Raymond James Reviews: What You Should Know (Fees, Customer Reviews, Brokerage, Advisors)

For investors looking for a financial advisory firm with a solid reputation of growth and that’s been around for a while, Raymond James Financial is one worth considering.

This investment and wealth management firm has been helping clients achieve their financial goals for nearly 60 years. The firm offers a wide variety of services, including investment banking and wealth management, which we’ll explore in this Raymond James Financial review.

Raymond James asset management services are focused on helping individuals, corporations, and municipalities reach their unique goals and achieve financial well-being.

raymond james financial review

Raymond James Reviews

You may have seen a football game at Raymond James Stadium® in Tampa and wondered about namesake. Or you may have run across online ads for the Raymond James Find an Advisor feature of its site and had questions about the firm’s reputation.

If you’ve been wondering, “Should I use Raymond James for financial management?” or questioning if Raymond James mutual funds are going to maximize your returns, this article should help answer those questions.

We will go through Raymond James’ customer reviews, fees, the actual Raymond James brokerage firm, and its advisors. We’ll also take a look at the key components of the firm, including Raymond James investment banking and Raymond James wealth Management.

Would you like to know who is Raymond James or what is Raymond James? We’ll answer that as well by taking a look at the firm’s history and how it got started.

From looking at multiple Raymond James reviews, the company’s reputation, and multiple other factors, we’ve come up with an overall rating for Raymond James investments that we’ll reveal at the end.

Whether you’re a mom and pop investor, family trust, commercial venture, or institution, the fact is that you — like any wise investor — want to optimize your investments. We all seek maximum returns on the money we choose to invest.

And while we may ourselves know the investment scene, the fact is that many of us turn to the professionals like Raymond James investment services. Firms like Raymond James offer specialized industry knowledge and expertise that comes from years of managing multiple client investments.

See Also: How to Find and Choose a Financial Advisor

Raymond James Review | About Raymond James Financial Services

Raymond James is a full-service investment firm with statistics that speak for itself in terms of both its historical presence and current business activity.

Started in 1962, the present company was created when Raymond and Associates and Robert A. James Investments merged in 1964. In 1983, Raymond James became a public company and hadn’t looked back.

Many people wonder, “Who is Raymond James?” they mistakenly believe this person must be the company founder. But they should actually be asking, “What is Raymond James” instead. We’ll explain below.

Who Is Raymond James?

The name Raymond James Financial came about when Edward Raymond sold Raymond and Associates to Bob James, founder of Robert A. James Investments. Raymond James is not one person, but two.

“What is Raymond James” is the combination of both the entrepreneurs’ last names, Raymond and James.

Who Is Raymond James Current CEO?

The Raymond James CEO that currently heads up the company is Paul C. Reilly. Mr. Reilly has a rich history in the financial services industry and has served on the firm’s board of directors since 2006.

Mr. Reilly has been serving as Chairman and Raymond James CEO since 2010.

Raymond James Financial Reviews

In terms of historical presence in the market, Raymond James investment services aren’t going anywhere soon, which is a good thing when looking for a partner to invest with.

When it comes to business activity, a Raymond James review of statistics is glowing. The firm’s performance in 2019, is an indicator of why investors choose a Raymond James financial advisor to trust with their nest egg.

In our Raymond James financial services reviews of the firm’s 2019 annual report, detailing performance figures, you catch a glimpse of its activity and success.

Despite market volatility during the year, including a 14% reduction in the S&P 500 index, the firm reported that it was able to end the year with record annual revenues and earnings.

Reviewing the Raymond James online report reveals that the firm credits its conservative and diversified business model for the ability of Raymond James investments to perform well despite market uncertainty.

Financial statistics heading into 2020 for Raymond James Financial include:

  • Client assets under administration total $838.2 billion
  • Annual net revenue totals $7.74 billion
  • Annual net income totals $1.03 billion
  • Return on equity was 16.2%

If these statistics are anything to go by, Raymond James advisors are great at what they do, and the firm is a prime pick for many a savvy investor.

