Nearly half of the broker-dealers — including the four wirehouses — contacted by FA-IQ are in various stages of reopening and with varied policies on vaccination and mask mandates.
The rest either declined to share their current return-to-office plans or were not prepared to reveal them at this point.
[Editor’s Note: Scroll down for table of responses.]
Advisors at Goldman Sachs have been welcome back in the office since June 10, and the firm mandates that they reveal their vaccination status, a spokesperson says.
For those who are unvaccinated, masks must be worn in the office, and Covid-19 tests are required on a weekly basis.
RBC Wealth Management has had employees in the office on a voluntary basis since September 7 and is expected to undergo a full return on October 4, according to a spokesperson.
The firm encourages vaccines and/or masks, but they are not requirements, the spokesperson adds.
“The health and safety of our employees and clients is our top priority,” an RBC Wealth spokesperson wrote in an email. “RBC is currently strongly encouraging vaccinations wherever possible for our employees, while also asking employees to wear masks and maintain physical distances in accordance with local guidelines.”
Since the pandemic is evolving, RBC Wealth will continue to monitor public health and government guidance as well as developments related to the virus and its variants, according to the spokesperson.
Raymond James’ office has been open to employees who want to come in voluntarily, and full reopening isn’t expected until October 11 at the earliest, according to a spokesperson.
That’s an adjustment from an earlier plan for Raymond James employees to return to the office on September 13. In a letter to Raymond James’ associates and advisors in July, chairman and CEO Paul Reilly wrote that the firm was planning on the September date but would make adjustments as necessary in light of the pandemic and embrace more flexible work arrangements.
“While we continue to monitor reports from health officials and recognize how quickly things can change, I’m excited to say that we’re ready to return to the office, to be together again,” Reilly wrote in July.
Stifel Financial is leaving specific return-to-office dates to local branch offices, and non-vaccinated employees are required to wear masks, according to a spokesperson.
Stifel has been taking a localized approach to dealing with Covid-19-related issues, which has “worked well throughout the various stages of the pandemic,” a Stifel spokesperson wrote in an email. “The health and safety of our employees guides our policies, and we understand the need for flexibility as conditions change”
The company is balancing its employees’ safety with the belief that in-person work and collaboration is important.
“Generally speaking, there is no doubt to us about the importance of being physically together. The benefits are clear — in training, collaboration, innovation, networking and more,” the spokesperson said.
LPL Financial employees will return to the office “when the time is right,” according to a spokesperson. The firm is closely monitoring the pandemic, including the spread of the delta variant, the spokesperson notes.
“[W]e continue to seek guidance from health and government agencies, as well as leading medical professionals,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “We will take a thoughtful and phased approach to bringing employees back into the office when the time is right.”
Spokespeople for Ameriprise Financial, Advisor Group, Cetera Financial Group, Commonwealth Financial Network, Edward Jones, Janney Montgomery Scott, JPMorgan either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for information.
JPMorgan has reversed course on allowing employees vaccinated against Covid-19 to be at the office without wearing a mask.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you are required to wear a mask in any common area within our buildings, including when walking between desks/moving around the floor, on elevators and in pantries, cafes, lobbies, etc.,” chief executive officer Jamie Dimon and the rest of JPMorgan’s operating committee wrote in the memo reported by Bloomberg earlier this month. “You may remove your mask in conference rooms or at your workspace where you can socially distance.”
Among the wirehouses, Wells Fargo recently pushed back its planned return-to-office date from September to early October. The firm is encouraging but not requiring vaccines and will require masking in all its locations.
Merrill Lynch is asking employees to come back into the office after Labor Day. The firm is not requiring vaccines but is encouraging employees to get them and to inform the firm of their status. Merrill employees will also have to wear masks in the office except when at their desks.
Morgan Stanley is requiring vaccines for employees in its New York City and Westchester, New York offices, where many of its employees are based, though policies elsewhere vary. In offices where vaccines are required, it won’t require masking. The firm is also not imposing a specific return-to-office deadline, though CEO James Gorman has exhorted employees to return if they can.
UBS didn’t respond to a request for comment on its policies. CEO Ralph Hamers wrote in Time magazine earlier this month that the financial service industry needs to embrace hybrid work arrangements because clients — not just staff — are ready for a transition.
Editor's Note: Story updated at 1:00 p.m. ET
In LinkedIn post earlier Friday, RBC president and CEO Dave McKay wrote that the bank is requiring employees to get vaccinated before returning to offices.
"We believe vaccines are the best way to keep our workplaces safe and help our communities reduce the spread of COVID-19 variants such as Delta. That’s why RBC will be requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated to work on any of our premises, in regions where we are permitted to do so," he wrote on the post.
"This effort will begin in Canada and the U.S., where those who are able to be fully vaccinated will be required to do so by October 31," he added.
RBC will continue to follow evolving government and public health guidance and adjust its health and safety policies where appropriate, according to McKay.
"Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our clients, colleagues, and communities," he wrote on the post.
— With additional reporting from Peter Rawlings
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