As advisors left banks and insurers during the financial crisis, LPL Financial benefited as new advisors flocked to the firm, bringing with them new assets and growth.

On Wednesday, LPL Investment Holdings Inc., parent of independent U.S. broker-dealer LPL Financial, reported a jump in second-quarter earnings as advisors continued to grow assets despite the challenging stock market and economic environment.

“The need and value of advice continues to rise,” said Robert Moore, Chief Financial Officer of LPL Financial, in a phone interview on Wednesday. “We felt the momentum we saw in the first quarter continue and the level of engagement by advisors increase in the second quarter.”

An Aite Group report released on Tuesday highlighted the challenges to the wealth management industry because of the debt crisis and the turmoil in Western European countries.

Yet, Mark Casady, LPL Financial chairman and CEO, said that “while market conditions fluctuated, our advisors remained highly engaged with their clients in support of their comprehensive planning needs. Thus far, market volatility has not changed the outlook of our advisors, and we continue to partner with them to help their clients remain focused on their long-term financial goals."

During the second quarter, total advisory and brokerage assets hit a record level of $340.8 billion, while net new advisory assets were $3.1 billion during the quarter. Total advisory assets under management hit a record $103.2 billion.

Meanwhile, net income jumped to $45.5 million, or 40 cents a share, from $8 million, or 8 cents a share, in the prior year. Adjusted for certain non-cash charges, it earned 52 cents a share, 2 cents above analysts’ expectations.

Revenue shot up 13.1% to $894 million, up from $790.2 million in the prior year, slightly shy of expectations of $894.9 million.

The firm raked in net new assets of $3.1 billion during the quarter, up from $2.4 billion a year earlier, for a record total of $103.2 billion in assets under management. Total advisory and brokerage assets increased 23.1% to $340.8 billion. LPL reported it hired 594 net new advisors in the past year.

Commission revenue increased 9.5% to $459.9 million in the second quarter, advisory fees revenue shot up 22.8% to $264.3 million, and asset-based fees revenue surged 16.9% to $90.5 million, because of growth in record-keeping, omnibus processing, and other administrative fees, the firm reported. Roughly 80% of the increase in commissions revenue was from increased sales activity, with the remainder due to increases in market levels, LPL said.

“Our advisors' productivity has grown firm revenue and generated recurring revenue of 62%,” said Moore. “The fundamentals of the business remain strong, although we continue to monitor market performance, which potentially can have a lagging impact on our advisory-based revenue. In addition, our cash sweep revenue marginally increased year-over-year, as the negative impact of declining interest rates was offset by an increase in our cash balances related to overall asset growth from new business.”




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