Raymond James Recruiting Binge Extends to Small Markets
Raymond James Financial has been making headlines with its capture of big-city multi-million dollar teams from wirehouse competitors, but the Florida-based company’s broker-centric culture pick also appears appealing to big-firm brokers with smaller books in less affluent markets.
A few days before announcing on Monday its capture of a team in Hawaii managing more than $3.5 billion of client assets, Raymond James quietly welcomed a Merrill Lynch veteran to a small but growing office on the Texas-Mexico border.
George Selters joined the company’s El Paso, Texas, branch on June 23 after almost nine years with Merrill Lynch, said complex director John Kazanjian. Selters began his career in 1998 at Prudential Securities and worked for a combined nine years subsequently at Salomon Smith Barney and Wells Fargo before joining Merrill’s Hobbs, New Mexico, branch in 2008, according to his BrokerCheck history.
“George believes that, compared to the larger wirehouses, the firm’s smaller size makes it more responsive to the needs of advisors and their clients,” says a biography on his website, which describes him as a specialist in small-business owners and “practice professionals,” focusing on retirement accounts and tax-deferral strategies.
Selters did not respond to a request for comment left with his client service associate, Clarissa Delgado, who moved with him.
Selters, who Kazanjian said he had been wooing for close to four years, will service clients from El Paso as well from a new office RayJay plans to open soon in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The complex, in what Kazanjian described as a “thin” brokerage market, has close to 12 financial advisors.
“Someone here producing less than a million can be a big producer,” Kazanjian said, without commenting specifically on Selters’ production.
The move comes as Merrill Wealth head Andy Sieg is promoting an initiative to develop the firm’s profile in about 150 “community markets” under former Southwest division head Ben Prince.
Like other Raymond James managers, Kazanjian said big-firm brokers are attracted by a broker-centric culture, evidenced in offer letters stating that brokers rather than the firm “own” their books, and by giving candidates a choice of working as employees or independent contractors.
Raymond James has aggressively marketed its distinctiveness but does not compete through recruiting bonuses, said outside recruiters and company executives. The company stands behind its “you-own-your-book” pitch with written guarantees that it will not solicit clients of brokers who leave for the firm for a predetermined time period, they said.
Raymond James ended calendar year 2016 with 7,128 brokers across its employee and independent broker networks in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., up a net 441 from a year earlier, and grew to around 7,200 through the end of this year’s first quarter.