A New Chapter for Raymond James’ Chairman Emeritus Thomas James

As Raymond James Financial transitions into a new chapter, we reflect on the remarkable legacy of Chairman Emeritus Thomas A. James, who will be retiring from the board of directors early next year. Under his stewardship, Raymond James evolved from a modest regional brokerage into a formidable national presence in wealth management.

Thomas A. James, whose tenure spanned nearly five decades, was pivotal in shaping the company’s direction and growth. He took the helm as CEO for 40 years, a period marked by strategic expansion and innovation. His decision to step down at the upcoming annual shareholders meeting on February 22, 2024, marks the end of an era for Raymond James.

James, at 81, aims to shift his focus towards personal time with his family, particularly his wife, Mary. He plans to continue contributing to the firm in advisory capacities, both in business and philanthropy, albeit on a part-time basis.

CEO Paul Reilly acknowledges the invaluable guidance and leadership James provided, affirming the company's commitment to uphold the management principles that James instilled. These principles have been the cornerstone of Raymond James's success and will continue to guide future leadership.

James's journey with Raymond James began shortly after his graduation from Harvard Business School in 1966, joining the firm founded by his father in 1962. His leadership as CEO, a role he assumed from his father in 1970, was characterized by resilience and foresight, particularly during the challenging market conditions of the 1970s. James cites this period as a formative experience, surpassing even his Harvard education in teaching him the nuances of navigating adverse business climates.

The 1980s heralded a period of growth and diversification for Raymond James, spurred by a bullish market. The firm expanded its services, established an independent broker-dealer unit, relocated to a new headquarters, and successfully went public in 1983. This era of expansion continued well into the 21st century, with Raymond James making strategic acquisitions and bolstering its advisor network.

Currently, Raymond James's wealth management division encompasses a diverse range of services, including employee advisors, independent advisors, and registered investment advisory firms. With an expansive suite of offerings that also includes investment banking and asset management, the company boasts a robust network of approximately 8,700 financial advisors and manages client assets totaling $1.24 trillion.

In 2010 and 2017, Thomas A. James passed the leadership baton as CEO and chairman to Paul Reilly, marking a new era of leadership while maintaining the core values and strategic vision of the firm. Apart from his professional achievements, James is an avid art collector, with parts of his collection adorning Raymond James’ headquarters and The James Museum of Western & Wildlife, opened in 2018. Thomas A. James's retirement is not just a milestone for him personally but also a pivotal moment for Raymond James, as it continues to navigate the evolving landscape of wealth management under the enduring influence of his leadership and vision.


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