Raymond James & Associates Review 2020

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Updated on Thursday, January 9, 2020

Raymond James & Associates, Inc. offers a full menu of financial planning and investment management services. The firm is based in St. Petersburg, Fla., but it has offices across the country. Its largest client group is individual investors, though the firm also serves a large number of institutional investors, and its comparatively low account minimums for its investing programs make it accessible for a wider range of investors.

All information included in this profile is accurate as of December 30th, 2019. For more information, please consult Raymond James & Associates website.

Assets under management: $203,946,597,149
Minimum investment: $5,000 to $2 million, depending on investing program; no minimum for financial planning or consulting
Fee structure: Percentage of AUM based on program and portfolio size; hourly fees; fixed fees; commissions
Headquarters:880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33176
https://www.raymondjames.com/
727-567-1000

financial advisor

Overview of Raymond James & Associates

Raymond James & Associates (often just referred to as Raymond James) is wholly owned by Raymond James Financial, Inc. The parent company of Raymond James is publicly held and has been a registered broker-dealer since 1962. However, the investment advisor registration didn’t come about until 1974.

According to the most recent filings, Raymond James has more than $200 billion in assets under management (AUM). Raymond James is set up so it has offices throughout the country, with investment advisors and wealth managers who are affiliated with the company while running their own practices.

However, Raymond James does have 10,745 employees, 4,217 of which are investment advisors. Additionally, 5,988 employees are registered to represent broker-dealers.

What types of clients does Raymond James serve?

While Raymond James does serve high net worth individuals, the vast majority of its clients are individuals without a high net worth. According to the SEC, a high net worth individual is someone who has at least $750,000 managed by a firm, or whose net worth a firm “reasonably believes” exceeds $1.5 million.

In addition to serving individuals, the company also offers services to banking institutions, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and governments. Additionally, Raymond James also serves corporations and businesses.

For the most part, it’s possible to get started using Raymond James with a minimum investment of $5,000 for certain programs. Other programs require a minimum of $100,000 or $200,000, and you might even need at least $2 million in assets under management to access certain strategies.

However, for consumers looking for financial planning or consulting services, there is no minimum requirement. Basically, the minimum is dependent on the type of program or portfolio used. However, there is room for an individual advisor to set different account minimums and fees, and there might be some variance from advisor to advisor. Check with a local advisor to see what’s required.

Services offered by Raymond James

Raymond James & Associates offers a variety of services related to wealth management and financial planning. Advisors with the company offer managed account programs designed for different levels of investing and that come with varying degrees of personalization.

For managed accounts, there is an opportunity for investors to receive management from individual firms or money managers for more customized results. Raymond James also has model portfolios that can be applied to individuals.

Raymond James also offers financial planning and consulting services, designed to help clients create a road map for the future.

Services offered by Raymond James include:

  • Investment advising
  • Portfolio management
  • Insurance
  • Financial planning
    • Estate planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Long-term care
    • Longevity planning
    • Social Security planning
    • Education planning
    • Caring for aging parents
    • Dependent special needs planning
    • Charitable giving
    • Business and succession planning
  • Trusts and trust management
  • Document review and preparation
  • Investment banking
  • Concentrated equity management
  • Business retirement plans

How Raymond James invests your money

When creating a strategy for client portfolios, advisors take into account a client’s goals as well as their risk tolerance. During consultations, advisors are expected to look at a client’s liquidity needs and tax situation as well.

To analyze investments for clients, Raymond James encourages its advisors to consider:

  • Fundamental analysis: This looks at different aspects of a company, like financial statements and management, and compares them to their sectors and the market as a whole to determine value.
  • Charting analysis: This uses mathematical formulas to look for patterns when analyzing price and trading volume for a specific equity. The information can be displayed in chart form, which can be studied for information about potential moves in the future.
  • Technical analysis: This looks at past performance based on prices and trends, allowing advisors to get an idea of security and market possibilities.
  • Cyclical analysis: This is a type of technical analysis that revolves around looking for recurring trends in the market and in a security. It can include seasonality or even multiyear cycles.

