In an effort to attract higher-level independent advisors, Raymond James Financial Services is raising the bar for RIAs who want to affiliate with its Investment Advisors Division (RJFS-IAD).

Raymond James Financial Services, a broker-dealer and custodian based in St. Petersburg, Fla., announced this week that new RIAs affiliating with the firm need $50 million in assets under management, up from $30 million. The new AUM minimum took effect at the start of RJFS' 2010 fiscal year, which began October 1. Advisors who seem to be a good fit but who manage fewer assets may be referred to another advisory firm already affiliated with the division.

"We're trying to position ourselves as catering to higher-end advisors, and it's a great time to be recruiting them. There's never been so many advisors looking at making a change," says Mike Di Girolamo, senior vice president and managing director responsible for the RJFS-IAD division.

As a result of the financial crisis, many advisors have been leaving wirehouses to start their own independent advisory firms. "We have learned that breakaway advisors want to know who their peers will be and want only to work with those who are at least as successful or more. It's similar to a golf game-you only improve your game by playing with golfers who are at the top of theirs," he adds.

This year about 25 new advisors have joined the division, bringing the number to 275 RIAs with assets totaling $5.2 billion that are affiliated with RJFS-IAD, Di Girolamo says. 

The IAD division is one of three that are part of RJFS. The firm also has an Independent Contractor's Division (ICD), which includes registered reps, and a Financial Institutions Division (FID), which includes reps who work at banks and credit unions. The ICD and FID divisions have a total of about 3,300 reps.