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February 15, 2018

Raymond James looks beyond London for expansion

By Ronan McCaughey

Investment services firm, Raymond James, has been actively growing its branch network across the UK. With half a dozen locations opened across the South in 2017, the firm recognises the importance of locations that are core Raymond James branches and those which leverage the company’s capabilities. GlobalData Financial Services explains

The UK is a competitive market in which to offer financial services. And while London is the obvious target for wealth managers, there is ample opportunity in regions across the UK.

GlobalData’s UK Regional Wealth Markets Analytics shows the proportion of liquid assets held by HNW individuals in regions such as the East Midlands, East Anglia, and the South West are comparable to that of HNW individuals in London.

Furthermore, the future growth rate of HNW liquid assets in regions such as the South East and the South West is expected to be similar to that of HNW liquid assets in London.

As such, expansion remains a key component of success for many businesses. Not only can this provide an opportunity to capture greater market share, it also resonates with prospective clients who wish to diversify their investments across a range of providers.

As London and the surrounding region become more competitive with the continued growth of the HNW segment, more financial services providers will seek other regions in which to open offices and grow their client bases.

Raymond James stands out as a company actively growing its network by opening locations outside of central London. Operating as Raymond James Services Limited, the UK private client wealth management arm of US-based Raymond James Financial, the company carries out a two-pronged approach to office expansion. Firstly, it operates 56 core branches which service clients directly.

Notably, branches have a high degree of discretion. For example, Raymond James’ location in the Cotswolds does not require a minimum investment limit. Rather, clients with less than £100,000 in assets are invested in collectives. In addition, clients are also offered the option of choosing between two price structures: fee-only or a mixture of lower fee and dealing commission charges. This provides investors with flexibility and the option to spread their wealth across multiple providers for diversification in strategy and portfolio composition.

Secondly, there are also 54 other locations which leverage the Raymond James Investment Management Platform but trade under a different company name. These are essentially small advisor firms which service HNW investors and focus on discretionary investment management.

These firms can utilize the platform to gain access to a range of tax wrappers, guidance on remaining compliant, and several types of investments such as investment trusts and ETFs.

By employing this dual strategy, Raymond James can leverage its network of offices to provide services to markets in the surrounding area. And by strengthening brand presence outside of London, the company is able to tap into markets not yet saturated with competitors.

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