LPL Financial attracted more than a hundred advisors providing a bright spot in its first-quarter results.

Assets under custody on LPL Financial’s RIA custody platform, which provides integrated fee- and commission-based capabilities for independent advisors, increased to $27.1 billion, or 74.8% by the end of the first quarter of 2012, up from $15.5 billion in the first quarter of 2011, the company announced Monday. During the first quarter, 115 net new advisors joined LPL Financial, and 554 new advisors joined in the twelve months ending on March 31.

“We continue to support new business development and take advantage of opportunities at a time when advisors are constantly moving,” says Mark Casady, chairman and CEO of LPL Financial. “We’re also seeing growth in the RIA, high-net-worth and retirement plan practices.”

LPL reported that total advisory and brokerage assets were $354.1 billion, compared with a 7.3% boost from $330.1 billion a year earlier. Net new advisory assets were $2.5 billion during the quarter and positive market conditions resulted in total advisory assets under management of $110.8 billion by the end of the quarter.

LPL Financial's overall results dipped, due to a pre-tax charge of $16.5 million, after LPL Financial had refinanced $1.3 billion in secured credit facilities. The refinancing resulted in annual savings of $10 million in interest expenses at current rates. Net income for its first quarter were $41.2 million, compared with $49 million in the first quarter of 2011, a drop of $7.8 million, or 19%. Adjusted earnings, however, a non-GAAP measure that excludes certain non-cash charges and other adjustments, were $63.2 million, compared with $59.4 million in the first quarter of 2011. That represented a $3.8 million, or 6.4%, increase.

Net revenue for the first quarter was $901 million, up from $874 million in the first quarter of 2011. The firm said commission revenue increased 2.6% during the first quarter of 2012, compared with the prior quarter. Market performance accounted for about 65% of that, while increased sales drove the other 35% of that result. Advisory revenue was up about 2.8% during the first quarter, mainly a result of growth in assets over the last four quarters, as well as market appreciation. Recurring revenue, which indicates the level of stability in the firm’s performance, represented about 63% of net revenue for the quarter, according to LPL.

“We feel very good about our value proposition … even with underlying market conditions that are unsettled,” Casady said. “We are positive about our ability to grow the firm and supporting conflict-free advice.”

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