Who’s Moving to LPL?

The number of reps joining the firm was way up in the fourth quarter, but new assets are not showing a similar spike

LPL's San Diego headquarters. LPL's San Diego headquarters.

As it does each quarter, LPL Financial is providing the names of financial advisors who’ve recently affiliated with the independent broker-dealer. The list includes several large groups of registered reps and the names of individual advisors who have joined from a wide variety of firms.

Despite the long list of new FAs, though, the IBD said net new assets coming over from new clients and advisors grew just 2% in the fourth quarter of 2016 from the prior quarter and only 1% from the earlier year. This includes both advisory (fee-based) and brokerage (commission-based); broken out, net new advisory assets expanded 9% from Q3’16 and 8% from Q4’15.

“They were terming this ‘robust growth,’ but 10% net or higher is robust,” said recruiter Jon Henschen in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “They are excited about 2%, but it’s nothing to crow about.”

LPL’s affiliated rep force grew a net 323 last year to 14,377 as of Dec. 31.

“The fourth quarter of 2016 was a very successful quarter for recruiting at LPL and helped secure 2016 as LPL’s best recruiting year in the history of the firm,” Bill Morrissey, head of business development for LPL, said in a statement.

In addition, the IBD has had some notable departures of late, including popular advisor Ron Carson.

“It is true that if a firm grows too fast, it can hurt the back-office capabilities and service to existing advisors,” Henschen said.

Plus, it’s cheaper to retain than to recruit. “Attracting people can entail higher payouts, transition money and thinner margins for a BD,” the recruiter said.

In LPL’s fourth-quarter earnings, though, its total payout ratio was 86.36% vs. 86.98% a year earlier.

New Bodies

Just who joined the IBD, which has offices in Boston, San Diego and the Carolinas?

During the final quarter of 2016, about 220 new advisors became affiliated with LPL — including one group with 108 reps and another with 40 — with $100 million or more in client assets.

The 100-plus group moved to LPL from Lincoln Financial Advisors, while the 40-member team used to do business with Cetera Investment Services.

Advisors with $50 million to $99 million making the switch to LPL in Q4’16 numbered 55. The group included seven registered reps from Ameriprise Financial, for instance, and six from Wells Fargo Advisors.

In the $30 million to $49 million category, LPL recruited 41 advisors. Five moved to the IBD from Wells Fargo, four from Ameriprise and two from Morgan Stanley.

This high number of new advisors topped the 137 that joined it in Q3'16 and 128 in Q2'16.

“Advisors today are looking for a long-term partner, one with the ability to adapt to change in the marketplace," Morrissey said. "We continue to recruit advisors at scale across all four major channels with in the independent sector being the most active source of advisors for us in 2016.”

--- Check out 11 Best & Worst Broker-Dealers: Q4 Earnings, 2016 on ThinkAdvisor.

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