LPL Financial has taken what might be considered the logical next step as the broker/dealer industry incresingly moves to the fee side of the business--becoming a custodian to non-affiliated RIAs as well as dually registered advisors. On May 5, LPL announced plans to roll out its new custodial venture in late 2008, under Gary Gallagher as executive VP and head of RIA Services. Gallagher, formerly with Fidelity's custodial unit for RIAs, will report to LPL Financial President and COO Esther Stearns and will be based in Boston. "Advisors are very much looking at ways that they can broaden their practice, and having the flexibility to manage both fee and commission on a single platform is something that is unique and underserved in the market today, and also something for which we can provide a best-in-class solution," Gallagher said in announcing the initiative.
This move is part of an initiative by LPL Financial to redefine what is means to be independent, while providing one platform on which all types of advisors can function, according to CEO Mark Casady. "The beautiful part of what we're providing is one integrated platform with the whole range of services an advisor needs to have a successful practice, regardless of what business model," the advisor might have, Casady said.