It’s easy to feel really good about Raymond James financial, and all the help they give international school teachers worldwide.

They really want to do the very best they can for their clients.

I’m always impressed when I see a Raymond James account, filled with actively managed mutual funds and such a tiny wrap fee.

It’s fabulous.

If the stock and bond markets make 6% in a given year, then the aggregate return of actively managed mutual funds is going to be 4.5% after the funds’ expense ratios, 12B1 fees and internal trading costs. That’s pretty much what the average fund picker with Raymond James is going to provide for you, after fees, if the stock and bond markets make 6%. And that’s pretty cool.

Oh, and I forgot that the company’s advisors sometimes charge a further, miniscule fee (up to 1.75% per year) for its Freedom Account. This is really popular with international school teachers–and it’s easy to see why.

And in a taxable account for Americans, a further 1.4% goes to Uncle Sam when the account makes money.

Let’s see how this works:

7% for the stock and bond market return

  • -1.5% expense ratio (including 12B1 fees and internal trading costs)
  • -1.75% advisors’ fees
  • -1.4% taxes
  • -3% inflation
  • = -0.65%

Oops, I must have done something wrong. But wait, what’s this?

There has to be another mistake here. Financial advisors aren’t supposed to get paid more when they charge higher commissions—are they? No, this has to be wrong. Financial advisors at Raymond James (and firms like it) are your friends. This commission news bulletin can’t be right.

“In the style of a 401(k) plan, the new deferred-compensation program this year gives a bonus of 1% to affiliated [Raymond James] reps who produce $450,000 in fees and commissions, a 2% bonus for $750,000 producers, and 3% for reps and advisers who produce $1 million.”

I know what it is. The more fees they charge, the better the service they’ll provide. I’m feeling a lot better about it now.

Making money is a cold thing that should definitely take a back seat to service. Don’t you think?