Raymond James, Ameriprise add advisers in Q2, as two wirehouses shed them

Both firms on receiving end of steady drip of advisers leaving Wall Street

Jul 25, 2019 @ 1:50 pm

By Bruce Kelly

As the large wirehouses continue to watch a steady drip of advisers move to other employers or switch to other ways of doing business, large brokerage operations, including Raymond James Financial Inc. and Ameriprise Financial Inc., appear to be benefiting.

For example, UBS on Tuesday reported a year-over-year decline of 248 financial advisers, or 3.6% of the global bank's financial adviser workforce in the Americas, as of the end of the second quarter.

And according to an analysis by InvestmentNews, over the first half of the year, Merrill Lynch lost 189 advisers on a net basis compared with 20 advisers leaving in the same period in 2018.

UBS and Merrill Lynch, respectively, employ 6,689 and 14,690 highly productive, wealth management-focused financial advisers.

But when it comes to adding experienced brokers and financial advisers, Raymond James and Ameriprise are two firms succeeding.

On Wednesday afternoon, after the close of the market, both companies reported second quarter earnings. Raymond James posted a net increase of 185 advisers at the end of June when compared to 12 months earlier; meanwhile, Ameriprise reported a net gain of 45 advisers over the same period.

Advisers are leaving the large Wall Street banks in a steady trickle, noted Louis Diamond, an industry recruiter.

"Some advisers are moving away from the large traditional wirehouses, and Raymond James and Ameriprise are at times the recipient of those advisers," he said.

"Raymond James is one of the more aggressive and successful recruiting firms and has a shot at every adviser because they have a variety of business channels for advisers to work in, from a boutique to employee or independent contractor," Mr. Diamond said. "We consider Ameriprise a regional firm, and the firm's recruiting deal and economics are second to none. They also have both an employee and independent model and are financial-planning oriented."

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