LPL’s New RIA Offering Lookin’ Healthy; But Still A Pipsqueak Compared To Rivals

There are some folks in the industry actually doing relatively well these days. Seriously. LPL Financial said today its new-ish RIA platform now has over $1 billion in new assets.

There are some folks in the industry actually doing relatively well these days. Seriously. LPL Financial said today its new-ish RIA platform now has over $1 billion in new assets.

The largest independent broker/dealer (by rep count) launched its RIA platform—which serves both hybrid and independent RIA advisors—in October and has managed to bring in $1.3 billion through January. Since then, the company says, it’s been able to attract advisors from wirehouses, other independent b/ds and insurance firms, and expects similar growth for the remainder of the year.

“Reaching the $1 billion AUM milestone in such a short time speaks to the strength and flexibility of our RIA platform,” said Gary Gallagher, executive vice president of RIA Services for LPL. Gallagher says the firm’s RIA platform has attracted a fairly even number of advisors from each of the three channels. The majority of advisors on the platform are going the dually registered route instead of RIA only. Further, virtually all the advisors are new to LPL, meaning existing reps affiliated with LPL are not taking the firm on the RIA platform—not yet, at least.

Gallagher says he expects more of the same for 2009. “Recruiting has exploded over the last couple months. The pipeline of advisors tells we should look forward to more growth,” he adds. Qualified leads, a rep with over $125,000 in production who has requested information about the firm, are up over 150 percent compared to the last year. And Bill Morrissey, head of business development at LPL says he credits a great deal of that to firm’s new RIA platform.

LPL isn’t the only b/d benefitting from wirehouse defection. Raymond James Financial, headquartered in Florida, is also collecting its share of defecting advisors. Raymond James & Associates, the company’s employee b/d, recruited 64 advisors with average production around $600,000 and total assets under management of nearly $9 billion from October through January. The firm says the numbers are similar on the independent b/d side, Raymond James Financial Services. Average production of new recruits there stood around $564,000. The exact headcount and assets under management at RJFS is not available. “Recruiting right now is unprecedented. We think we’re doing more than okay right now. We’re doing extraordinary right now,” says Chet Helck, president and chief operating officer of Raymond James Financial.

But it seems Schwab Institutional is still king when it comes to attracting new independent advisors. The firm finished 2008 with $13 billion in net new assets from over 120 teams who worked with Schwab to establish themselves as newly independent registered investment advisors, up from $9 billion and 114 teams in 2007. Meanwhile, Fidelity’s HybridOne platform, an offering designed to help firms and advisors manage their commission and fee-based
business, attracted 104 hybrid clients with $13 billion in assets since its launch in June 2008. For more on the competition between Schwab and Fidelity, click here.

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