LPL Financial, the firm at the helm of the independent brokerage world in terms of scale, posted a record net income for the first quarter of $25.6 million.
Net income rose 72.7% from a year earlier and nearly 38% from the previous quarter, the company reported Wednesday.
The firm also said that net revenues rose 15.6% to $743.4 million from a year earlier. Client assets increased 22.8% to $284.6 billion.
For the year ended March 31, LPL added 450 net new advisor relationships, a 3.7% increase from a year earlier. The firm also raked in five independent RIA firms and 32 financial advisors to its Hybrid RIA platform, which offers both fee and commission-based capabilities, in the first quarter. The platform currently has $8.4 billion in assets under custody and 96 RIA firms with a total of 471 financial advisors.
This growth was offset partly by LPL’s absorption of three of its affiliated broker-dealers: Associated Securities Corp., Mutual Service Corp. and Waterstone Financial Group.
LPL, which announced in July that it would be absorbing these firms, began the integration process in September and completed the transition in the first quarter, said Robert Moore, the company’s chief financial officer. There will be some additional restructuring charges that extend into the next few quarters as a result of the transition, he said.
LPL acquired the three broker-dealers, which ran on their own broker-dealer platform until recently, from Pacific Life in 2007. LPL decided to move the three firms onto the main LPL broker-dealer platform “to have the efficiencies that come with that—not just operational efficiencies but also the efficiencies of how we invest in our business and then deliver that to our financial advisors—which were enhanced by making that transition occur,” Moore said.
LPL did not absorb the other independent broker-dealer affiliated with the firm, UVest, which was not a part of the Pacific Life acquisition. There are no plans to absorb UVest, which focuses exclusively on financial institutions, Moore said.
LPL’s client accounts increased to 3.94 million. However, the firm began calculating this number differently in the third quarter of last year by including networked variable annuities for the first time. The change resulted in an increase of 0.61 million client accounts. According to Moore, this change in methodology did not affect net income or net revenue calculations.