LPL Investment Holdings (LPLA), the parent company of LPL Financial, reported a fourth-quarter profit of $39.4 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with a loss of $116 million, or $1.20 a share, in the year-earlier period.
Excluding certain charges and other items, LPL earned 44 cents a share, two cents below the 46 cent average analyst estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters. Net revenue, though, rose 1%, to $828.7 million; analysts had expected sales of $876 million.
Total advisory and brokerage assets increased nearly 5% during the quarter to $330.3 billion vs. $315.6 billion a year ago. LPL said it added 172 new advisors during the fourth quarter, but this gain was offset by the loss of 124 advisors related to the UVest platform conversion. The firm ended 2011 with 12,847 advisors, up 3.2% percent from last year.
“Our integrated technology and services supported strong advisor productivity in 2011, reflected by high single-digit same-store-sales growth for our seasoned advisors, said Chairman and CEO Mark Casady, in a statement. ”We delivered 12% top-line revenue growth.
Still, he acknowledged, the latest results included same-store-sales growth of less than 1% for the fourth quarter, “reflecting a shift caused by sustained market volatility and pronounced economic uncertainty.”