Raymond James question

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Jan 19, 2006 10:29 pm

What is the REAL difference between the independent contractor and independent employee models in terms of pros & cons?

Do I understand correctly that with the indep employee there is upfront money involved (what%?) and still 65-80% payout whereas the indy contractor is no upfront $ and 80-90% payout?

Does anyone know what the upfront % number is for indy employee, and how soon can you transition to indy contractor (5yrs?).

Assuming $600M gross and 100 mil AUM

Many thanks

Jan 19, 2006 11:19 pm

I don't have all the answers on the various models, but I CAN tell you that RJ offers full indys some upfront $$$, although probably not near what an employee would get.  With your gross and AUM, I'd go indy right now.  The increase in payout will eventually net you a lot more than the upfront differential.

If you want to learn more about indy firms, there is an old thread I started when I was looking to go indy back last May.  I think it is titled "Raymond James vs. LPL".

Good Luck.

Jan 20, 2006 8:42 am

Anyone?  Come on, theres alot of RJ people here.  Did any of you go the ind employee route and if so why?  

Many thanks

Jan 20, 2006 10:15 am

You can learn everything you need between the two through an RJFS recruiter, as they can recruit to either RJFS (indy contractor) or RJ "advisor select" (indy employee) and don't get paid any differently so they can give objective advice to you.  But, here's what I know, but you should verify w/ recruiter:

Payout:  RJFS (indy contractor) 80-90% (depending on product), less ticket charges.  RJAS (indy employee) 70-80% (depending on production), with NO ticket charges.  As a $600k producer under RJAS, you'd be at 71% on general securities business and 76% on funds, insurance, annuities & most fee-based accounts.  Obviously, with no ticket charges the stated payout differences narrow between RJFS's higher payout.

Upfront money:  Actually, it's not so much up-front money for either of these models as it is "transition assistance" to help defray costs of getting started.  As I understand the max at your production level under either structure would be 5% of T12.  If you need more capital, there are loans available (repayable over about 3 years, unsecured -- at margin rates or possibly negotiable to get interest free).  You might be able to negotiate some other things (marketing allowance, etc.).  I've recently heard you might be able to negotiate getting some RJF restricted stock in lieu of some cash.  You'd only be able to get traditional up-front money deals through RJ&A, the traditional branch employee structure.

I'm not sure if there's any set-in-stone time (e.g., your 5 years) before you can move between these two models.  But, if you started out at RJ&A (traditional branch employee structure), it's probably 5 years to wait.  That's because with RJ&A you would get traditional up-front money & they're typically on 5 year forgivable loan deals.

Under "Advisor Select" what you're getting in exchange for a slightly lower payout are the employee elements.  You'll still own your business, have your own office, etc. like an indy contractor at RJFS.  The employee things I'm talking about is access to all RJ group benefits for you & staff (medical, dental, group life, 401K, etc.), RJ does all payroll & withholding for you/staff, RJ takes on all HR responsibilities, RJ will pay bills for you (on a pre-tax basis charged to your production), and I understand they'll provide more assistance in getting office set-up (office design, lease negotiations, etc.).  They'll also buy your computers, copier, furniture, etc. for you if you want, and then charge it back to you over its depreciable life -- essentially it's interest free financing.  One other possible advantage is since you/staff are all W-2 employees under Advisor Select you won't need to establish a corporate entity, file corporate returns, etc.

The recruiter can run #s for you showing the payout differences & net after expense differences between the two models, so you'll more clearly see the economic difference.  That'll help you evaluate whether the added benefits of Advisor Select are worth the slightly lower $.

You should be aware that under Advisor Select (since you'd be an employee of a NYSE member firm) you lose a little flexiblity vs being an indy contractor under RJFS.  For example, w/ RJFS you can set up your RIA if you want.  With Advisor Select you can't have your own (you'd come under the RJ corporate RIA).  Again, a recruiter can explain any other differences that might be important to you.

Jan 20, 2006 6:19 pm

Indy and Duke, thank you for your insights.

Duke to clarify,  if one takes either the indy contractor( RJFS) or indy employee(RJ&A) that the 5% "transition" help is what is available and that the indy employee gets a slightly lower payout 70-80  vs  80-90  for the services that are provided as a w-2 employee. There is no traditional upfront money with either of these payout structures, and both of these you own the book?

Are you saying beyond these two options there is a traditional upfront money option with lower wirehouse like payouts and you don't own the book?  

Am I understanding you correctly?? 

Jan 23, 2006 10:27 am

Toss, I already responded to your PM with the same question in detail, but to briefly clarify for anyone here that has an interest...

You're mostly right.  With the traditional branch structure (via Raymond James & Assoc) where there is up-front money you also own your book.  Everyone does at RJ, regardless of platform.  If an RJ rep decides RJ is not for them they can leave and RJ will not go after their clients.

One point I didn't make in my PM -- under RJFS (indy contractor) if you're a rep in an OSJ (instead of being the OSJ manager yourself), technically the OSJ manager owns the book for the whole OSJ.  But, that's easily addressed by having a written agreement with the OSJ manager that should you leave your clients are yours.  I believe this is the case with all indy firms, but there may be exceptions.