When it comes to technology platforms and operations, Raymond James (RJF) executives say the firm is at or ahead of larger rivals.
“We have made huge strides,” said Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly in an interview with AdvisorOne, after speaking Friday at the Women’s Symposium conference hosted by the firm in St. Pete’s Beach, Fla.
“We now benchmark ourselves against the wirehouses and firms like Schwab, we think it’s going well,” Reilly said. “Our financial advisors are happy.”
Raymond James executives are also proud that the firm is “one of, if not, the first firm to support iPads for advisors,” Reilly shared. “The platforms will change, and we have to be there to deliver.”
As they change, the firm is making needed investments, according to Bella Loykhter Allaire, executive vice president of technology and operations.
“What’s going on is lots of plumbing investment, and that I could not have accomplished in any other firm,” said Loykhter Allaire, addressing the Women’s Symposium audience on Friday.
“We are fortunate that [Reilly] gets it,” the executive said in an upbeat talk. “He has said that he would say ‘no’ one day, but that hasn’t happened.
As a result, Raymond James is able to move ahead with platform improvements that will let advisors more easily handle everything from prospecting for new clients to making new investments in foreign currencies and other products.
“We need to see this as a process. It’s all tied together,” said Loykhter Allaire. “Many firms do this in parts … but we want to solve this from beginning to end.”
Advisors should see major changes associated with this wealth management platform effort happening in 2013, she added. “We are not as integrated as I would like, but we are getting there,” Loykhter Allaire said. “You will see new additions every three months.”
Morgan Keegan Benefits
While Reilly has praised fixed-income and other abilities that Morgan Keegan is bringing to Raymond James, the technology executive said that the company’s platform has benefited from the acquired firm’s performance-reporting system.
“There are areas, like this, where they were better,” Loykhter Allaire said. “So, we took their system and put it on top. You will start seeing some of the results by year end.”
The full conversion of Morgan Keegan advisors to the Raymond James platform will take place in February, the tech executive says. “As much work as this has added to my plate, I am very happy that we took the approach we did and that it benefits the Raymond James platform.”