LPL Financial plans to lay off 112 employees nationwide in April, including 97 who work out of its San Diego headquarters, in a move to both reduce costs and position the country's largest independent broker-dealer for greater expansion.

In all, LPL is relocating 157 positions from offices around the country to its expanded offices in Fort Mill, South Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina. Of that total, 112 people will lose their jobs and be replaced by people in the Carolinas. Another 45 people nationwide, including 36 people in San Diego, are being offered the chance to move to Fort Mill.

(Bloomberg News)
(Bloomberg News)

"We are not eliminating jobs," spokesman Jeffrey Mochal says. "We feel like we are entering a phase of growth now as a company. This is just trying to find our efficiencies."

CHANCE TO RELOCATE
While he has no estimate of how many of the 45 will take up LPL's offer to move to the company's state-straddling complex in the South, Mochal says LPL understands that many with deep roots in their current communities may choose not to.

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The announcement comes in the wake of reports circulating last fall that LPL might be looking for an outside buyer. When asked if the reorganization might be positioning LPL to be sold, Mochal sent over a statement made by its board member, Jim Putnam, in early December:

"LPL’s scale and financial performance have equipped the firm to continue investing in the business and to respond decisively to opportunities as they arise," Putnam said at the time. "Against this backdrop, we have great confidence in our ability to thrive as an independent public company.”

The jobs migrating south cut across all departments, from human resources to trading, communications, service and government and compliance, he says.

LPL maintains three headquarters: the Carolinas with 1,500 employees, San Diego with 1,300 and Boston with about 100.

'THE COMPANY IS GROWING'
Nationwide, LPL has nearly 140 positions open, 121 of which are in in the Carolinas, Mochal says.

"The company is growing," he adds, "but now you just have to make a decision about where do you want to focus your [employee] growth. We did just build this brand new, state-of-the-art facility in the Carolinas."

At the end of 2016, LPL's total assets were $509 billion, up 7% over 2015, according to Mochal. Its 2016 gross profit of $1.4 billion increased 3% over 2015 and its adviser base grew by 323, he adds.

'SAN DIEGO IS SOLID'
In 2014, LPL built a gleaming new headquarters in San Diego that is LEED-certified – a difficult-to-obtain governmental designation that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LPL has said that the 13-story, 415,000-square-foot tower may be the first net-zero energy commercial office building in the United States.

The IBD remains committed to San Diego, Mochal says.

"San Diego is solid," he says. "Dan Arnold, who is our CEO, is based in San Diego and so are many of his direct reports."

Ann Marsh

Ann Marsh

Ann Marsh is a senior editor and the West Coast Bureau Chief of Financial Planning. Follow her on Twitter at @Ann_Marsh.