He Broke into the Business by Not Taking ‘No’ for an Answer
This profile is part of an ongoing series examining members of the FT 400 list of elite brokerage-based advisors. Compiled by FA-IQ’s sister publication Ignites Research, the rankings score FAs based on six criteria: total assets, asset-growth rates, experience, credentials, online accessibility and compliance records.
Advisor Randy Carver is no stranger to adversity. When he was a teenager, doctors diagnosed him with cancer. At 24, a stalled engine caused the plane he was piloting to crash, crushing his ribs, lungs and voice box.
Today, the 52-year-old advisor isn’t just cancer-free and flying over the skies of his Mentor, Ohio, home. Carver is also one of Raymond James’ most prolific independent advisors, heading a practice that manages $1.1 billion.
“He’s been an exceptionally consistent top producer for more than 20 straight years,” says Scott Whitley, a senior vice president at Raymond James who has known Carver for more than two decades. “Calling him an overachiever is probably an understatement.”
Besides being recognized as an FT 400 advisor, Carver has been a perennial member of Raymond James’ Chairman’s Council, a select group representing the top 3% in production among 3,600 FAs in the firm’s independent network.
“In this business,” says Carver, “you’re either eating, breathing and thinking about your clients’ planning issues all of the time or you’re just trying to be average.”
When he was a college senior, Carver admits to only having had a passing interest in planning as a career. But that changed when some Edward Jones recruiters cold-shouldered his inquiries about becoming an advisor.
After digging into the field, Carver says he became convinced that advising was a perfect path to pursue.
“I realized there was a passion inside of me to help others overcome their own financial adversities,” he recalls.
As a result, a 20-year-old Carver drove across two states to make his case in person at a company event where he’d heard that the firm’s chief executive would be present.
When he arrived, Carver found the receptionist in tears. Apparently her brother had been in a bad car accident and she hadn’t had been able to arrange for the branch office to get a fresh coat of paint.
So young Carver, always sympathetic to others in need, pitched in. Since festivities weren’t scheduled to begin until the next morning, he stayed up all night painting the office.
In return, the advisor in charge of the local operation made sure Carver got a chance to make his pitch to the boss.
And Carver was hired on the spot.
“Taking ‘no’ for an answer about something you really want is just stupid,” he says. “If you accept rejection, it just shows that you really didn’t want it in the first place.”
His practice, which includes five other advisors and a dozen support staffers, doesn’t assign clients to any single advisor. Instead, each client is assigned a planning team.
“That helps us to make sure even the smallest of issues don’t fall through the cracks,” says Carver. “It also creates a real team environment for our advisors where they can lean on each other’s unique strengths throughout the planning process.”
Typically he works six days a week. But that’s down from seven days and 80-plus hours a few years ago. Much of that is credited by Carver to building out an experienced and caring team.
Still, the veteran advisor doubts he’ll ever work a normal 40-hour week.
“If someone emails me with a question at nine at night,” he asks, “what am I supposed to do – wait until the next day?”
Carver is also a big proponent of putting on special events to give back to his community. For example, his staff is hosting a golf tourney later this summer to support a local charity. Also in the works is a baseball outing to help build interest in a nearby minor league team.
But his staff also puts on a variety of nonfinancial-themed seminars and group trips for families. For example, Carver just got back from hosting an eight-day trip to Europe for several of his longtime clients.
“People really appreciate it when you show genuine interest in who they are as human beings,” he says. “So the idea behind all of our seminars and special events is just to have some fun and get to know our clients a little better.”