Jan. 5, 2001 Raymond James Financial (RJF) wants former Prudential Securities CEO Wick Simmons as a member of its board of directors, despite the fact that Simmons plans to become CEO of Nasdaq in February.

The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company’s board will convene during the annual shareholders meeting on Feb. 8 to consider expanding the board from 13 to 15 directors. If the motion is approved, the board will appoint Simmons as a member "subject to determination that no conflict will exist with [his] appointment as the upcoming CEO of the Nasdaq Stock Market," according to a RJF proxy statement filed Dec. 22.

Larry Silver, RJF director of marketing, tells RR Online the firm tapped Simmons as a possible board member before he was offered the Nasdaq job. Approval from Nasdaq is required before Simmons can join the RJF board, Silver says. Silver didn’t know if RJF has asked for permission. Simmons stepped down from his post as president and CEO of Prudential Securities in October (see RR Online Exclusives, Dec. 8, 2000).

Separately, RJF reported in its annual 10-K report to the SEC that the number of brokers working for the firm jumped 10% to 4,245 retail producers in fiscal year 2000, which ended Sept. 29. The retail sales force includes 320 brokers who joined when Raymond James bought broker/dealer Roney & Co. on May 28, 1999.

RJF also reported its 16th consecutive year of record revenues in fiscal 2000. Revenues jumped 38% to roughly $1.7 billion and profits increased 47% to $125 million. Fee business represented 46% of total revenues, up from 36% five years ago.

"Due to the ongoing investment in back office capabilities and technology, the company was in a position to handle these increases," the 10-K report says.

However, RJF executives are entering the new year with a $40 million legal judgment hanging over their heads. On June 19, 2000, a U.S. District Court jury in Kentucky found that two of the firm’s subsidiaries defrauded Corporex Realty and Investments. According to the 10-K, the RJF subsidiaries reneged on an agreement to provide $18 million in financing to Corporex. The jury awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages, according to RJF’s 10-K. The firm plans to appeal. -- Mike Hayes

Editor's note: For any comments regarding this article, or to suggest a story idea for RR Online or Registered Representative magazine, contact Editor in Chief Dan Jamieson at dan_jamieson@intertec.com, Online Editor Rick Weinberg at rick_weinberg@intertec.com, Online Managing Editor Cheryl Cooper at cheryl_cooper@intertec.com or Senior Editor Michael Hayes at mike_hayes@intertec.com