Raymond James is launching a speakers network at the beginning of the year with the first group to be made up of all women.

It is part of several initiatives by the company to promote women in the industry.

Members of the network will have completed a training course and will have several prepared presentations on financial issues to give to national professional groups, civic and community organizations, peer networks and not-for-profit organizations, according to Raymond James.

The goal is to have the women not only serve as financial experts, but also to boost awareness of the Raymond James brand and expose potential financial advisors to the profession, according to Raymond James.

The first speakers network will include Margaret Starner of Miami; Shelly Church of Naples, Fla.; Colleen Schon of Auburn Hills, Mich.; Lynn Faust of Greenville, S.C.; Sacha Millstone of Boulder, Colo.; and Diane Morgan of Dayton, Ohio.

Raymond James also is creating four regional symposiums for women advisors at various locations throughout the country to augment the annual Raymond James Network for Women Advisors conference, held in St. Petersburg, Fla., in September. The first will be Oct. 27 in Dearborn, Mich. Some of the same keynote speakers and presentations will be at the regional meetings to enable more women to have access to the information, according to Raymond James. Raymond James has about 600 women advisors affiliated with it three principal broker-dealers.

Raymond James also is initiating a two-year recruit training program that, while not specifically aimed at women, is expected to encourage more women to join the profession, according to Raymond James. Recruits will be placed under the mentorship of a senior advisor for two years to prepare for the CFP exam. The first class will have 60 recruits and will grow to 150 a year the second year.

"We've been trying to position Raymond James as the best place to practice for women," said Chet Helck, chief operating officer for Raymond James and head of the firm's private client group.