President of Raymond James & Associates since January 2012, Tash Elwyn has overseen rapid growth at the Tampa Bay-based regional firm. In an edited transcript below, Elwyn, who’s been with Raymond James since graduating from Emory University in 1993, talks about why the firm is enjoying recruiting success today, where it aims to expand its market share and why it will launch a new first branch manager training program.

OWS Raymond James & Associates has been recruiting a lot of top talent recently. Is the firm aiming to grow more through recruitment?

Elwyn: Our growth strategy begins first and foremost with retention. It’s our belief that by maintaining our culture and platform, advisors are able to make a difference for their clients.

The growth of Raymond James is best made through that.Beyond that, recruiting is important to us. And it’s a focus on a creed of growth through external recruitment, selectively affiliating with advisors from other firms as well as training the next generation of advisors.

Why do you think you’ve had recruiting success lately? 

The recruiting momentum and successes you’re seeing are really many years in the making.

We’re continuing to make investments in our technology and platform–and that positions Raymond James uniquely so we are simultaneously big enough and small enough to provide all the tools advisors coming from the biggest firms need and pair that with the culture of a regional. It’s a culture of providing the best of both worlds. And it’s positioned Raymond James to have as much recruiting success that the firm has been enjoying.

As the industry becomes increasingly templated, advisors are craving independence and autonomy–independence not as a contractor per se, but independence of thought in terms of who they work with, what account minimums they have, how they service clients. They are finding and enjoying that at Raymond James.

Where will Raymond James’ future growth come from? 

Our future growth will be largely focused on several key geographies where we are selectively and prudently expanding: the West Coast, Pacific Northwest and Northeast.

As much success as we are already enjoying, the focus will continue to be–as much top down as that strategy is–to continue to selectively affiliate with the right people.

What’s the recruitment process like? 

Every single advisor who is thinking about Raymond James makes a due diligence visit to the home office. That visit is customized and personalized for that advisor, to make sure we are getting the resources and tools he or she needs.

And as beneficial as that visit is for the advisor, it’s also important for me and other senior management to meet them. It’s important that we can be proud of the advisors who will be representing us in the communities in which they live and work, and that they share the values of Raymond James–conservative and client-focused.

That “get-to-know-you” is far more important to me than the qualitative how big or small someone’s business is.

How will the new training program for branch managers at Raymond James fit into the firm’s future growth? 

As you look ahead at the looming demographics–not just the number of clients but the number of advisors who will be entering retirement–that challenge is the same for branch managers. I also firmly believe that that challenge is an opportunity.

At Raymond James we recognize that it’s imperative to develop a bench program–a training program–for the next generation of branch managers, just as we need to have the next generation of advisors in place. We are beginning to put in the building blocks to ensure that they will have the resources they will need to continue their professional development.


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