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LPL’s New RIA Platform Rakes in Assets

LPL’s hybrid RIA platform got a strong start in its first full year in operation, and LPL says 2010 will be an even bigger year.

LPL’s hybrid RIA platform got a strong start in its first full year in operation, and LPL says 2010 will be an even bigger year.

Since launching the platform in October 2008 through the end of 2009, the firm gathered $7.3 billion in assets. About $6 billion of that was added in 2009 alone. That makes LPL’s RIA platform the largest among independent b/ds.

LPL says most of the RIA growth in 2009 came through recruiting wirehouse and large independent b/d advisors with large books of business. By the end 2009, there were 92 RIA firms on the platform representing an average of $80 million in AUM per firm. Those 92 firms are made up of 422 advisors. LPL could not break down how many of those advisors were existing LPL advisors vs. new advisors joining from other firms.

Derek Bruton, who is now heading up the RIA platform in addition to his role as executive vice president and national sales manager of LPL, says he expects the lion’s share of growth in 2010 to come from wirehouse advisors and large independent reps with production levels of about $750,000 and above.

Bruton is planning for even greater growth of assets and advisors on the RIA platform in 2010 even though some say it might be difficult to do. But Bruton and LPL’s president, Bill Dwyer say that’s exactly what they plan to do. “We built a platform with the idea that the trend of advisors going hybrid will increase over time, and we expect to have another explosive year,” Bruton says. What kind of growth? He would not say.

Raymond James Financial opened its RIA platform in 2002, and custodied $5.8 billion in assets for about 100 RIA firms at the end of 2009. On average, RIAs at Raymond James manage around $60 million in assets.

Weighed against a giant like Schwab, both firms have a lot of catching up to do. Schwab Advisor Services custodies $590 billion, and added $41 billion in net new assets in 2009. It added 172 firms in 2009, a 40 percent increase from 2008. The new advisor teams contributed $13 billion of the $41 billion in net new assets.

Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services custodies over $370 billion in assets as of September 30, 2009. It added 191 broker teams to its RIA platform in 2009, a company record. It did not say how much in client assets those teams brought over.

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