Raymond James, which works with over 7,000 independent and employee advisors in the
U.S. and several other countries, recently
announced plans to launch its own robo
advisor. Advisors will get a preview of it
over the next few months, with a pilot
rollout and then a branch launch set for
later this year.
To get a better sense of the thinking
behind the technology project, we spoke
with Tash Elwyn, president of Raymond
James & Associates, the firm’s employee
channel. He has been with the St. Petersburg, Florida-based firm since 1993, when
he came on board as an advisor trainee.
Can you tell us a bit about the robo
feature of the new platform? How
will advisors use the robo to work
Elwyn: Our philosophy at Raymond James
has always been to support the advisor-client relationship and give advisors options based on how they choose to run their
businesses. Many in the industry have introduced robo advisors to disintermediate
financial advisors, but our digital platform
uses robo-like technology while keeping
the advisor-client relationship at its core.
Our strategy was to bridge an already
powerful advisor-centric technology infra-
structure with collaborative and client-fac-
ing digital tools that together comprise our
Connected Advisor digital advice platform.
Our advisors are able to use these tools to
work with clients at all stages of the rela-
tionship — from automating onboarding
to collaborating with clients to offering
more sophisticated support in address-
ing clients’ increasingly complex needs.
There will be an online information-gathering option for clients that will help
streamline the account opening process
for both advisors and clients. The automation will help create efficiencies within
an advisor’s practice and allow for more
time to build relationships.
Existing collaboration tools include
secure mobile client account information
for advisors to access anywhere and respond more quickly to client questions,
as well as Vault, a secure, cloud-based
file-sharing solution accessible via advisors’ websites or via Investor Access, our
client account access portal.
Other existing tools include Client Reporting, e-Signature and Goal Planning &
Monitoring, Raymond James’ retirement
planning software. The digital touchpoints
of Connected Advisor will aid in discovery and data collection, proposal review,
account opening, electronic agreements,
monitoring and more.
In the current environment, advisors
need to differentiate themselves with high-value services that address clients’ complex
needs, so we’re focusing on technology to
support our advisors with best practices
and sophisticated client insights. We’ll
harness data to provide insights around
client needs, which will help advisors optimize financial outcomes and manage risk.
Why did Raymond James decide to
design the robo-like feature alone vs.
using a partner?
Elwyn: Integration is an important consideration in all of our technology offerings,
and having an in-house digital platform
allows us to ensure the data is accurate,
the tools are fully integrated and the navigation is seamless. We have the resources
and capabilities to build what we need,
specific to our advisors and in keeping
with our culture, so we decided it would
be best to build the platform in-house.
Is Connected Advisor designed to help
advisors bring in new — perhaps younger,
Ready to Robo
Tash Elwyn of Raymond James reveals why the firm
decided to embrace its own digital solution
By JANET LEVAUX