Raymond James & Associates pulled off the upset of the year, beating Edward Jones for the top slot in employee satisfaction. RJ&A answered the question, “How would you rate your overall experience at the firm?”with, on average a nine out of 10 possible points. Of course, you may ask: Why is Raymond James included in what has heretofore been a wirehouse survey? Well, one reason, there are fewer firms in the post 2008-meltdown world. RJ&A also wanted to be surveyed, and managed to convince us to include them.

Yes, RJ&A has just 1,270 employee advisors with $80 billion in client assets. (Do not confuse RJ&A with Raymond James Financial Services, which is Raymond James' independent contractor broker/dealer.) Assets under management have grown over the five years ending 2009 at 20 percent CAGR. For its fiscal 2010 (ended Sept. 30), company wide net revenue set a record ($2.9 billion) and net income approached 2007's record ($228 billion). While the firm doesn't break out RJ&A from its private client group line in its earnings, for the year, private client group pre-tax income jumped by 89 percent.

To grow more, the firm needs to hire advisors away from rivals. So far, it seems to be doing all right on that front. “We successfully recruited financial advisors, investment bankers, public finance professionals, institutional sales people and traders, while much of the financial services industry was in shock,” said Raymond James Financial CEO Paul Reilly in a statement. As one RJ&A FA noted in the write-in section of the survey on why he would be staying with his firm: “[It's] an honest, ethical firm that places the interests of the client first and simply endeavors to assist the broker in doing what's best for each client.”

Share price (23 Nov.): $28.74
52-week high: $31.25
52-week low: $22.57
Net revenue (fiscal 2010): $2.9bn
Net income: $228mn
RJ&A total client AUM: $82bn
Number of FAs (RJ&A): 1,270
Ave. annualized production: $475,000
Ave. AUM per RJ&A FA: $68m
Fee-based client assets: 24%
Recurring revenues (including trail commissions and fee-based revenue): 50%

RJA hired 82 veteran FAs in its fiscal 2010 (not including trainees.)

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