Editor’s Note: The following story appeared in the July 3 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.
Randy Roebuck, financial adviser for Raymond James in Bella Vista, has worked in wealth management for 38 years. He’s spent the past 20 years at Raymond James.
Roebuck was an investment representative with Edward D. Jones & Co. in Bella Vista when the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named him to the Forty Under 40 class in 1998. He left Edward Jones for Raymond James in 2003.
The move allowed him to own his own business and book of clients, which he can sell or merge with someone else at retirement.
“Edward Jones is a good company, but … I wanted to be my own entrepreneur and own my own business,” he said.
In the mid-2000s, he became a certified financial planner with a fiduciary responsibility of putting clients first. He noted that fiduciary has become an important industry term over the past several years.
His clients comprise about 100 households, primarily those at least 50 years old. He declined to provide the total amount of assets he manages. He has one employee, a registered assistant. However, he works with Raymond James staff across the company.
He said his career highlight has been the self-awareness of the importance of teamwork.
“I couldn’t do what I do without other people,” he said. “Nowadays, our business is so divided that I’m almost a relationship manager. Somebody at Raymond James in St. Petersburg (Fla.) buys and sells for the accounts that I do. Those guys have research analysts who analyze what’s good buys and good sells. Those guys have economists who try to forecast the next four or five years and how you should set up your portfolio to be ready for what they think will happen. It’s a team effort, dude.”
Roebuck, 62, started in the industry in 1985 at Shearson Lehman Brothers in Little Rock. He moved to Northwest Arkansas to earn banking experience and joined Bank of Bentonville. Roebuck said that the bank, which became Arvest Bank, was becoming involved in the industry at the time. He worked there briefly before joining Edward Jones in 1996.
Born in Trumann, Roebuck graduated from Jonesboro High School, where he was a two-year, All-State linebacker on the football team. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Arkansas State University and was a long snapper for its football team.
Since he started in the industry, some key changes have regarded technology and how one earns clients.
Buying stock comprised completing handwritten orders that were telegraphed to the New York Stock Exchange floor. Someone would call to confirm the order and the stock price. Stock quotes were available on green-screen computers.
“Now, I sit here and push one button, and I’m done,” said Roebuck, noting that he can complete trades on his phone. “I do it all myself, and it’s almost instantaneous.”
Earning clients used to require cold calling. Armed with a phone book, new advisers would make calls to earn clients. He recalled that three out of 10 people would talk, and one of those out of about 30 would buy.
“Now, you can’t do that hardly,” he said. “It’s all referrals from attorneys, CPAs [and] your accounts referring other people.” Another way to earn clients includes requests from fellow members of an organization, such as a church.
Some challenges with cold calling include do not call lists and being a fiduciary, which requires advisers only to offer something a client needs. Advisers must understand their clients before offering a product.
“It’s against the law to recommend something,” he said. “They’ve got what’s called a know-your-customer rule that you’ve got to know them before you can even recommend something. So it’s completely different.”
Roebuck said he continues to accept new clients and noted that his client turnover comprises those who die.
“I try to keep around 100 households all the time,” he said. “And that’s enough.”
He and his wife, Kelly, reside in Bentonville and have three children. He serves on the foundation board for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton County and trustee board at Grace Point Church. He enjoys fishing, watching movies and traveling.