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LPL’s Advisor Headcount Set to Top 18,500

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What You Need to Know

  • The IBD expects to bring on 900 advisors from the Waddell & Reed purchase, which closed Friday.
  • Among BDs, only Bank of America seems to have more advisors.
  • LPL's Steinmeier says the deal's success makes the firm “more emboldened to think about M&A.”

LPL Financial could have over 18,500 affiliated financial advisors after more than 900 Waddell & Reed advisors join its platform over the next few months.

The independent broker-dealer wrapped up its $300 million purchase of W&R’s wealth management business from Macquarie Management Holdings on Friday and announced that over 900 of Waddell & Reed advisors had committed to join it.

Prior to the completion of the acquisition, LPL had 17,672 advisors, according to its first-quarter financial report.

Among other broker-dealers, only Bank of America appears to top LPL’s expected headcount of 18,500.

Broker-dealers report their advisor headcount figures differently. In the first quarter, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, for instance, stopped reporting the exact number of its financial advisors.

Instead, BofA now shares the total number of wealth advisors across its Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Bank of America Private Bank and Consumer Investments businesses. Most of these individuals hold Series 7 and 66 licenses.

At the end of March, this BofA figure stood at 19,808, while the asset level of the wealth unit was roughly $3.5 trillion. In the prior quarter, BofA reported that it had 17,458 financial advisors, who were included in its total wealth advisor headcount of 19,440 as of Dec. 31, 2020.

LPL’s Asset Milestone

The Waddell & Reed reps moving to LPL work with about $65 billion of client assets. Once added to the LPL platform, LPL’s total assets could be about $1.2 trillion; the IBD had $958.3 billion of client assets as of March 31.

(In 2018, LPL acquired National Planning Holdings’ broker-dealers and brought over about $75 billion of assets to its platform through the deal.)

“Certainly by the measures of how you would look at the coming together of two organizations, this [latest] acquisition has been tremendously successful and sets the mark for us in terms of how we will set our expectations going forward,” said Rich Steinmeier, head of business development, in an interview Monday.

As for what’s next for LPL on the M&A front, Steinmeier says the IBD is “very disciplined.”

The consolidation happening in the wealth management market does make the market “attractive,” he said, and the results of the Waddell & Reed deal “make us more emboldened to think about M&A. But the fit is what has to come first.”

Pictured: An LPL sign in San Diego.

— Check out LPL’s Retention Deals for Waddell & Reed Reps ‘More Than Generous’: Recruiter on ThinkAdvisor.