Raymond James dips toe into commission-free trades

As industry race-to-zero accelerates, the broker-dealer offers free trades to small group of RIAs

Oct 21, 2019 @ 5:21 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Raymond James Financial Inc. is the latest brokerage to slash charges on trades and is eliminating transaction fees for stocks, exchange-traded funds and options for the firm's small Investment Adviser Division.

Unlike many of its competitors, Raymond James has no meaningful direct to consumer business. This change has an impact only on the fee-based accounts managed and sold by the registered investment advisers who use Raymond James to custody client assets.

A source who asked not to be identified confirmed the new effort at Raymond James. A Raymond James spokesman declined to comment.

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Raymond James' main business is servicing retail-focused brokers and financial advisers who are registered with the firm's two broker-dealers, Raymond James & Associates Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services Inc. The question remains whether the more than 8,000 advisers working on those platforms will eventually see commissions slashed for their trades.

The race to zero commissions kicked off at the start of the month when Charles Schwab Corp. erased commissions on certain online trades. It was quickly followed by TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., E*Trade Financial Corp. and Fidelity Investments.

And on Monday, Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch unit said it was greatly expanding free trades for certain clients who use online or mobile platforms.

The business news website CNBC.com first reported the news about Raymond James.


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