Additionally, with a large and experienced team, it is fairly easy to find a Raymond James financial advisor in your area who is the right fit for you. Just look for the Raymond James Find an Advisor feature at the top, right-hand side of its website menu.

Reviewing Raymond James’ online information, we found that as of September 30, 2019, the firm had 14, 200 employees and 4,710 affiliated independent contractor Raymond James advisors.

Raymond James Financial and Raymond James’ mutual funds’ affiliated advisors have garnered multiple accolades over the years. Some of the most recent from 2019 include:

  • Raymond James analysts received 9 awards in the 2019 StarMine Analyst Awards from Refinitiv
  • Raymond James investment banking professionals recognized as Emerging Leaders by The M&A Advisors
  • Three International Deal of the Year Awards for Raymond James investment banking from The M&A Advisors

Additional accolades for Raymond James advisors have included:

With a wide range of accolades and awards every year, it is safe to say that you’ll if you use Raymond James Find and Advisor to seek investment guidance, be able to connect with an experienced professional.

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Raymond James Review | Raymond James Financial Services

Whether you’re seeking Raymond James brokerage assistance or wealth management services, you’ll find a full range of institutional and individual financial solutions.

Raymond James wealth management encompasses a broad range of financial services to help people plan for retirement, fund their future dreams, and reduce risk.

Have you been wondering, “Should I use Raymond James, or will I find them lacking in some things I need?”

Those considering Raymond James asset management and unsure whether they can get other financial products there as well will appreciate the fact that the firm can handle multiple needs.

Raymond James wealth management services cover some of the following common financial needs:

  • Investment solutions
  • Financial & retirement planning
  • Estate, charitable giving, and trust services
  • Banking and lending services
  • Insurance solutions
  • Institutional services
  • Private wealth services

In the area of Raymond James investments, you’ll find a well-diversified choice of options, which include things like Raymond James mutual funds, closed-end funds, convertible securities, unit investment trusts, and much more.

While we know that Raymond James is a full-service investment firm, the company provides a range of investment services for corporations and institutions, including:

  • Raymond James investment banking
  • Global equities & investment banking
  • Public finance
  • Fixed income capital markets
  • Depository institution services
  • Additional institution services​

An expert Raymond James review conducted by Andrew Polacek for ConsumerAffairs.com suggests that Raymond James is ideally suited to owners of private corporations, public companies, and family operations; middle-market executives; and representatives of private equity firms, family offices, local government, and sovereigns.

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Raymond James Financial | Raymond James Reviews of Fees & Customer Feedback

There’s no denying that the fees of an investment firm are important, especially when the individual, family, commercial enterprise, or institution is seeking to maximize profits. It’s simple: steep fees cut into returns.

So, when we undertake a Raymond James review of fees, we first look at Raymond James’ online fee information. The top tier investment firm breaks down its client account fees into a range of charges that may or may not be applicable, depending upon the Raymond James asset management services you use.

When working with a Raymond James financial advisor, you may be subject to the following fees:

  • Account fees – Includes annual maintenance fees, Raymond James & Associated retirement account fees, Guardianship/Conservatorship account fees and annual pledged account fees
  • Processing fees – Includes things like handling and processing, returned deposits, payment extensions, mailgram, foreign security processing, exchange fees, and others
  • Service fees – Certified or cashier’s checks, wiring funds, early payout, check disbursement, foreign exchange conversion, and short sales
  • Capital Access account fees – Annual fees, service fees, and ATM surcharge
  • Raymond James Bank fees – Includes Choice rate checking account fees and domestic and foreign wire transfer fees
  • Complimentary services – Includes such items as online account access through Client Access at Raymond James online, cost basis information, TurboTax®, direct deposit, and more.

raymond james review

2020 Raymond James Reviews

Raymond James Reviews by Clients

In terms of fees, TopRatedFirms.com gave a Raymond James financial services review a score of two stars out of five in its “Customers Rating.”  This is a reduction of one star from our last Raymond James financial reviews of just three years ago.

