Welcome to Financial Advisor IQ

$1 Billion Stifel Team Jumps to Raymond James

By Murray Coleman March 2, 2016

Last week, advisor Larry Goeas and his team jumped from full service brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel in Honolulu, Hawaii, to join Raymond James & Associates.

The group, which managed about $1 billion, includes his brother, Leo, and two staffers.

Although Raymond James has other affiliated independent offices in Hawaii, the move represents the first branch run by employees to open in the state.

Q: Why did you decide to make a move now?

A: Stifel had a good corporate culture. But my practice has been growing a lot in recent years in terms of bringing aboard new institutional clients.

It’s true that Stifel has also been growing a lot lately by buying stakes in other wealth managers. Still, very few of their acquisitions seemed directly related to helping us build our own institutional footprint.

Q: How long have you been considering a change?

A: It’s been in the works for more than a year. We met with three other broker-dealers. Since starting in the business in 1983 I’ve always worked for a broker-dealer, so I didn’t want to change firms and completely tear apart my business model. I’ve just never worked as an independent before.

Q: How did you make a final decision?

A: I wanted to stay with a regional firm rather than a big national brokerage.

That harkened back to the type of culture I had at AG Edwards, where I worked before joining Stifel.

Besides giving us the feel of working at a very locally focused firm, Raymond James offered us superior institutional and technology platforms.

Q: What do you now have in terms of institutional support that you didn’t before?

A: I’ve got a whole department at Raymond James dedicated to servicing just institutional clients, so we can design an investment policy and then take advantage of our in-house support to handle all of the monitoring of investment portfolios and handle much of the compliance work.

At Stifel, we had to do a lot of that ourselves.

Q: How much time do you think taking that off your plate will save now?

A: We’re expecting to double our office’s work efficiencies going forward.

We’ll now have much more time to spend with clients and more time to research investment ideas.

We’re also going to be able to devote much more of our energy on researching the best mutual fund and separate account managers to run portfolios for institutions.

Larry Goeas

Q: Isn’t a big part of your institutional business meeting with boards?

A: Yes, in dealing with directors and trustees it’s crucial to establish good working relationships with each board member.

Ultimately, we want to always be available and proactive to boards – not reactionary. So by having additional support at the institutional level, we’re expecting to be able to stay ahead of anticipating our larger clients’ needs to an even greater degree in the future.

Q: How about your new technology platform?

A: That’s the other key reason why we think this move will make us more productive. Now, everything we need from our computers for client management is all on one platform.

Essentially, we don’t have to jump around between software systems and generate tons of new reports.

We can do most everything online from a centralized “client center,” which has a drop down menu. At a click of a button, we can bring up screens to look at client accounts, portfolio performance data, individual asset allocations and even research managers as well as individual securities.

It’s a tremendous upgrade from what we had before in terms of both presenting material to clients as well as handling daily chores involving investment research and tracking account activities.

Q: Do you anticipate lower costs for your clients through this move?

A: We now have access to a deeper bench of management talent. That should create more competition in terms of investment choices we’ll be able to offer.

Over time, that should tend to force investment costs lower for our clients. But we see the real value coming as a result of being able to help people find better managers that can produce improved relative performance for their portfolios.

Q: How does joining Raymond James affect your compensation?

A: We didn’t get any big upfront bonuses or anything to come here and our payouts are pretty much the same as they were at Stifel.

But at age 56, I want to keep building our business and don’t plan to retire anytime soon. So for us, the real payoff should come from being able to take advantage of more internal resources to keep growing our book of clients.