UPDATE 3-FINRA panel orders Raymond James to pay $12.1 mln

* Raymond James must pay Wells Fargo Advisers

* Company revises Q1 earnings due to fine

* AG Edwards accused Raymond James of raiding 4 offices

* Shares up 1.7 percent in afternoon trade
(Adds Raymond James and analyst comments; update stock move)

By Joe Rauch

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – A securities industry
arbitration panel ordered Raymond James Financial Inc (RJF.N: )
to pay $12.1 million to Wells Fargo Advisers for improperly
raiding the employee ranks of four former A.G. Edwards and Sons
branches.

Raymond James, disclosing the ruling on Wednesday, said it
was considering fighting the fine in court.

The Florida-based brokerage revised its most recent
quarterly earnings downward by about 12 percent because of the
fine, which it called larger-than-expected.

“The company considers the award a travesty of justice and
not based on the facts presented at the hearing,” Anthea
Penrose, a Raymond James spokeswoman, said in an email.

Analysts remained bullish on Raymond James despite the
earnings restatement, and its stock rose 1.7 percent in
afternoon trading to $26.81.

Steve Stelmach, an FBR Capital Markets analyst, raised his
Raymond James stock rating to “outperform” on Wednesday, before
news of the ruling was disclosed.

Stelmach said the fine would have little impact on Raymond
James’ business, calling it “one of the more unfortunate acts
of bad timing.”

Raymond James said a Financial Industry Regulatory
Authority panel ruled on Feb. 1 that the firm improperly raided
20 financial advisers from four former A.G. Edwards branches
soon after that brokerage was sold to Wachovia Corp in 2007.
Wachovia became part of Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N: ) the following
year.

A.G. Edwards alleged in a November 2007 complaint that
Raymond James courted employees, interfered with business
relationships, stole trade secrets and engaged in unfair
competition.

The FINRA panel ruled Raymond James must pay attorneys’
fees and a $10.5 million penalty to Wells Fargo Advisers.

Raymond James said it was reducing net income for the
quarter that ended Dec. 31 to $43 million, or 35 cents a share,
from the originally reported $49 million, or 39 cents.

The revised figures will be presented in the company’s
fiscal first-quarter report, which has not yet been filed with
the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Penrose said.

Stock Market Trading

(Reporting by Joe Rauch; editing by John Wallace)

UPDATE 3-FINRA panel orders Raymond James to pay $12.1 mln