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Chief compliance officer for Raymond James Financial Services resigns

Apr 30, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

By Bruce Kelly

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Raymond James Financial Services Inc. has lost its longtime chief compliance officer, Donald Runkle, who resigned at the end of last week.

Mr. Runkle had been with Raymond James Financial Services — and its prior incarnations — since 1993. With 3,279 affiliated registered reps and advisers, RJFS is the independent broker-dealer arm of Raymond James Financial Inc. It is the third largest independent broker-dealer in the industry, with $1.35 billion in 2013 revenue, according to InvestmentNews' latest survey.

Raymond James gave no explanation for Mr. Runkle's departure and Mr. Runkle did not immediately respond to an e-mail.

“The firm's policy is not to comment on associates no longer with the firm,” said RJFS president Scott Curtis in an e-mail. “Until a permanent RJFS chief compliance officer is identified, Alyssa Meyer and Jason Thackeray, both experienced directors of RJFS compliance, will act as co-CCOs. We're grateful for Don's contributions to the firm and wish him well in the future.”

Unlike many of its competitors, Raymond James has missed the lion's share of product failures that have dogged many independent broker-dealers since the credit crisis. It sold none of the disastrous and fraudulent private placements issued by Medical Capital Holdings, Provident Royalties or DBSI Inc., the legal fallout of which caused dozens of small- to mid-sized broker-dealers to close.

Raymond James Financial Services also does not sell nontraded real estate investment trusts, a product sold almost exclusively through independent broker-dealer reps and advisers. Some of the largest of those trusts packaged and sold before and during the credit crisis saw their values plummet by 30% or more after 2008, as the commercial real estate market collapsed in some regions and sectors.

State securities regulators have since increased their focus on nontraded REITs, holding broker-dealers feet to the fire over sales limits based on a percentage of a client's net worth. For example, some states have strict limits of investing no more than 10% of a client's net worth in such REITs and other alternative investments.

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