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Raymond James is spending to improve its mobile app for clients to help increase engagement between its advisors and their clients, in line with its efforts to bolster its technology, according to the president and CEO Paul Reilly.
Raymond James has increased its tech execution rate this year, a projection of future gains from tech investments, and “the next big investment” will be on its Client Access mobile app, Reilly said Thursday during a call to discuss earnings. of the company for its fiscal second quarter which ended in March.
Specifically, Raymond James plans to make the Client Access mobile app similar to the desktop experience “so that advisor and client have the same intimacy,” Reilly said.
“What we’re focusing on now is the app that advisors and clients use together and unlike some competing apps, it’s not an app where the client can circle around the advisor for information. ; the advisor and the client are reviewing the same information together,” according to a company spokesperson.
Having advisors and clients see the same information in the mobile app is intended to make conversations about financial goals “more efficient and clear,” according to the spokesperson.
“What we do is invest in the advisor-client relationship,” the spokesperson said. “That’s where a lot of our technology spending goes.”
Technology investments are reflected in the company’s communications and information processing expenditures, according to the spokesperson. Those expenses reached $239 million at the end of March, up 16% from the same period in 2021, according to the company’s latest earnings report.
The planned improvements are in part a response to feedback Raymond James has received from advisors. The company introduced a “service spotlight initiative” in 2020 that connected with advisors individually and in groups “to see where they had issues, what they needed, what kinds of processes we could combine to make the back-office part more efficient”, according to the company’s spokesperson.
This initiative addressed “everything from how phones are answered to technology to smart forms, the kinds of things where the advisor has to engage with the company to do business or the advisor engages with the customer. to do business,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Raymond James acquisition of SumRidge Partnersannounced in March, “is further evidence of our continued commitment to delivering leading-edge technology to advisors, clients and stakeholders,” Reilly said on the call, adding that the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. year.
Founded in 2010, Jersey City, New Jersey-based SumRidge Partners has 45 employees and specializes in investment-grade and high-yield corporate bonds, municipal bonds and institutional preferred securities, according to Raymond James. The addition of SumRidge is intended to bolster Raymond James’ institutional market-making business, complementing the firm’s core customer-facing business, the company says.
A plus for recruiting and retaining advisors
According to Reilly, “the focus on supporting advisors and their clients” has helped Raymond James recruit and retain advisors.
The company’s Private Client group had a record 8,730 financial advisers as of March 31, a net increase of 403 from March 2021 and a net increase of 266 from December 2021, according to the earnings report.
According to Reilly, national recruits from independent contractors and advisers to Raymond James’ employee chains in the last quarter had $340 million in 12-month production from approximately $53 billion in client assets.
Raymond James’ technology is often cited by advisors joining the firm from distribution houses or other brokers.
“Raymond James allocates resources with a customer-centric lens and has equipped us with an excellent suite of research, technology and planning tools that will not only help us engage our current customers thoughtfully, but will help us also to develop new relationships,” according to Brent Bigneyvice president of Resolute Private Wealth.
Bigney is part of a team of advisors who this month joined the independent channel form Raymond James Financial Services Merrill Lynchwhere they had $340 million in client assets.
“The investment in technology is evident with Raymond James. I look forward to integrating the company’s analytics tools, investment research and retirement planning software to better serve our clients,” said Mark Cooperadvisor at SilverTree Wealth Partners.
Cooper is part of a team of advisors who joined the independent channel this month. They moved from Edward Joneswhere they had $180 million in client assets.
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