Raymond James recruited a $2.4 billion team from Morgan Stanley – the biggest in the firm's history, a spokeswoman said.

The move is a milestone in Raymond James' recruiting efforts, as the firm has sought to build out its employee channel, particularly in the Northeast and Pacific Coast states. This latest move dwarfs the firm's biggest grab last year, a $900 million team from J.P. Morgan. That four-advisor team opened Raymond James' first office in Manhattan.

The newest recruits, led by advisor Don d’Adesky, are based in two Florida offices: Boca Raton and Miami.
Rob Blevins, a recruiter in Dublin, Ohio, says that a recruiting grab of this magnitude is a testament to the strides that Raymond James has made in keeping their technology up-to-date and in maintaining an advisor-friendly culture.

"Make no mistake: Raymond James doesn't have the biggest deal on the street. If they didn't have the culture or technology, then they couldn't get advisors like that," he says.

Technology, Blevins says, has been a great leveler for regional firms.

"That has allowed the regionals to catch up with the wirehouses, and if you take that and combine it with a great culture, that is a killer combination," he says.

Recruiter Danny Sarch adds that "its additional validation that the advisor owning the book is worth something in the marketplace."

Tash Elwyn, president of Raymond James & Associates, says that the firm can continue to recruit teams of this caliber.

"But as important as that is, our evergreen focus is on retention of the advisors who have already chosen to be affiliated with us. We are very conscience that … the foundation of growth and success is retention," Elwyn says.


In addition to d’Adesky, the team includes advisors W. Kristopher Lemke, Matthew Cicero, Jose Cabrera Sr., Kevin Gourrier and Ryan Weber. Also moving with the team are service associates Carmen Rivera, Marisa Breton, Joanne Novie, Vernadine Crespo and Cabrera's two children, Kristina and Jose, Jr.

The team works with high-net-worth individuals and institutions in the U.S. and Caribbean region.

D'Adesky, a Miami-native, says they made the move because of the evolving needs of their individual and institutional clients. He says that Raymond James' capabilities are well geared toward that side of his business.  For his high-net-worth clients, he says the firm has the kind of technology and open architecture that they need.

"I felt we had a great quality system before, but I think we can take it to the next level here," he says.

The move was not about Morgan, he says.

"I was not unhappy there. They have a very different way of running the firm, but it's a great quality organization. [And] I am very happy to be here and ecstatic that they [Raymond James] hired us."

A Morgan spokeswoman said the firm was no longer able to accomodate their business model.

"They serve a number of smaller central banks in Caribbean and Latin American countries and for regulatory reasons we are shifting coverage of these clients to our institutional business and will no longer serve them in wealth management," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

D’Adesky started his financial services career in 1987 with Cantor Fitzgerald in Beverly Hills, Calif. He had been at Morgan since 2009.

Now at Raymond James, the team reports to complex managers Frank Amigo and Dan Kraus. The firm says that the team is also supported by Mat Parker, national sales manager for Fixed Income.

D’Adesky says his team is focused on bringing over the assets.

"The immediate objective is to maintain and transition as many accounts as we can. My hope is to bring 100%. That will take a little while," he says.

Over the next five years, D’Adesky says, he wants to add another $1 billion in assets to their business.

D’Adesky, who turns 51 on Saturday, says transitioning a book of business is hard work, but he's happy he did it.

"During the first meeting [we had], we got to meet [founder] Tom James and he's been here since the creation of the firm. I hope this is it for me, that I will be here until I retire."


Read more: