Making responsible decisions is what we do, however, just as important is how we do it – and never forgetting for whom we do it.

At Raymond James, our business is people and their financial well-being. That’s why, no matter the external changes and challenges we face, we steadfastly uphold our core values of integrity, independence and conservatism that empower us to put clients first.

Clients are at the heart of our company and why we must stay rooted in those values to fortify our identity and protect our culture, even as we grow.

When it comes to growth, we first focus on helping to develop our existing professionals and teams so they can serve clients more fully. In 2016, that came in the form of investing in technology to drive functionality and efficiency. For example, our advisor mobile app provides secure access to client information anytime from anywhere. Furthermore, we have continued to deliver more protective security to reduce criminality in the financial system. It came from programs to provide broader career opportunities, such as the Registered Associate Mentoring Program, a yearlong mentoring experience for registered service associates who have been identified by their managers as having potential and interest in becoming financial advisors. And it came from diversity initiatives such as our Black Financial Advisors Network and Women in Capital Markets Conference that are designed to help groups that have traditionally been under-represented in our industry build strong networks of support.

Our efforts have paid off. As a testament to both our culture and the support we provide, our regrettable attrition of financial advisors is consistently less than 1%, even as we remain one of the only firms in the industry that believes client relationships are an advisor’s and that advisors should be able to take their books of business if they choose a home other than Raymond James and are in good standing.

Meanwhile, our associates remain extremely satisfied with Raymond James as a place to work: Our overall employee engagement score continues to rival top companies across all industries. That engagement translates into service that drives client satisfaction. Annual surveys show industry-leading scores from both advisors and clients, with more than 90% of clients saying they are satisfied with Raymond James and their advisor, and the vast majority of those clients likely to recommend services to a friend.

Of course, as we continue to position for the future – a future in which clients will be more diverse and more tech-savvy than ever – we know that we must continue to invest in tools and resources to serve those clients well. That investment calls for additional growth in the form of recruiting individuals and teams to our businesses – such as the additional 550 advisors who helped make 2016 a near-record recruiting year in our Private Client Group, and the numerous bankers and analysts that have helped round out their respective businesses in terms of expertise and geographic coverage. Finally, throughout our history, we have selectively used strategic acquisitions to grow when the timing is right and, most importantly, when there is a strong cultural fit and shared reputation for putting clients first. This year, we proudly welcomed three firms to the Raymond James family.

We expanded our Capital Markets presence in Europe, with Raymond James Investment Banking joining forces with Mummert & Company, a leading middle market mergers and acquisitions advisory firm based in Munich, Germany, to provide access to a new platform of potential buyers, sellers and investors. With client-first values, this strategic partnership blended two award-winning teams to provide even greater expertise and superior service for clients. A platform for future international growth, the collective team expands global industry coverage and creates strong cross-border capabilities in the mergers and acquisitions space.

In the Private Client Group, Canadian wealth management firm MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier (3Macs) joined Raymond James Ltd. (RJL), creating Canada’s leading and largest independent investment dealer with 457 advisors managing over Cdn$31 billion in client assets under administration.

With history dating back to 1849, 3Macs’ long-established values further strengthen our firm, and RJL specifically, as the home for advisors who thrive in a culture that embraces shared values and the freedom to put their clients’ needs first, always. Strategically establishing a more significant footprint of advisors in Quebec and adding 3Macs’ bilingual platform helped solidify RJL’s position as a truly national firm.

In the year’s largest combination, we welcomed nearly 190 advisors and associates from the Private Client Services unit of Deutsche Bank to form the new Alex. Brown division of Raymond James, a tribute to the group’s founding as the nation’s first investment bank and a name well-known for serving high-net-worth individuals and institutions. More than 90% of advisors joined Alex. Brown, reflecting our shared values, as well as our decade-long investments in wealth solutions and our technology platform. This unprecedented retention of legacy advisors created a larger firm footprint in 16 key geographic areas in the Northeast and on the West Coast, delivering on stated growth objectives for these areas.

Representation from the Alex. Brown integration team (left to right): Doug Brigman, Vice President, Planning and Strategy; Stacy Barko, Vice President, Operations, Equity Capital Markets; Lora Rodriguez, Director, Communications; Michael Tormey, Managing Director, Alex. Brown, Private Client Group Administration; Alexandra Band, Vice President, Corporate Development; Dennis Zank, Chief Operating Officer, Raymond James Financial; Helen Rice-Devlin, Senior Vice President, Technology, Business Systems; Lauren Pilkington-Rich, Assistant General Counsel; Tony Tuntasit, Managing Attorney; Russell Johnson, Director, Alex. Brown, Private Client Group Administration; Meggie Ford, Corporate Business Development Analyst (Not Pictured: Jim Sickling, Chief Operating Officer, Trading Administration)

Since these types of additions afford us the opportunity to compare our platform to others’, we also expanded our own high-net-worth expertise and services, augmenting our multi-currency platform, increasing alternative investment options, and adding a Private Institutional Clients desk to offer unique investment solutions for ultra-high-net-worth clients, among other developments.

While these acquisitions and infrastructure progressions represent critical change, they support a virtuous cycle of growth, profitability, investment and improvement. We plan to continue to invest in the right things – those that support our advisors and help our clients – practicing thoughtful risk management and considering the long-term effects of every decision to achieve our vision of being the premier alternative to Wall Street.