Case Study: Independent Contractor

David Stevens

Raymond James, Royal Exchange

David Stevens

David Stevens is a Branch Principal and Senior Investment Manager of the Royal Exchange branch where he reunited with David Roblin in May amidst the global Coronavirus pandemic. After spending most of the last 30 years working in the City, initially in the insurance market, David has been involved in the Private Client industry for over 21 years. Together they look after private clients through the bespoke management of a wide range of portfolios and, where appropriate, work closely with clients’ intermediaries.

Why I chose Raymond James

Raymond James has an attractive business model for private client wealth managers who put the client at the forefront of their decision making and investment process, and I have already started to make full use of its excellent support framework to deliver the level of service which our clients have come to expect.

I’ve known David Roblin for many years and am delighted to be working with him again and look forward to combining our experience to help navigate clients through these challenging and interesting times.

Given the challenges of working remotely, it’s been remarkably straightforward which is a testament to Raymond James and their culture of looking after their offices through providing a high-quality service

Starting out in the middle of a pandemic

My start has been very different to the one I was expecting; when I resigned from my previous role in November the hot topics were the impending general election, Brexit and which government would be tackling the negotiations (or indeed if we would have another referendum!). By the time I started in May, COVID had taken hold and the world was in a state of lockdown and very few people were travelling to work or elsewhere – a truly extraordinary time.

Taking all this into account, I have been very pleased with how supportive the different departments and teams at Raymond James have been, always on hand to help with a query however large or small. Being able to operate as fully as I can is amazing especially as I haven’t met many of the very people who have been instrumental in getting me to where I am now, and it has all been done remotely. The Raymond James business model of servicing offices all over the country lends itself to this but of course, that is their modus operandi! Starting at a new firm is always going to have its challenges as you learn new procedures and systems and at the same time, trying to bring clients on board, but in view of everything, I am delighted with where the branch is and I am confident that David and I have a great base with which to move forward.

A support structure that allows us to focus on our clients

Generally, I feel what Raymond James provides in terms of correspondence, online systems and paperwork is comprehensive and “user- friendly”, and the documents and systems which clients receive or have access to – which is a very important consideration, have been well received. In the early weeks, I had several one-to-one training sessions with numerous departments including Compliance, Relationship Management, Operations and IT which were helpful in getting me up to speed. All the people I dealt with in those early days were very welcoming, sympathetic and above all helpful.

Given the challenges of working remotely, it’s been remarkably straightforward which is a testament to Raymond James and their culture of looking after their offices through providing a high-quality service.

You often hear of other well-established companies that who have floundered in the current situation because they just aren’t set up to facilitate looking after clients in a remote working environment. With Raymond James I have remote access to research as well as portfolio management and trading systems, plus the tools to meet with clients virtually, so I don’t feel I have been disadvantaged by working from home as opposed to being in the office, although we are beginning to spend a bit more time in the office, which we have definitely missed.

Making the move in order to provide a better service to clients

When you decide to leave behind a business which you have built over many years, you have be as sure as you can be that where you are going has the right ethos, top quality third party research and access to companies, facilities, systems, compliance and support that will attract clients. Raymond James provides access to a larger range of quality third party research than I have been used to and has all of the systems in place that allow us to really look after our clients. Leaving a firm that you have been at for some time is never easy and one always wonders if clients will join you again, but the reality has proven these concerns to be unfounded. This is a people business and this is something that we and Raymond James have built our business and reputation around.

Resources to stay connected with clients in a virtual world

The quarterly strategy document published by Raymond James for clients and potential clients is an invaluable document, it is well structured with lots of useful content drawing on Raymond James’ significant resources in the US as well as locally. I found it particularly helpful having something to send to clients to give them a feel for Raymond James’ capabilities. It’s a great way of keeping in touch via email and maintaining relationships.

It’s been great to join up with the team again, good for the team and very well received by the clients; having people on board already to help guide me through the process has been a real bonus