Curtis: Raymond James is fighting cybercriminals every day

RJFS president tells conference that 1½ times a day, hackers try to make money off advisers' clients

May 20, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

By Liz Skinner

Raymond James Financial Services Inc. is fending off daily attempts by hackers to steal client funds and otherwise break into the company's network.

Every month the firm encounters 120,000 attempted malware infections, 6,000 phishing attempts, 75 network intrusion attempts and 30 wire fraud attempts, according to president Scott Curtis.

“That's about 1.5 times a day people are trying to take money out of your clients' accounts, and they aren't your clients," Mr. Curtis told attendees at the opening session of the Raymond James Financial Services national conference in Washington on Tuesday.

Data security is one of the priorities in the firm's $212 million annual technology budget, he said.

Mr. Curtis also urged the firm's 3,288 advisers to make sure they have systems in place at their firms to identify legitimate communications and requests from clients. The issue comes to the fore because Raymond James will soon roll out a system to allow advisers to transfer up to $50,000 from client accounts directly to third-party organizations.

"Develop procedures in your offices to make sure that the person asking you to wire them money is really them," Mr. Curtis said.

Technology support is part of the way Raymond James is trying to help its advisers increase assets under management, which have increased firmwide to $197 billion, 2.5 times the AUM 10 years ago. Over that same decade, the number of Raymond James advisers has actually decreased by 10% to 3,288, from 3,657 in 2004.

Individual assets per adviser continues to grow, Mr. Curtis said.

Adviser AUM has grown 65% over the past four years to an average of $68.6 million per adviser and the average trailing 12-months' production per adviser is $486,000, up from $369,000 in 2010, Mr. Curtis said. Fifty advisers have a trailing 12-month production figure of more than $2 million, he said.

Mr. Curtis said he expects the number of Raymond James advisers will grow, but the company doesn't have a head count goal in mind. The firm continues to want to boost the number of advisers with at least $300,000 in revenue, he said.

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