LPL Financial’s new subsidiary, LPL New Venture, has sparked more questions than answers, but one thing is clear: the firm is dedicated to supporting fee-based financial advisors.

LPL New Venture, launched Wednesday, will support advisors who are new to the industry and who are dedicated to serving mass-market clients, says Esther Stearns, CEO of LPL New Venture. “We feel they have the tools to help consumers focus on the full picture of financial well-being over time,” Stearns says.

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The advisors could run the gamut from college graduates to career changers. “We have observed that the number of financial advisors in the U.S. has stagnated,” Stearns says. “Given the opportunity, training and support, many individuals would be interested in a career as a financial advisor.”

The company is still working out details of the venture, such as how they will deliver advice to mass-market investors, Stearns said. LPL Financial’s newly targeted consumer segment is a little lower than mass affluent investors who are generally considered to have $50,000 to $1 million in investable assets. LPL already serves that group, Stearns said.


Stearns had been LPL Financial’s chief operating officers since 2003 and its president since 2007. She has been a relatively quiet figure outside LPL, compared with Mark Casady, LPL Financial’s chairman and CEO, and Robert Moore, the current CFO, who takes the COO and president reigns from for LPL Financial from Stearns.

But the industry might see Stearns profile change as it attempts to reach previously underserved customers.