This low score indicates that the Raymond James review on TopRatedFirms shows fees may be going in the wrong direction, at least according to the clients of Raymond James investment services and Raymond James investment banking.

Digging deeper into Raymond James’ customer reviews on TopRatedFirms.com shows a number of disgruntled customers in relation to the fees charged.

Although perhaps not a balanced forum in terms of satisfied customers, such negative Raymond James review comments relate to high fees, high commissions, not waiving fees.

Complaints in Raymond James’ reviews also mentioned that actual fees ended up being much more than the initial fee quoted.

One of the reviewers stated they’d been with their Raymond James brokerage since 2006 and were seeing unwelcome changes in the company over the past several years:

“I now feel the need to keep constant watch on my account. I am not pleased with the changes that has taken place in their firm nor with their Brokers’. And like I said it doesn’t seem that RJ, as a whole, is concerned with their clients as much as they are with doing well themselves.”

However, as one Raymond James investment services customer noted in their review:

“Investment firms are more expensive, however if you believe lower cost will lead to better performance results you are wrong. Study after study proves this. Educate yourself then go find a good advisor who charges a reasonable fee and explains what you get for that fee. They are rare, however they exist. You have good advisors at bad firms and bad advisors at good firms. Generally speaking Raymond James is a good firm with good advisors.”

In fairness, there are those clients that are very happy with their Raymond James financial advisor and Raymond James investments.

In one of the recent positive Raymond James reviews, the reviewer noted:

“Very pleased with our advisor. Known him for about 10 years. Returns have been much better than our previous life insurance company investments. Glad we switched to RJ.”

However, it does appear that many more reviews on the site would give a negative answer to the question, “Should I use Raymond James?”.

Raymond James Reviews of Past Violations/Fines

There’s no repudiating that a Raymond James review does indeed bring up fee-related incidents that date back to around 2005.

For example, the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) fined Raymond James & Associates Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services Inc. $750,000 for violations surrounding its fee-based Raymond James brokerage business, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Investopedia.

Then, in 2011, FINRA ordered Raymond James mutual funds to pay restitution for excessive commissions for activity related to client accounts from 2006 to 2010.

In May of 2016, FINRA fined Raymond James a total of $17 million due to widespread failures throughout the firm’s anti-money laundering programs.

In September of 2019, Raymond James entities were fined $15 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for improperly charging advisory fees on inactive retail client accounts and charging excess commissions to Raymond James brokerage clients.

What this Raymond James review clearly shows is, like any service you are purchasing, do your homework first. A Raymond James customer review definitively turns up some concerns and queries; however, Raymond James is transparent on its website regarding fees and is being closely watched over by FINRA.

The pattern of overcharging clients found from doing Raymond James Financial reviews is undoubtedly troubling and would naturally give anyone pause when asking themselves, “Should I use Raymond James?”

This Raymond James review demonstrates that you, as an investor, should do your homework to learn advertised fees upfront and accept them before purchasing its services.

As it’s is always a good practice, you’ll also want to keep an eye on fees being charged to your account on an ongoing basis and review your individual advisor rather than just Raymond James as a whole since advisor quality may vary.

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Raymond James Customer Reviews | Service, Brokerage, & Advisors

In addition to Paul Reilly, the Raymond James CEO and Chairman. There is also a leadership team of twelve other executives that oversee the firm and its various divisions.

Beyond fees, which we looked at specifically in the last section, the other side of the coin are investments and how customers feel about Raymond James’ wealth management performance.

One indicator of this is the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Full-Service Investment Satisfaction StudySM. And this gives a more favorable view of Raymond James reviews than when looking at fees.

