Raymond James vs. AG Edwards

2 replies [Last post]
brwns99's picture
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Joined: 2005-10-17

Getting ready to send out some resumes to these firms along with the standard firms, ML,UBS etc..  From the research I have done these two seem to stand out as being well respected w/excellent training programs.  I understand RJ lets you keep your book. Correct?  I am a Navy retiree w/an MBA and I have completed the CFP courses.  Of course I know neither of these makes me a salesman.  I reside in the Jacksonville Fl area and if there is anyone that participates on this board from this area, please provide me w/some local insight, all others any insight :). How about the pros and cons of AGE/RJ and what kind of starting salary /stipend do they provide?? I know that a lot of bantering goes on here, I am just looking for prespective.  I served 22 years BTW and I just want some honesty in return. Thank you

Duke#1's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-06

You're correct that at RJ (all platforms, not just indy side) reps own their books.  Unless it's changed, AGE also takes that position (all wirehouses do not).  RJ also lets you move among platforms.  So, if for example after a few years when you're established & you want to leave the RJ&A branch structure to go indy, you can do that there and you & your clients essentially have never left the firm.
I'm admittedly biased (am with RJFS, the indy side), but RJ is a great firm.  I've always held AGE in high regard as well, but it seems that over the last few years reps are not as universally happy there as they used to be.  I think that relates to changes made after Ben Edwards stepped down. 
From what I know, RJ&A (the side I assume you're looking at as a rookie) has a fine training program, and it's even better after some recent major changes to it.   I don't know about their trainee salary levels, but I assume it's competitive with other firms.  To some degree it's negotiable depending on your current income level, so don't be afraid (at the right time in the hiring process) to candidly discuss what your needs/expectations are.
RJ&A reps are very happy here.  They track attrition using $300k & above as a benchmark (level that would indicate established reps).  Last year RJ&A lost only two reps at that level (voluntarily going to other firms) -- it wouldn't be unusual for individual wirehouse branches to lose that many each year!
RJ doesn't necessarily have a well-known name nationally like many of the wirehouses, but that's improved significantly over the past few years with increased branding efforts.  But, you'd have an advantage in Florida where it's well-known, given that's where they started (Raymond James Stadium in Tampa doesn't hurt either).
In J'Ville as you may know there are two RJ&A branches.  One in the city & one at Ponte Vedra.  If I were you I'd talk with both managers.
BTW, a military background can be great in our business.  Many ex-military career people excel in our business.  I'd think it probably has something to do with the disciplined environment -- to succeed in our biz you need to have a very disciplined approach.  Also may have something to do with having clearly defined missions, stategically planning to achieve the mission, and doing all that it takes to accomplish it.
Hope this helps.

brwns99's picture
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Joined: 2005-10-17

Thanks Duke, precisely the sort of info I am looking for.  Any insight for me is a plus, regardless of the depth.  My plan is to practice my interviewing technique on the others and hopefully I will be tuned up for RJ and AGE.  That is, if I am offered interviews :)

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