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Raymond James's Wealth Management AUM Plunges 10% in Latest Quarter

By Alex Padalka January 24, 2019

Like many of its peers, Raymond James’s wealth management business saw substantial asset outflows in the last quarter of 2018, but the unit’s revenue and income reached new highs nonetheless, Raymond James says.

Raymond James’ Private Client Group posted a record $1.36 billion in quarterly net revenues in the company’s fiscal first quarter ending December 31, according to its latest quarterly earnings report.

That’s a 4% increase over the previous quarter and a 10% increase year over the same quarter in the previous year, Raymond James says. Quarterly pre-tax income likewise set a new record, reaching $164 million, which was 25% higher than the previous quarter and 6% higher year over the same quarter in the previous year, according to the report.

But the group’s assets under administration plummeted 9% in the last three months of the year, ending relatively flat for the year at $690.7 billion, Raymond James says. Assets under management dropped 10% from the previous quarter to $126.5 billion, which was also 3% lower than the year prior, according to the report. Raymond James attributes the decline, exactly as other wealth managers who’ve suffered the same fate, to dropping equity markets.

The company is far from alone in shedding assets in the last quarter of the year. UBS lost $7.9 billion in assets from its wealth management business in the last quarter. First Republic, which also saw a very profitable last quarter, likewise saw declines in assets in the last three month of 2018. And JPMorgan posted a 2% decline in assets for the year.

Raymond James, meanwhile, also slowed its aggressive recruiting in the last three months of 2018. While its advisor ranks expanded by 278 during the past 12 months, to 7,815, the company only added two new advisors since September, according to the report.

“We continue to experience strong levels of interest from prospective advisors across all of our affiliation options and benefit from low regrettable attrition of existing advisors,” Raymond James chairman and CEO Paul Reilly says in the report. “The net addition of financial advisors was low relative to recent quarters, partly due to a large number of planned retirements where the firm retained the vast majority of the client assets.”