After using analysis tools in conjunction with a consideration of client goals and risk tolerance, Raymond James advisors are expected to put together investment strategies that employ different tactics. In general, these strategies include a number of different securities, including small and large cap stocks and fixed income instruments like bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. In addition to these more common securities, Raymond James advisors can also use commodities and real estate in portfolio management, as well as recommend various options strategies.

It’s also possible to take advantage of asset allocation strategies using different types of managed accounts. These strategies might include growth, which focuses on more aggressive investments designed to boost a client’s portfolio or income, which is designed to generate relatively stable sources of revenue. Model portfolio trades can be made at the discretion of the money manager after the model has been approved by the client.

Fees Raymond James charges for its services

For the most part, Raymond James uses a tiered fee schedule based on a percentage of assets under management to charge clients for its services. It’s important to note that there are different programs and minimums with various assets used by Raymond James.

Consulting Services and Eagle High Net Worth Accounts*
Assets under managementEquity, balanced and ETF portfoliosFixed-income portfoliosLaddered bonds and short-term conservative portfolios
Up to $1 million2.75%2.55%2.45%
$1 million up to $2 million2.50%2.30%2.20%
$2 million up to $5 million2.25%2.05%1.95%
$5 million up to $10 million2.00%1.80%1.70%
$10 million and up1.75%1.55%1.45%
*To use a short-term conservative portfolio, you need a $2 million minimum investment. For equity and balanced accounts, the minimum is generally $100,000, with a $200,000 minimum for fixed-income accounts.

In addition to asset-based fees, some clients can pay a per-transaction fee for certain trades:

  • Equity and ETF: 0.60%
  • Fixed-income: 0.40%
  • Laddered bonds and short-term: 0.25%
Freedom UMA Program*
Assets under managementAll strategies (except institutional)Institutional strategies
Up to $1 million2.60%2.50%
$1 million up to $2 million2.35%2.25%
$2 million up to $5 million2.10%2.00%
$5 million up to $10 million1.85%1.75%
$10 million and up1.60%1.50%
*The minimum investment requirement for these types of accounts is usually $300,000, although there are some portfolios that require at least $2 million for investment.
Multiple Discipline and Research Portfolios*
Up to $1 million2.60%
$1 million up to $2 million2.35%
$2 million up to $5 million2.10%
$5 million up to $10 million1.85%
$10 million and up1.60%
*Depending on the program, you might need to meet a $100,000 or $300,000 minimum to invest.
Outside Manager Program*
Up to $1 million2.25%
$1 million up to $2 million2.00%
$2 million up to $5 million1.75%
$5 million up to $10 million1.50%
$10 million and up1.25%
*While account minimums are usually $100,000 or $200,000, some managers might have higher minimums that clients are required to meet.
Freedom, American Funds and Russell Model Programs*
Up to $1 million2.25%
$1 million up to $2 million2.00%
$2 million up to $5 million1.75%
$5 million up to $10 million1.50%
$10 million and up1.25%
*Depending on the program, clients can expect to need either $5,000 or $25,000 to open an account.
Ambassador Program*
Up to $1 million2.25%
$1 million up to $2 million2.00%
$2 million up to $5 million1.75%
$5 million up to $10 million1.50%
$10 million and up1.25%
*These accounts require a $25,000 minimum investment.

Other fees that clients might incur include additional management fees, as well as expense ratios for mutual funds and ETFs.

Additionally, there might be account fees established for different types of accounts. For example, there’s an annual maintenance fee of up to $50 for certain types of accounts, like a retirement account. Other accounts, like guardianship accounts, have fees of up to $150 per year. Depending on the account, there might also be setup fees and processing fees.

