LPL Financial in the first quarter picked up where it left off in 2018, reporting after the market close Thursday that it added $7.1 billion in recruited asssets in the first three months of the year.
That's more than one quarter of LPL's total assets recruited last year — $27.3 billion — which set a record for the industry's largest independent broker-dealer.
In 2018, LPL began offering lucrative recruiting deals to candidates at targeted broker-dealers. The firm is also increasing its digital capabilities to target recruits.
The firm reported a total of 16,189 registered reps and financial advisers at the end of March, an increase 122 when compared with the same time a year ago.
LPL's total brokerage and advisory assets increased 6% year-over-year to $684 billion at the end of March, with net new advisory assets of $4.6 billion showing a 6.5% annualized growth rate.
The brokerage industry has steadily been moving for years to a business model that has more client assets being charged annual fees rather than commissions.
"In the first quarter, we introduced new CRM capabilities, rolled out goals-based planning, and integrated our AdvisoryWorld acquisition," said CEO Dan Arnold during an earnings conference call. "These capabilities will help our advisers digitize their work flows to more efficiently turn prospects into clients."
LPL Financial Holdings, the parent of the broker-dealer, reported net income for the quarter of $155 million, or $1.79 per share. That compares with with $94 million, or $1.01 per share, in the first quarter of 2018 and $120 million, or $1.36 per share, in the prior quarter.
LPL's shares were up nearly 14% Friday morning.