If the changing and dissolution of corporate cultures that used to be the envy of the wealth management industry leads to departures and bad morale, it makes sense a consistent culture will result in low attrition and happy personnel. As Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have struggled to reclaim the storied pasts, two firms, Raymond James and HighTower have made advisor-friendly cultures a crucial part of their success in both retaining their advisors and recruiting new ones.

Any reader of the industry’s trade publications reporting of recruiting wins will notice Raymond James has been very prominent with significant hires during 2014. Tash Elwyn, president of Raymond James & Associates (their employee advisor channel), states unequivocally: “Our culture is our biggest differentiator.” The strength of the culture can be traced to the consistency of senior leadership as well as an unwavering laser-like focus on their core business. Raymond James was founded in 1962 and has had only three CEOs in those years. Their core business has always been wealth management. Indeed, many of the senior leaders in the firm, including Elwyn, used to be and still are advisors at Raymond James. Thomas James, the current chairman and former CEO of Raymond James Financial, remains a club-level producer. Elwyn still retains a book of clients. EMBRACING OWNERSHIP

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