NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brokerage and investment bank Raymond James Financial Inc just completed its best broker recruiting year since 2009, the firm reported on Thursday.
The firm added a net of 68 U.S.-based advisers in the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2013, bringing the total to 6,265 advisers. Actual recruitment was far higher, but many new hires were offset by brokers retiring and moving to other firms, said Paul Shoukry, Raymond James' vice president of finance and investor relations.
"Just looking at the net addition of 68 advisors really understates the growth we had in the year," Shoukry said in an email to Reuters.
In 2009, Raymond James reported its U.S.-based sales force rose by 300 advisers to a net total of 4,781 financial advisers from the year before.
That year, the firm added hundreds of so-called "breakaway advisers" who, frustrated by the global financial collapse and a flurry of bank mergers, had defected from the larger securities brokerages in search of smaller, independent firms.
According to Reuters' records of publicly announced adviser moves, Raymond James hired at least 80 financial advisers and managers who managed more than $2 billion in assets since the start of the fiscal year.
Reuters records show at least four advisers left Raymond James since Sept. 30, 2013, who managed a combined $614 million in assets at the firm.
Reuters tracks the moves of advisers who either manage at least $100 million in client assets or produced $1 million in annual revenue for their firm.
These records also show that Raymond James remains attractive to breakaway advisers. Of the 80 brokers that joined the firm this fiscal year, nearly all came from the four big securities brokerages: Bank of America's Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo & Co's Wells Fargo Advisors and UBS AG's UBS Wealth Management Americas.
Raymond James Chief Executive Officer Paul Reilly said new brokers were attracted to his firm's trading and investment technology, growing brand recognition and "steady culture" of the firm, unlike larger brokerages, because there is little turn over or changes in leadership. He made the comments during an earnings call the day after the firm released its fiscal fourth quarter earnings.
Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Bernard Orr