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VOL. 127 | NO. 66 | Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Morgan Keegan Future Finally Taking Shape

By Andy Meek

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A Raymond James Financial Inc. spokesman said as the week began the company has no comment about what additional personnel shifting or cuts might still be to come in the days and weeks ahead, with longtime Memphis financial firm Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. now officially owned by St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James.

For now, at least, the dust has settled on the lengthy sale of Morgan Keegan and the acquisition by its competitor to create what will be one of the largest full-service wealth management and capital markets firms in the country not based on Wall Street.

Monday, April 2, was the official day that new chapter began. It began with a turning of the page in the days leading up to it, when, as The Daily News reported Friday, Raymond James announced that 218 jobs had been identified as redundant and would be cut – less than 2 percent of the combined firms’ approximately 13,000 employees.

Sixty-eight of those cuts were to be felt in Memphis. In general, the cuts were concentrated in the equity capital markets and fixed-income groups.

At Morgan Keegan, the redundant positions were in places like the equity research department. That’s the department that houses the analysts who cover scores of companies, provide research, forecasts and earnings targets.

Elkan Scheidt, Morgan Keegan’s director of research, sent out an email late Friday, which said the following:

“Effective March 30, 2012, Morgan Keegan is dropping coverage of all companies and securities presently covered by its Equity Research department. Due to analyst departure, we are changing the rating of the stocks below to Not Rated. The previous ratings, target prices and earnings estimates should no longer be relied upon.”

The email went on to list nine pages of companies.

Meanwhile, also as part of the firms’ integration, Morgan Keegan Private Client Group offices will be known as Raymond James-Morgan Keegan, a broker-dealer subsidiary of Raymond James.

Raymond James previously announced that Morgan Keegan’s top 12 executives agreed to join Raymond James. Also, 98 percent of Morgan Keegan financial advisers presented with retention incentive offers have indicated their intent to remain with the combined companies.

In a video message to clients posted on the Morgan Keegan website Monday, Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly was upbeat about the two companies’ marriage.

That marriage means Raymond James now is the parent company of the firm that ranked ninth in the country last year as a leading underwriter of municipal bonds.

“Today, April 2, I am proud to announce the combination of two great firms: Raymond James and Morgan Keegan,” Reilly said. “Two firms founded on the principle of client service. For many of you, this may be your first experience with Raymond James. Service to our clients and to our advisers is what we’re about.

“Let me assure you: the client-focused values of Allen Morgan when he founded Morgan Keegan and Tom James as he grew Raymond James are one and the same. Your success is paramount to our success. That will not change.”

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