Great Lakes Retirement Advisors joins Raymond James, will move to Brookfield

Great Lakes Retirement Advisors LLC, a financial management firm formerly associated with AXA Advisors LLC and located in downtown Milwaukee, has become the first firm in Wisconsin to be associated with Raymond James & Associates Inc. and is in the process of developing a new office in Brookfield.

Todd Barden, president of the newly renamed firm, now called Great Lakes Retirement Advisors of Raymond James & Associates Inc., said the move was made to respond to the changing financial landscape and the desires of clients.

“We’re seeing a need for retirement consultants that are independent in their recommendations and provide unbiased individual advice,” Barden said. “In this post-Madoff era that we are in, we’ve seen clients ask some of those really tough questions. They want to know if you are a firm that is an unbiased advisory provider to their valued employees going forward They want to hear the story.”
Raymond James & Associates Inc. is a subsidiary of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James Financial Inc. Raymond James Financial has broker/dealer subsidiaries throughout Wisconsin, but Great Lakes Retirement Advisors of Raymond James & Associates will be the first Raymond James & Associates office in Wisconsin.
The firm will continue to serve as an advisor to corporate retirement plans and offer individual retirement planning solutions, Barden said.
“Our market is that $2 million to $50 million (commercial) market where we’ve done well. We’ll continue to try to own that market,” he said.
By affiliating with Raymond James & Associates, Great Lakes Retirement Advisors will now be able to act as a fiduciary for corporate retirement plans, he said.
“That will be on a case-by-case basis and is now something that’s a trend in the industry,” Barden said.
Being able to serve as a fiduciary will be useful in the future, as new federal legislation governing financial advisors is expected later this year, which could further clarify which types of advisors act as fiduciaries.
Great Lakes Retirement Advisors currently has three employees – but expects to grow to 12 to 15 by the end of 2010.
“A handful of offers have been made,” Barden said.
The company is now working from temporary office space in Glendale while it searches for a permanent office in Brookfield. Great Lakes Retirement Advisors hopes to move into the new space in late April or early May.
The move to eastern Waukesha County is being made to better serve clients, Barden said.
“A lot of the people we serve live in Lake Country and have their businesses in Wauwatosa, New Berlin or Brookfield. They said, ‘We’re living out west and if you want to see us, you need to come to us,'” he said.

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