The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Person of the Year is someone who, at an individual level, has exhibited exemplary vision for transforming the wealth management industry and has taken significant concrete steps to do so. This award also recognizes the year’s standout distinction as part of a broader career that’s shown consistent vision and boldness.
Our inaugural winner is Dan Arnold, President and Chief Executive Officer of LPL Financial. Arnold assumed the CEO position from Mark Casady in January 2017, having already served as president since March 2015 and previously as chief financial officer from June 2012 to March 2015. He joined LPL in January 2007 after the acquisition of UVEST Financial Services Group, where he had worked for 13 years.
Arnold is the rare big company CEO in our industry who has shown humility in recognizing when a change of course is necessary, and who has followed through. He demonstrated this as early as 2018, when he acknowledged mistakes in how LPL handled the rollout of its ClientWorks technology platform and the overall responsiveness of the home office to advisors, as reported at the time in publications such as InvestmentNews and Financial Planning. Arnold even addressed the concerns at LPL’s Focus 2018 conference.
For the fourth quarter of 2016, LPL reported approximately $509 billion in brokerage and advisory assets along with an advisor count of 14,377. Its most recent quarterly results, for the third quarter of 2022, reported approximately $1.04 trillion in advisory and brokerage assets along with an advisor count of 21,044. This represents a 104% increase in assets and a 46% increase in advisor count during Arnold’s tenure. LPL also supports approximately 1,100 institution-based investment programs and 500 RIAs nationwide.
In August 2020, during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company launched Linsco by LPL Financial, an employee model that promised to allow advisors to retain “complete ownership” of their client relationships. In September 2022, Vero Wealth Management became the 25th team to join Linsco. The relatively young model also has attracted wirehouse advisors, as demonstrated by the recruitment that same month of Broadway Wealth Management, a former Merrill Lynch team.
As WSR recently reported, in November LPL announced plans to acquire the Fort Mills, South Carolina-based branch Financial Resources Group Investment Services (FRGIS). The teams consists of 800 advisors and 85 financial institutions across the country, serving approximately $40 billion of advisory and brokerage assets. FRGIS will remain an independent operation, keeping its own branding and leadership. LPL expects the equity purchase to close early next year.
“Our long-term vision is to become the leader across the entire advisor-centered marketplace, which for us means being the best at empowering advisors and institutions to deliver great advice to their clients and to be great operators of their businesses,” Arnold said during LPL’s earnings call for the third quarter results.
“To bring this vision to life, we are providing the capabilities and solutions that help our advisors deliver personalized advice and planning experiences to their clients,” Arnold continued. “At the same time, through human-driven technology-enabled solutions and expertise, we are supporting advisors in their efforts to be extraordinary business owners. Doing this well gives us a sustainable path to industry leadership across the advisors’ experience, organic growth and market share.”
Well said, Dan Arnold, and congratulations to the inaugural WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Person of the Year.
Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at email@example.com