Raymond James & Associates Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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Raymond James & Associates Review 2022

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

The bottom line: Raymond James & Associates is part of a large, publicly held company, and offers a range of investing and financial planning services through advisors across the country.

  • Primarily works with non-high net worth individuals
  • Has a fairly complicated fee structure
  • Discloses past disciplinary events

All information included in this profile is accurate as of March 29, 2022. For more information, please consult Raymond James’ website.

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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.

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 over 11,400 employees, more than 4,900 of whom are investment advisors. Additionally, nearly 6,800 employees are registered to represent broker-dealers, while over 4,000 are licensed insurance agents.

A look at the founder of Raymond James

Raymond James is a family-centric operation. The firm was founded in 1962 by Bob James, who was the CEO from that year until 1970. His son Tom James took over as CEO and chairman in 1970, and served in that role until 2010. In 2008, Tom was named Ernst & Young’s National Entrepreneur of the Year in the financial services category.

Raymond James’ pros

  • 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 banking and lending services, to financial planning and insurance, it’s possible to have almost every aspect of your money taken care of at Raymond James.
  • No minimum for financial planning: For those who just want help with financial planning, there is no account minimum requirement. 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 for its various advisory programs that charge wrap fees. The lowest minimum required to open such an account with Raymond James is just $5,000. Other accounts require higher minimums.
  • Hundreds of locations: Raymond James has hundreds of locations across the country, and sometimes more than one in an area. If you’d like to sit down with someone in person, it should be easy to find an office near you.

Raymond James’ cons

  • Fees can add up: Account management and setup fees at Raymond James can add up, and wrap fees for advisory programs can run as high as 2.75%. Keep in mind, however, that wrap fees encompass comprehensive services that may include investment advice, research and brokerage services.
  • Complicated fee structure: Because there are so many 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 without first talking to a Raymond James advisor.
  • 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. Learn more about the firm’s disciplinary track record below.

What types of clients does Raymond James serve?

While Raymond James does serve high net worth individuals, the vast majority of its clients are non-high net worth individuals. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (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.

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

Specifically, services for individuals offered by Raymond James include:

  • Investment advice and portfolio management
  • Financial planning
    • Tax planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Education planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate planning
    • Business planning
  • Trusts and trust management
  • Insurance solutions
  • Banking and lending
  • Private wealth services
  • Business consulting

How Raymond James invests your money

In general, Raymond James uses a wide variety of investment products, programs and strategies to invest client assets. This may include anything from a more traditional mix of investments, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, to a portfolio of managed or alternative investments, like hedge funds.

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

After using analysis tools in conjunction with a consideration of client goals and risk tolerance, Raymond James advisors will put together investment strategies that employ different tactics, stressing diversification and customization for clients. Advisors may recommend long-term strategies, such as dollar-cost averaging and reinvesting dividends.

Fees Raymond James charges for its services

Raymond James generally uses a tiered fee schedule, with rates based on a percentage of assets under management. However, the firm may also use fixed fees, hourly charges and some commission-based fees.

Raymond James offers a variety of different programs, each with different fees and minimums. The firm’s wrap fee accounts, which is the most common arrangement, carry a maximum annual fee of 2.25% to 2.75%. Keep in mind that the wrap fee includes trading, brokerage and other costs, though it does not cover underlying management fees and operating expenses.

Additionally, clients may owe account fees. For example, an annual maintenance fee of up to $75 applies to certain types of accounts, such as retirement accounts. Other accounts, such as guardianship accounts, have fees of up to $150 per year. Depending on the account, there might also be setup fees and processing fees involved.

If you are going to work with Raymond James, talk to your prospective advisor about the particular services and investments you’re interested in to get a better idea of the fees you might pay.

Raymond James’ disciplinary disclosures

Raymond James 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 whether to move forward with an account.

Disciplinary disclosures include those related to Raymond James & Associates allegedly failing to properly supervise advisory accounts, resulting in alleged issues such as charging excess advisory fees and failing to disclose conflicts of interest. This resulted 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 did not admit to or deny the findings and has undergone a review of its practices.

Additionally, the firm has faced several disciplinary disclosures stemming from allegations from FINRA related to various issues, including maintaining inaccurate books, a supposedly unfair automated commission schedule, 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.

For more information and further details on these disclosures and others, visit Raymond James’ Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

Raymond James’ onboarding process

  1. Find an advisor near you: 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.
  2. Set up an appointment: 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.
  3. Receive quarterly account statements: Account statements are generally provided to clients on a quarterly basis. However, this can vary depending on the arrangement noted in the client agreement.

Where Raymond James is located

Raymond James has over 600 offices in the U.S., per its Form ADV filing, and it is registered to serve investors in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. On its website, Raymond James lists offices in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia

Raymond James also has office locations in Canada and across Europe.

To see if there is a Raymond James advisor near you, use the search tool provided on the firm’s website.

Is Raymond James right for you?

Raymond James may be worth considering 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 makes it in reach for many levels of investors. Additionally, financial planning help is available for just about any situation. Plus, the firm has hundreds of offices throughout the country, making it easy for investors in a number of locations to get in-person help.

However, the firm’s fees can become confusing, and there are quite a few of them. You should consult with your prospective advisor to make sure you have a full understanding of the fees you might pay. Also make sure you are comfortable with the firm’s past disciplinary issues related to commission disclosure and notations for issues related to unfair pricing practices. As always, it is important to research multiple options and carefully consider what you’re looking for in an advisor to ensure you find the right financial advisor for you.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.