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Raymond James extends European reach

British stockbrokers will be offered a taste of U.S.-style entrepreneurship in the latest attempt by Raymond James Financial Inc. to extend its global reach.

The St. Petersburg company announced Monday a joint venture with Killik & Co. of the United Kingdom to create a new brokerage firm. Raymond James Killik will be modeled after Raymond James' independent contractor subsidiary, Raymond James Financial Services.

The firm will offer brokers in the United Kingdom a trade-off: In exchange for paying all their own expenses, they will get more freedom and a larger share of the commissions they generate.

"England right now is at the point where this makes a lot of sense," said J. Stephen Putnam, president of Raymond James Financial Services. Consolidation in the financial services industry means brokerage firms are getting larger as they are in the United States, he said. "There are a lot of unhappy people who really don't want to work for large organizations. We've found that to be very fertile ground in this country."

Putnam also expects the new firm to be attractive to independent financial planners who want to offer their clients more products and services. In addition, affiliated brokers get support in marketing and in complying with securities regulations.

The two firms said they think their venture will be the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. It also is Raymond James' first attempt to export its independent contractor business, which now operates through more than 1,600 offices in the United States.

Raymond James has offices in 10 countries outside the United States, primarily in Europe, but their focus until now has been on institutional investors such as pension funds and other big money managers.