A $4 million revenue producing team from Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (FiNet) has jumped ship to Raymond James Financial Services, the firm’s independent contractor unit. John Lynch, who leads the team, said Raymond James’ “regional” feel reminds him of his days at Wheat First Butcher Singer, which he joined about 14 years ago.
Fulton, Md.-based Lynch Retirement Investment Group has $477 million in client assets under management. Other members of Lynch’s team include Arthur DeLuca, Lindsay Johns and Molly Croyle.
RJFS is a smaller firm with a more personal, family-oriented atmosphere, Lynch said. The firm also has greater access to senior management; Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly sat down with Lynch and his team to answer any questions they had about the firm.
A big selling point was that the bulk of Raymond James’ private client group revenues come from the independent side. Meanwhile, the independent arm at Wells Fargo is a “rounding error,” or insignificant, compared to its overall private client group, Lynch said. “We were like the red-headed stepchild.” FiNet has around 550 practices, compared to about 15,000 advisors in the whole firm. He wanted to move to where his production mattered in the overall scheme of things.
Lynch joined Wheat First Butcher Singer before it was acquired by First Union, which later became Wachovia Securities. Wachovia was purchased by Wells Fargo in 2008. So he’s gone through his fair share of mergers, and that was part of his decision to move. Being at a serial acquirer, he found there was a perception problem with clients when the name of his b/d kept changing. Clients would get the perception that he was moving around a lot and was unstable, even though he had stayed with the same firm for many years. “It does cause some turmoil.”
Further, since joining Wheat First Butcher Singer, Lynch has gone from a firm of 1,000 advisors to now about 15,000 at Wells Fargo. “That’s a big culture change.”
Lynch was also sold on Raymond James’ portfolio management division, in which executives look at his clients’ portfolios and help identify any holes. There’s also an online forum, where advisors can discuss portfolio allocation and get ideas from each other, Lynch said. “We like the idea of having a new set of eyes on the portfolio.”