Catering to RIAs served LPL Investment Holdings very well in 2011. The Boston-based independent broker-dealer firm reported that AUM in the LPL Financial RIA platform grew to $22.7 billion by year-end 2011, up 68.1% from $13.5 billion the year before.

That strong growth solidified LPL’s position as one of the largest RIA custodians in the industry, the company announced in its fourth quarter and 2011 year-end financial results.

The firm also reported that it added 549 net new advisors during 2011. That excludes the attrition of 146 advisors with the Uvest Financial Services Group who did not switch to LPL’s self-clearing platform in March when it converted those services from Pershing.

Recruiting went especially well in the last two quarters, when the firm brought on 333 advisors, exceeding its recruiting goal. Mark Casady, chairman and CEO of LPl Financial, said the firm’s expanded menu of services boosted its recruiting success, and that the recruiting environment has changed overall.

“There are many, many more advisors in the pipeline than what we had seen in the last 18 months,” Casady said during the company’s earnings call on Tuesday afternoon.

Looking ahead, it seems that LPL will continue to attract advisors’ attention.

“The Fortigent acquisition has generated a lot of interest,” he said.

 Overall, LPL Investment Holdings also recovered from a large loss, in terms of net income, from 2010. Its fourth quarter net income reached $39.4 million, up $156 million, compared with a net loss of $116.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. Net revenue for the year increased 11.8% to $3.5 billion, up from $3.1 billion in 2010. Net revenue for the fourth quarter increased 1.1%, to $828.7 million, from $820 million in the prior year.