Raymond James also utilizes wrap fee programs, which essentially put everything into one bundled fee. The Eagle program for high net worth clients uses a wrap fee, as set out above. In many cases, the wrap fee charged by Raymond James includes brokerage services as well as other services. There are other bundled services offered by Raymond James, and, depending on the situation, could cost more or less than getting them separately.

Finally, Raymond James does allow for the negotiation of advisory fees and commissions. So, you can work with your advisor to find something that works for you. It’s important to speak with a financial advisor about the fees so that you understand what you’re paying for.

Raymond James highlights

  • Provides a wide range of services: Raymond James could essentially be a one-stop shop for many clients. With the wide range of services available from investment management to financial planning, it’s possible to have almost every aspect of your money taken care of here.
  • No minimum for financial planning services: For those who just want help with financial planning, there is no account minimum. This makes these services accessible to all levels of investors.
  • Relatively low minimums for investment services: Compared to many other financial advisor firms, Raymond James has relatively low account minimum requirements. The lowest minimum required to open an account with Raymond James is just $5,000, though certain accounts require higher minimum investments.
  • Hundreds of locations: Raymond James has hundreds of locations across the country, sometimes more than one in an area. If you would like to sit down with someone in person, it should be easy to find an office.

Raymond James downsides

  • Fees can add up: Account management and setup fees can start to add up. Additionally, a client needs to have a high account balance in order to get a break on management fees. For example, the first fee break doesn’t come until you reach $1 million in assets under management. To get a much lower fee, you’d need $10 million.
  • Complicated fee structure: Because there are different products and services, the fee structure at Raymond James can get complicated. For example, there’s a different fee depending on whether you use a fixed income or an equity strategy. Add in multiple tiers for fees, and it can become difficult to determine how much you may be paying in total.
  • Disciplinary disclosures: While some of the firm’s disclosures aren’t especially notable, some of the issues, like compliance and disclosing commissions, might raise red flags for some potential clients.

Raymond James disciplinary disclosures

This firm has several disciplinary disclosures, which is not entirely uncommon for a firm of this nature, size and age. However, some of the disclosures are worth noting before deciding to move forward with an account.

In 2011, there were some irregularities with auction-rate securities, but Raymond James has since made efforts to compensate clients, as well as pay fines amounting to $1.75 million to state regulators (the SEC didn’t impose a fine).

Other disciplinary disclosures include those related to Raymond James & Associates failing to disclose some of the commissions paid to some of its managers, resulting in a fine of $3 million to the SEC and restitution to clients of more than $11 million, as well as interest totaling more than $1 million. Raymond James didn’t admit to or deny the findings and has undergone a review of its practices.

Additionally, there are several disciplinary disclosures stemming from allegations from FINRA related to various issues, including maintaining inaccurate books, an automated commission schedule that might not have been fair, the failure to promptly execute some trading orders, the disclosure of client personal information to third parties, pricing issues and compliance issues.

The New York Stock Exchange also issued disciplinary findings related to Raymond James’s options trading, as well as some of its pricing and clearing practices.

Raymond James onboarding process

Working with Raymond James starts with finding an advisor in your area. Enter your ZIP code or search for a specific advisor on the firm’s website, and you’ll be directed to a location near you.

Once that’s done, you can set up an appointment to meet with an advisor who can help you create your account, or see which services you’re interested in.

The bottom line: Is Raymond James & Associates right for you?

Raymond James can be a solid choice if you want help with all aspects of your financial planning and investment management with relative accessibility. Minimum investment requirements for managed accounts start at $5,000, which can be accessible for many levels of investors. Additionally, financial planning help is available for just about any situation. If you want in-person, individualized help, Raymond James can be an affordable choice.

However, it’s important to note that you might need to be on your toes. The firm’s fees can become confusing, and there are quite a few of them. Additionally, the firm’s past disciplinary issues related to commission disclosure and notations for issues related to unfair pricing practices might require you to take a second look before moving forward.

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