A message from Chairman and CEO Paul Reilly
Recently, during one of the firm-wide virtual town halls I’ve hosted to stay connected with associates and financial advisors, I was asked what dealing with a pandemic and all its consequences has meant to me as a leader. My answer came quickly: Values matter. And the values-based culture at Raymond James is alive and well.
This isn’t a new revelation. Throughout my career I’ve understood that having strong values as the foundation of a company is key to leading in both good times and difficult ones. With clear principles serving as guideposts, decisions come more easily. People at all levels of an organization know what to do, because they know what is important.
This has been true at Raymond James since our founding. It has allowed us to successfully serve clients through every economic recession and major market disruption since 1962. And it has been evident through the actions of our associates and advisors in recent months.
For example, our well-practiced business continuity strategies and outstanding technology systems were in place and ready, but it was our associates’ commitment to serving clients that resulted in nearly 95 percent of our workforce shifting to remote working situations. This was done without significant disruptions to our private or institutional clients, even as they also tackled extreme market volatility, elevated client demands and unique personal circumstances. I couldn’t be more proud of how the people at Raymond James have overcome every obstacle to deliver the high-quality service that sets this firm apart, amidst so much uncertainty.
Our ability to weather difficult periods like this one is also a result of the conservative management approach that is practiced throughout our firm. Even before the current situation, we had re-emphasized prudent cost management to offset an anticipated economic slowdown, and were well-positioned, with $2 billion in cash and a total capital ratio roughly two-and-a-half times the regulatory requirement. We bolstered that position with a recent $500 million bond offering, and delivered our 129th consecutive quarter of profitability in March.
Finally, once we took steps to ensure our associates, advisors, their clients and our many stakeholders were safe, we turned our attention to the communities in which we live and work. That came at a corporate level, as the firm and our senior executives committed more than $2 million to address food safety with national and local food banks. It also was brought to life through the efforts of our associates, including a matching fund raiser in Canada that raised over $200,000, and a drive-by food drive at our global headquarters, where more than 250 families made donations that resulted in 30 pallets of food for the Tampa Bay region.
I am gratified by our ability to quickly react, our strong foundation that stood resolutely against this test and, most importantly, our focus on people that has clearly been demonstrated throughout this process. Our leadership team, our managers and our associates have yet again risen to a challenge, and I am honored and humbled to lead such a committed group of people.
Looking forward, it’s extremely difficult to predict the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and what the recovery will entail. As we consider what the return to our offices will look like, we continue to be first and foremost concerned with our associates’ and advisors’ health and well-being, and the impact of our actions on our communities. The principles that have guided us thus far through this crisis – and that are rooted in the core values that drive us at all times – will remain.
Reflecting on this important part of who we are, our Chairman Emeritus Tom James recently recorded a message to our associates and advisors discussing how the firm’s values have always driven our decision making in both good and difficult times. I wanted to share his thoughts with you.
Thank you to every one of our associates and advisors who are continuing to support clients in the ways we always have – as well as in many ways we haven’t – and to each of our clients for entrusting us with such an important part of your life.
Paul C. Reilly
Chairman and CEO