Raymond James to keep bond business in Memphis

ORLANDO, Fla. Tue May 22, 2012 6:19pm EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. May 22 (Reuters) - Raymond James Financial will keep its fixed income and private client business in Memphis, the hometown of its recently purchased Morgan Keegan brokerage, the company's chairman said on Tuesday.

Tom James, chairman and former president of the St. Petersburg-based Raymond James said he told the mayor of Memphis last week that the firm would keep its bond business there. He said it would also maintain and possibly expand a client support center - including compliance and operations support - for the advisory's private client group groups in Memphis. He did not elaborate on the exact number of people who would remain or be added in that city.

James also said in an interview at the Raymond James National Conference for independent advisers in Orlando on Tuesday, that the company kept many of the Morgan Keegan employees who worked in the group in Memphis.

There was more overlap between the investment banking and equity research arms of Morgan Keegan and Raymond James, and fewer people were retained in Memphis and elsewhere in those areas.

James also indicated that the number of Morgan Keegan advisers who opted to stay after the brokerage was sold to Raymond James Financial Inc exceeded internal targets by more than 20 percent.

Raymond James had expected as much as 84 percent of the Morgan Keegan advisers it hoped would remain to actually stay after the April 2 purchase was finalized, James said. About 98 percent - nearly 1,000 - of all advisers at Morgan Keegan signed on with Raymond James.

James said that while he "can't imagine it will stay that way" in a year's time, the firm is working to keep the Morgan Keegan brokers. For example, he said, Raymond James immediately made its research available to Morgan Keegan advisers and is offering them access to its various technologies and platforms.

It also let Morgan Keegan advisers have more access to stocks and bonds underwritten by Raymond James than they could get on their own, James said.

The company has previously said that holding on to those experienced advisers is critical to the $1.2 billion merger's success. Earlier this month Raymond James told analysts adding Morgan Keegan could boost revenue by $815 million and increase earnings by $125 million.

The integration of Morgan Keegan into Raymond James is expected to be complete by next February.

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