In an effort to provide a broader array of alternative investments to its advisers, Raymond James Financial Inc.'s investment adviser division will give affiliated RIAs access to the firm's alternative investment platform, beginning next month.
The Raymond James Alternative Investment Group offers research and support for private equity, private real estate, hedge funds, managed futures and alternative mutual funds, the company said.
It has 22 professionals reviewing products targeted at higher-net-worth clients, Raymond James said in a statement last Wednesday.
Pricing on a “very large percentage” of alternative products had to be tweaked for RIAs, said Bill Van Law, the division's president.
“Most of the [alternative] products were designed for the broker-dealer world, not the advisory world. What we've done is taken an excess amount of fees and commissions, and paid the balance back to clients,” Mr. Van Law said.
“On the surface, it looks great,” said Scott Stoltenberg, a partner at Quad Cities Investment Group LLC, which holds assets in custody at the division. “The more things you can do at one [custodian], the better.”
Raymond James held a conference call last Tuesday with its registered investment advisers to discuss the announcement.
Beefing up platform
Adding alternatives is the latest effort by Raymond James to beef up its RIA platform.
The firm recently introduced more support services for RIAs, covering areas such as practice management, marketing and succession planning.
Last month, the investment adviser division added four regional directors to help recruit and coach existing practices. Last fall, it cut equity ticket charges and waived some individual retirement account fees paid by clients of its RIA firms in an effort to compete with the larger RIA custodians.
The division, which serves about 100 RIA firms with $8 billion in assets, has long been overshadowed by Raymond James' much larger employee and independent-contractor channels.
Early last year, the firm reorganized the custody unit as a stand-alone division, separating it from its independent-contractor business. Mr. Van Law, then the head of recruiting at the company's independent broker-dealer, Raymond James Financial Services Inc., was put in charge of the division.
Raymond James plans a media campaign beginning next month to get the word out about its RIA custody service, as well as options for hybrid advisers.