Raymond James gains alternative investments with Alex. Brown deal

Raymond James clients will have opportunity to invest in private-equity and hedge funds

Sep 6, 2016 @ 12:33 pm

By Christine Idzelis

Raymond James Financial Inc. has completed its purchase of Deutsche Bank AG's U.S. private client unit, Alex. Brown, opening up a new offering of sophisticated investments for the brokerage firm.

The deal, which was completed Monday, will give Raymond James' financial advisers access to alternative investments in private-equity and hedge funds through a partnership with Deutsche Bank, according to Haig Ariyan, the unit's president.

Alex. Brown's high-end, boutique brand is mainly on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., with its largest offices in New York, Boston, and Greenwich, Conn., where there are concentrations of wealth. While the business will operate as its own unit, Raymond James' broader network of advisers will have access to part of its investment selection, according to Mr. Ariyan.

“With this acquisition comes access to some of Deutsche Bank's differentiated products,” including investments in alternative funds as well as private market opportunities for clients to co-invest in technology or real-estate deals, he said in an interview.

“Many of our clients are entrepreneurs themselves and like to invest alongside like-minded partners,” said Mr. Ariyan, who previously co-headed Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Americas.

New York-based Alex. Brown focuses on ultra-high-net-worth clients with at least $20 million of liquid assets, though it also assists those who have more than $5 million to invest, he said.

As part of its association with Deutsche, Alex. Brown clients will be able to invest in the bank's equity capital market deals, according to Mr. Ariyan.

While they'll be offered the opportunity to invest in initial public offerings and follow-on sales of company shares that are arranged by Deutsche, other units of Raymond James won't share that access, he said.

A total 193 of Alex. Brown advisers, or more than 90%, will stay with the unit under Raymond James' ownership, according to a company statement Tuesday on the completion of the acquisition.

“Within our existing branch network, we plan to recruit advisers at a very smart pace over the next five years,” Mr. Ariyan said. Alex. Brown has 16 branches in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

Mr. Ariyan reports to Dennis Zank, chief operating officer for Raymond James. He'll also work closely with Tash Elwyn, the president of Raymond James & Associates, the firm's broker-dealer unit where its financial advisers are employees as opposed to independent contractors.

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James Financial has about 6,800 advisers serving more 2.8 million accounts. The firm had about $548 billion total client assets at the end of July, according to Tuesday's statement.

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