Raymond James Financial Inc. isn’t just the largest financial services firm headquartered in the Tampa-St. Pete area.
It’s also a technology powerhouse, spending about $400 million a year on technology across all its lines of business and employing about 1,300 people who support and develop its technology platforms, said Vin Campagnoli, chief information officer.
The company showed off seven key technologies at its June 21 analyst and investor day at the New York Stock Exchange, the first time it has held an event at that location. It’s one signal of the growth of Raymond James (NYSE: RJF), which has evolved from a southeast regional brokerage to a national player and a rival to Wall Street firms.
Recruiting and retaining financial advisors plays a big role in that growth, and technology is essential to bringing a financial advisor onboard and keeping that advisor, said Paul Reilly, chairman and CEO.
“Recruits today are still shocked, no matter what firm they come from, at the tools and the resources and the technology available on their desktop,” Reilly said.
In a competitive industry, technology is a differentiator, Campagnoli said.
“We all talk about the culture of Raymond James. We talk about how advisors come here and make this a destination because of culture. We also believe that technology is a differentiator, that people will come to this firm because of the technology differentiation that we offer,” he said. “That keeps our advisors in their seats and it attracts advisors to the firm. We believe that investment, that connection with our advisors, is extremely important.”
Raymond James builds its technology “from the mind of the advisor,” Campagnoli said.
There’s a technology advisory council that spans every division of the company and meets regularly, developing technology as if they are sitting in the advisor’s seat, he said.
“It has to be simple and easy to use. Advisors don’t like change. It’s got to be intuitive. It’s got to be tightly integrated so they flow from one thing to the next. It’s got to be customizable … It’s got to be fast. It’s got to be secure and it’s got to be stable,” he said. “We can develop great technology. If it’s not up and running, if it’s not running quick, they’re not going to use it. So we value a lot of our spend on making it fast, secure as well as stable.”
Here are the technologies the company highlighted at the investor event.
Advisor Mobile is an app that allows advisors to take their office with them. “They could be at their beach house, they could be at a meeting, they could be at dinner — and they have everything they need to manage that client relationship at their fingertips,” Campagnoli said.
Client Access is the client’s website and the mobile app. It gives clients the capability to view account details, transfer funds and pay bill, as well as plan and monitor goals and store important documents.
Client Center and RJ CRM is a customer relationship management tool that gives advisors a “360-degree view” of accounts.
Client Reporting. “When a client sits down with an advisor and does a quarterly or annual review, we have a packaging system which will blow you away,” Campagnoli said. It allows an advisor to put together a review package quickly. “The power of this is that in the past it would take multiple hours to build that system. Now they not only can do it in minutes, but they can save it and schedule it over time. If they want to meet with them the next quarter, it generates a new report, based on updated information and the documents presented to them.”
Portfolio Management helps advisors build, monitor and transact within a portfolio.
Product Catalog brings together 21 data sources such as Morningstar, Thomson Reuters and Moody’s, into a single system. “Think of it as one tearsheet that they can see across all of these different data sources in one place. It’s very efficient and a productivity gain for them as they build portfolios and monitor them,” Campagnoli said.
Raymond James also showed off its information security systems, which include state-of-the-art defenses, 24/7/365 cyber threat monitoring, cyber advisor services for advisors, security awareness resources for clients and secure collaboration tools for advisors and clients.
Many of the technology products have won industry awards, Reilly said.
“Now in technology, you never win the war forever. You can’t rest so we continue to invest, because you have to stay ahead, as we launch the client-facing systems that tie to the advisor are starting to roll out now too,” he said.