In a move that catapults two strong firms to the forefront of third-party brokerage services to financial institutions, Linsco/Private Ledger Corp. (LPL) of Boston and San Diego will buy Charlotte, North Carolina-based UVEST Financial Services. “This makes us the market leader working with banks and credit unions,” says Mark Casady, chairman, CEO, and president of LPL. Casady will be chairman of UVEST, once the deal closes, succeeding UVEST founder and Chairman John Robison. LPL’s Financial Institution Services (FIS) unit and UVEST’s 230 employees in Charlotte will report to Dan Arnold, COO, president and newly appointed CEO of UVEST.

The broker/dealers will remain separate in order to provide the most flexibility for their combined base of 700 financial institutions. For instance, UVEST will be able to give customers access to LPL’s proprietary research, while LPL will be able to offer the strengths of UVEST’s consulting to both established and startup financial institutions. “We’re not going to force anybody to make a change, but instead create best-of-breed programs,” says Arnold. Neither firm would disclose financial details of the deal, which is expected to close in December.–Kathleen M. McBride