In terms of customer satisfaction, Raymond James is tied for fourth with Charles Schwab out of 21 full-service investment firms that were included. The ranking is based upon responses from 4,532 investors, and it asks them to review 8-factors, including:

  • Financial advisor
  • Account information
  • Investment performance
  • Firm interaction
  • Product offerings
  • Commission and fees
  • Information resources
  • Problem resolution

J.D.Power Investor Satisfaction Study

J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Full-Service Investor Satisfaction StudySM

When looking at more factors, it seems that Raymond James reviews by investors are favorable. A ranking in the top five of full-service investment firms for investor satisfaction is definitely a good sign.

Of note for our Raymond James review is that past J.D. Power studies have found that fees and commissions can be a point of confusion for many investors.

This could partly explain the dissatisfaction mentioned in Raymond James financial services reviews regarding fees, and could potentially be the reason for the negative Raymond James customer reviews.

When comparing the Raymond James customer reviews on TopRatedFirms and the J.D. customer review rating of multiple firms, including Raymond James Financial, we see a different picture. But perhaps some clarity from J.D. Power can help us understand the difference.

In the J.D. Power study of investor satisfaction, fees were just one of eight review factors. So, investors that may have scored the company lower on fee satisfaction could’ve ranked Raymond James investment services higher on multiple other factors, which would aggregate to an overall higher score.

Additionally, J.D. Power noted that due to a volatile market, those investors with resilient and well-performing portfolios exhibited trust for their financial advisors and overall satisfaction.

As previously noted in this Raymond James review of company performance, the firm has been performing exceptionally well and came into 2020 strong.

Raymond James’ customer reviews mentioned integrity, excellent service, and well-trained and experienced advisors as these are key qualities to look for in an investment advisor of any type.

Raymond James’ customer reviews negative comments run the full gamut of multiple service issues. These are largely relating to excess commissions and fees, as well as feeling their Raymond James financial advisor wasn’t doing enough for their portfolio

Related complaints in those Raymond James reviews include poor service, unethical behavior, poor advice, deceit, lack of integrity, mismanagement, and inadequate knowledge.

The fact that Raymond James advisors may be independent contractors, i.e., not direct employees of the firm, can also explain the varying levels of satisfaction.

As the Raymond James financial services reviews demonstrate, there can surely be good and bad advisors affiliated with any investment company. And by the number of accolades that the Raymond James’ advisors have been picking up, there are many good ones available. Just do your homework carefully!

Read More: Do You Need a Financial Advisor?

Conclusion: Raymond James Review 

Whichever way you approach your investments and whatever Raymond James financial reviews you use to make your decision, there’s no denying that Raymond James’ mutual funds and investments have done well for many clients.

When researching Raymond James online, you’ll find both positive and negative information, but overall, the company’s annual financial report points to a well-run firm. Albeit one that may charge fees higher than you’ll see at other investment companies.

If we were only rating Raymond James Financial on its performance and its best advisors, they’d get top marks. The firm’s financial reports show a firm that knows how to make money for its shareholders and clients even during turbulent economic times.

However, many investors put trust first and foremost in a relationship with their financial advisor. The recurring fines from FINRA and the SEC for Raymond James financial advisors are not a good sign of trust or fiduciary responsibility.

A Raymond James advisor either makes or breaks the customer’s experience. With such a significant presence and number of independent advisors, it’s easy to see how this Raymond James review brought up such diverse customer experiences.

Our overall rating for Raymond James is 3 stars out of 5, due to the ongoing issue with Raymond James advisors charging excess commissions and breaking the trust of their clients.

While these may be independent contractors, they are under the Raymond James umbrella, and the company would be expected to police those advisors operating under its name.

However, for those most interested in performance, Raymond James Financial has proven to be a solid performer with a high ranking by JD Power.

If you think you may be interested in using Raymond James investment services, you can find a Raymond James advisor by zip code, city, or name using the company’s Raymond James Find an Advisor feature on the firm’s website.

Image Sources:

  • https://www.raymondjames.com/
  • https://www.raymondjames.com/about-us/company-history
  • https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2020-us-full-service-investor-satisfaction-study

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