsors the Raymond James Gasparilla
Festival of the Arts, an arts and crafts festival that has been
held in downtown Tampa since 1971. The RJF main campus in St.
Petersburg is also home to over 1,800 works of art, almost all of
which are owned by CEO Tom James and his family. It is
considered one of the largest private art collections in the
Southeast. In addition, Super Bowl XLIII was played in the
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. According to Joyce
Julius & Associates, a research company, the hubbub leading up
to and during the Super Bowl granted Raymond James an estimated
$37.3 million worth of media exposure. That included pre-game
mentions of the stadium's name and references to it in print-media
for the two weeks prior to the game, Reuters reported.