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VOL. 128 | NO. 201 | Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Raymond James Boosts Local Community Efforts

ERINN FIGG | Special to The Daily News

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A new website and a significant sponsorship are two of the latest ways Raymond James Inc. is demonstrating its commitment to Memphis.

Raymond James has shown a commitment to community efforts.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

The site, rjsupportsmemphis.com, highlights the financial institution’s ongoing local community service efforts, reflecting a corporate-wide mission that touches the company’s more-than 2,500 global locations.

“We’re part of this community, Memphis is important to us and we are actively supporting it in any way we can,” said Raymond James president John Carson.

In addition, Raymond James has signed on to be the first presenting sponsor in the seven-year history of RiverArtsFest, which runs Oct. 25-27 on South Main Street in Downtown Memphis. Last year, about 80,000 people attended the event, which currently is the largest fine arts festival in the Mid-South.

“Supporting the arts is a big component of Raymond James’ mission to serve its communities,” said Will Deupree, branch manager of the firm’s Private Client Group. “RiverArtsFest is a perfect fit for Raymond James and an excellent way for us to emphasize the passion that extends from the founder to the Memphis employees.”

In 1962, Robert A. James founded the Florida-based investment firm, which grew to become the fifth most-admired securities company in the world, according to a March 2013 Fortune magazine ranking.

James built the firm on the founding principle of putting the needs of clients and the community first, a vision the company has maintained through its 51-year history.

In 2012, Raymond James Inc. merged with Memphis-based brokerage firm and investment banking business Morgan Keegan & Co., making it one of the country’s largest independent full-service wealth management and capital market firms. During its 43-year history, Morgan Keegan also exhibited a deep commitment to community service, so the two firms were a perfect fit in terms of culture as well as talent, Carson said.

“Like Morgan Keegan, we actively promote volunteerism and community service among our associates,” he said. “Being engaged in the community – both personally and corporately – is important to all of us.”

In August 2011, Raymond James introduced the Raymond James Cares Month initiative, encouraging the company’s employees to make a difference in their communities. In Tennessee, more than 200 advisers and associates participated, volunteering nearly 400 hours in support of various local organizations, including Porter-Leath, Youth Villages and the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association.

Annually, Raymond James’ more-than 800 Memphis employees support 155 Mid-South charities through $600,000 in financial donations and 11,000 hours in volunteer service. Since 2003, Raymond James Memphis and Morgan Keegan associates also have raised $7.97 million for United Way of the Mid-South, thanks in part to the fact that Raymond James matches associate donations of up to $5,000.

Rob Baird, head of the firm’s Public Finance division, said the company also demonstrates its faith in Memphis by basing its corporate headquarters for Public Finance in the Memphis office.

“This is one of the most exciting things about the combination of Morgan Keegan and Raymond James,” Baird said. “Last year we ranked among the top 10 underwriters of municipal bonds in the nation, and to have that corporate headquarters in Memphis is something we’re very proud of.”

The combined Public Finance platform of Raymond James and Morgan Keegan served as senior manager on 748 issues with a par amount of $12.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters, one of the nation’s leading municipal bond information services.

Like many Memphis professionals, all three executives are enthusiastic about the city’s current and future business landscape.

“Memphis is a tremendous place for our employees to raise families. It’s a terrific community and a place where most of our associates only have a 20- to 30-minute drive to work,” Carson said. “We’ve also accumulated a group of colleagues and associates that have given us a crucial mass in terms of talent.”

On the subject of talent, Deupree said he’s looking for even more of it.

“Our area has a lot of room to grow, and I’m actively out there right now trying to find good financial advisors to come on board. There are a lot of people out there in the community with great qualifications, and we’re also open to hiring people coming out of school and developing that talent as well.”

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