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Staff, stock buybacks up, tax rate down at Raymond James Financial

Margie Manning

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Raymond James Financial headquarters in Carillon in St. Petersburg

Raymond James Financial Inc., one of the largest companies in the Tampa-St. Pete area, grew its staff size by almost 2 percent its 2019 fiscal year.

The company also had a lower tax rate and bought back more stock in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2019 than it did in the year-ago period.

Raymond James (NYSE: RJF), a financial services firm headquartered in St. Petersburg, disclosed those details in its annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday.

The company posted net income of $1.03 billion, or $7.17 a share, on revenue of $7.7 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Revenue was up 6.4 percent, net income jumped 20 percent and earnings per share were up almost 25 percent.

Here are other highlights from the report, showing changes in the past two fiscal years.

Staff. As of Sept. 30, 2019, Raymond James had 14,200 employees, and 4,710 affiliated independent contractors. On the same day a year earlier, the company had 13,900 employees and 4,650 affiliated independent contractors.

Raymond James has been aggressively recruiting financial advisors. “We continue to recruit for long-term growth,” CEO Paul Reilly said in an Oct. 24 conference call with analysts.  “We believe that the franchise value of recruiting great advisors is key to what we do.”

Properties.  The company’s principal location, the Carillon Office Park, includes 1.25 million square feet that Raymond James owns. Raymond James also owns 65 acres in Pasco County, where it plans future development.

The company owns property in suburban Detroit, where it has an operations hub, and in Denver, where it has an information technology data center.

It also leases hundreds of offices globally, including several principal locations.

Taxes. The company’s effective income tax rate for 2019 was 24.8 percent, down from 34.8 percent in fiscal 2018. The tax rate fell after the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 took effect near the end of the company’s first quarter in fiscal 2018.

Stock repurchases. During fiscal 2019, Raymond James repurchased 9.83 million shares of common stock for $752 million, at an average price of about $76.50 per share. The total stock repurchased in fiscal 2018 was 691,997 shares, at an average price of $89.55 a share.

U.S. companies have spent billions of dollars on stock buybacks in the past decade, fueled in part by the tax cut in 2017.

Stock price. The company’s stock opened at $84.33 on Oct. 2, 2017, the first day of fiscal 2018, and hit a high of $102.17 in the fiscal third quarter of 2018. It’s fallen back since then, closing at $82.45 on Sept. 30, the last day of fiscal 2019. It closed Friday at $89.82 a share.

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