LPL getting good mileage out of hybrid platform, lands another large RIA

Bridgeworth latest registered investment adviser to sign on; $1B in AUM

Aug 14, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

By Andrew Osterland

Bridgeworth Financial LLC, a large financial planning firm based in Birmingham, Ala, has launched itself as an independent RIA and will use LPL Financial LLC as its broker-dealer and custodian.

The firm had been affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors since 1995. Along with Bridgeworth's move to the LPL hybrid adviser platform, the firm also merged with Pinoak Advisors LLC and brought on two other local financial advisers — Jeris Burns and David LeCompte. The two had been affiliated with Ameriprise Financial Inc.

Bridgeworth now has 16 financial advisers and will manage approximately $1 billion in assets, said DeLynn Zell, a managing principal.

“We had a meeting in December to discuss our plans for future growth and it became clear we needed to make some decisions,” said Ms. Zell, who has been with the firm since 1988. “When we looked at the market, we decided we wanted to be a hybrid adviser, and LPL has the track record with that platform.”

Bridgeworth is the second large RIA to join LPL this month. Advantage Financial Group, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based firm managing about $2 billion in assets, joined the publicly traded LPL on July 31. Bill Morrissey, executive vice president of business development at LPL, said the company's scale and resources are attracting RIAs that are looking to expand their businesses.

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Bridgeworth fits that category. “This is a high-net-worth practice and we're honored that they chose to partner with us,” Mr. Morrissey said. “We believe we can help them grow their footprint in the Southeast.”

With margins under pressure in the wealth management business, and compliance and technology costs rising, Mr. Morrissey credits LPL's size and the flexibility of its hybrid adviser platform for its recent success landing independent RIAs. “There's a flight to quality going on the independent space,” he said. “We're seeing more large producers and producer groups make this kind of change.”

In its second-quarter earnings, LPL reported it had 166 RIAs managing nearly $30 billion on its hybrid platform, compared with 128 firms with $19.6 billion at the end of June 2011. Total advisory and brokerage assets at the firm were $353 billion at the end of the quarter, down 0.3% from $354.1 billion as of March 31, 2012.

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