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Starner Group of Raymond James – A Red Alert? (2024)

If you’re looking for a financial advisory firm in Florida, you might come across the name of the Starner Group. It’s a part of Raymond James and is a prominent service provider in Coral Gables. 

Although they seem highly credible, the firm uses many unethical tactics to take funds from its clients. In the following review, you’ll learn about these unethical tactics so you can make a better-informed decision about its suitability for your portfolio. 

About the Starner Group of Raymond James

The Starner Group of Raymond James is a financial planning firm based in Coral Gables, Florida. Their office is located at 2333 Ponce de Leon, Coral Gables, FL 33134, US and its contact number is 305-461-6666. 

You can visit their office between 8:30 AM and 5 PM on weekdays. 

This firm’s team consists of Margaret Starner, Scott Weingarden, Bruce Cacho-Negrete, and Adrian Tinoco.  

The firm claims to focus on making a positive and enduring difference in its clients’ lives. They also claim that they help you monitor all aspects of your financial plans to ensure they progress as you desire. 

Furthermore, the firm claims that its clients get unlimited access to their financial expertise and their concierge-level services. 

At first, these claims seem amazing. But when you look at the disclosures of the firm, you realize just how empty and misleading these claims are. The terms and conditions of the Starner Group have multiple problematic provisions. More on them in the next section of this review: 

Why You Should Avoid the Starner Group of Raymond James

Multi-Million Dispute with a Client

When you’re searching for a new financial advisor, it always helps to look them up on the FINRA BrokerCheck database. You can learn about the advisor’s past employers, years of experience, certifications, state licenses, and the legal history by using this database. 

Starner Group

The FINRA BrokerCheck listing of Margaret Starner shows one multi-million legal dispute. It occurred in 2009. Here, the client alleged misrepresentation, unsuitability, negligence, violation of industry standards, breach of contract, omissions of material facts, and violations of section 517.301. 

The settlement amount of the case was $4,716,793.21.

In response to the dispute, Margaret’s firm cited the 2008 market crash and said that the settlement happened to comply with the FINRA notification. 

Still, facing allegations of negligence, misrepresentation, and breach of contract is a huge red flag. It means Margaret doesn’t always put her clients’ interest ahead of her own. This can lead to various problems, particularly with the various conflicts of interest present in her disclosures. 

Charging 12b-1 Fees

A huge problem in the services of the Starner Group of Raymond James is that it offers investments that charge 12b-1 fees. This is a marketing fee that goes straight into the advisor’s pocket. 

The 12b-1 fee is highly notorious in the finance industry because it inflates the price of an investment without increasing its value. This means that the investment costs more without offering any benefits for the added cost. 

The SEC conducted a detailed study to compare the returns of the investments that charge this fee and those that don’t. It found no difference between the returns of the two. 

The study concluded that the ROI of the investments that charge 12b-1 fees is worse because of its increased cost and similar performance. Furthermore, it’s a percentage fee so how much you pay depends on the size of your portfolio.

This makes it a particularly damaging fee for investors with large portfolios. 

Also, it compounds over time so you’ll be paying more as time goes on. This makes the 12b-1 fee detrimental for portfolios looking for long-term growth. The 12b-1 fee also allows advisory firms to charge hidden fees because of its variable nature. 

Over time, this fee can eat away huge chunks of your capital by increasing the costs. Hence, it’s best to avoid it altogether. 

The Starner Group performs side-by-side management. This means it handles large funds as well as small retail accounts at the same time. 

When a firm performs side-by-side management, they tend to ignore the requirements of its smaller clients as they focus more on its larger clients. As a result, clients with small or medium-sized portfolios tend to suffer. 

Such firms don’t focus on understanding the individual requirements of their smaller clients and fail to provide them with sufficient time and resources. To do so, they resort to giving them cookie-cutter advice. 

Receiving cookie-cutter advice from your investment advisor is among the worst things possible for your portfolio. Such recommendations are subpar and they never offer you the returns that you can actually get from your portfolio. It’s a poor practice but is highly common among firms that perform side-by-side management. Sadly, the Starner Group is one of those firms. 


As you can see, there are a plethora of issues present in the Starner Group of Raymond James. From having an unreliable leadership to offering cookie-cutter advice to its clients, it does a lot of things wrong. 

Unless you want to sacrifice your future growth, you should avoid doing business with this firm completely. Find someone else. 

2.6Expert Score
Not recommended

If you’re looking for a reliable and competent wealth advisory firm, you should avoid working with the Starner Group of Raymond James. The firm has too many issues and it wouldn’t be suitable for you in the long run.

Concern for Clients
  • None
  • Has faced a $4 million+ lawsuit in the past
  • Charges 12b-1 fees
  • Gives cookie-cutter advice to clients

1 Comment
  1. Thank you for this generous review. Does the author have any suggestions on which financial advisor would be a better fit for someone looking to save for retirement?

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