Before coming aboard, every prospective hire at Raymond James must make a home-office visit. It allows the advisor to evaluate the firm, while giving senior officials a chance to get acquainted with the advisor. When advisors visit the St. Petersburg, Fla., headquarters of Raymond James, they will meet the firm's decision-makers, often including the executive chairman, Tom James.

I made a similar visit in January to discover what makes Raymond James different. It was a visit hundreds of Morgan Keegan advisors also made, perhaps apprehensively, after being acquired by Raymond James in 2012.

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