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Raymond James CEO affirms Black diversity pledge

Margie Manning



Paul Reilly, chairman and CEO, Raymond James Financial

Paul Reilly, chairman and CEO of Raymond James Financial, says the St. Petersburg-based financial services firm is “absolutely committed” to delivering on its pledge to increase Black diversity throughout the company.

The company, one of the largest businesses headquartered in St. Petersburg, has always been focused on social justice, Reilly told analysts during a conference call Thursday. He said the recent social unrest emphasized the need to be even more vocal and public with its advocacy.

Reilly and other leaders of Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) signed the pledge last month. One provision in the pledge said Raymond James would spend an initial $1.5 million to support advancement of its Black communities.

“We just didn’t want to write a check, but rather wanted to use financial commitments to activate our associates to really make a difference,” Reilly said during the Thursday conference call. “So in addition to our financial commitment, we released the pledge to the Black community, which was signed, not just by me, but all members of our executive committee, our operating committee and our board of directors as well as many other associates across the firm. One major component of that pledge is to increase Black diversity throughout the firm which will require significant efforts that we know will not be achieved overnight, but we are absolutely committed to delivering on this pledge.”

The pledge also commits Raymond James to establishing explicit goals and transparent reporting to strengthen accountability in hiring and retaining Black workers. It says the company will launch a mentoring initiative and develop resources on topics such as unconscious bias.

It declares Juneteenth a firmwide day of service and education. Last month, on June 19, Raymond James held a firmwide virtual webinar on race and its impact on the workplace, a news release said.

Related story: Community Voices: An Open Letter from Tash Elwyn, CEO of Raymond James & Associates

Thursday’s conference call was the second one Raymond James has had with analysts during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Reilly and Paul Shoukry, chief financial officer, used the call to also provide an update on how the firm was weathering the crisis.

During the third quarter of the company’s 2020 fiscal year, the three months ended June 30, quarterly net revenue was $1.83 billion, down 5 percent compared to the prior year’s fiscal third quarter, and down 11 percent compared to the second quarter of FY 2020.

Quarterly net income was $172 million, or $1.23 a share, down 34 percent compared to net income in the prior year’s fiscal third quarter and up 2 percent over the preceding quarter. The drop in net income primarily was due to an $81 million loan loss provision for Raymond James Bank, which set aside money to account for loans to companies that may struggle to repay them during the pandemic.

Given economic uncertainty, the company is evaluating ways to cut costs and find efficiencies, Shoukry said.

“We are currently engaged in a firmwide process of evaluating both compensation and non-compensation expenses to improve efficiency while maintaining our high service standards,” he said.

Raymond James is one of the largest property owners, taxpayers and employers in St. Petersburg. The company’s real estate needs will likely evolve, Shoukry said, although he did not provide additional details.

He also said the company would continue making growth investments, including recruiting financial advisors and beefing up technology.

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    Jane Brigham

    August 1, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Excellent, please keep us updated on RJ progress, and maybe outline more specific areas of change need. Please include board of directors and their position on the topic.
    Jane Brigham

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