LPL buys AdvisoryWorld for $28 million in cash

The purchase will boost LPL's plans to build a next-generation, integrated adviser technology platform

Dec 3, 2018 @ 4:22 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

LPL Financial has acquired AdvisoryWorld, a 31-year-old adviser technology firm, for $28 million in cash.

AdvisoryWorld produces a suite of digital tools for investment analytics, portfolio construction and proposal generation. More than 30,000 advisers use AdvisoryWorld's products and services, including as many as 3,000 of LPL's advisers.

"When I think of AdvisoryWorld, I think of them helping advisers convert prospects to clients," LPL managing director Burt White said when asked why LPL acquired AdvisoryWorld rather than other products on the market. "When you think of trying to drive growth for advisers, nothing is more important."

(More: BlackRock takes equity stake in Envestnet)

Mr. White also cited AdvisoryWorld's analytics and its ability to integrate with other third-party tech vendors, an area LPL is looking to improve as it builds a single tech platform capable of handling all of an adviser's technology needs. The acquisition is as much about AdvisoryWorld's tools and capabilities as it is about bringing the technology talent in-house, Mr. White said.

"Now we have the opportunity to not only continue to utilize the capabilities, but also utilize the talent in a way we wouldn't be able to do before," he added.

LPL will let AdvisoryWorld continue to operate as a stand-alone company and sell to advisers and firms unaffiliated with LPL. Though the technology will be under the LPL Financial Holdings umbrella, both Mr. White and AdvisoryWorld president Michael Wilson maintained that that would not affect the company's ability to serve other advisers and firms.

(More: AdvisoryWorld's Wilson: Building a digital platform to give advisers more time for clients)

LPL's resources and research will be used to improve AdvisoryWorld's analytics for all users, Mr. Wilson said. "We never would have done this deal if it was something we felt wouldn't be successful and meaningful for [our clients]."

But that doesn't mean LPL and AdvisoryWorld won't be working on something special just for LPL advisers. Without giving specifics, Mr. White said having AdvisoryWorld in-house creates the opportunity to build customized products that advisers can't get anywhere else.

The transaction closed Monday. LPL paid a lump sum funded by cash available for corporate use from its balance sheet, according to a release. The $28 million is part of a commitment by LPL to invest $100 million into adviser technology.

(More: LPL CEO Dan Arnold acknowledges mistakes in firm's technology rollout)

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