More investor money is making its way to the management of independent broker/dealer LPL Financial and the retail brokerage TD Ameritrade, the two companies said in earnings reports released today. Trading revenue (excluding asset-based fees and advisory assets), however, was less impressive, with LPL posting modest gains and TDA seeing big declines. (Not surprising, given the overall market conditions.)

LPL said advisory assets in its fee-based platforms for the third quarter were up 18.7 percent from a year earlier, to $86.2 billion; asset-based fees were up 15.1 percent. The company saw net new assets of $6.3 billion for the 12 months ending Sept. 30. Total advisory and brokerage assets rose 9.1 percent year over year, to $293.3 billion. LPL also reported growth in its registered investment advisor business; assets under custody in its hybrid RIA platform grew to $11.6 billion over the year ending Sept. 30 with 105 affiliated RIA firms. A year earlier, LPL said, it had $6.2 billion in assets and 94 firms on its platform.

Trading revenue was more subdued. LPL saw commissions rise 4.1 percent to $385.3 million year over year, while transaction and other fees rose 2.2 percent, to $70.2 million. Total advisors fell by 49 between the second and third quarters, to 12,017. LPL said that in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 138 advisors left following its acquisition of six firms; LPL gained another 128 in that period. For the quarter, the b/d had net income of $26.1 million, or 26 cents a share, on net revenue of $760 million. For the comparable period a year earlier it had a net loss of $1.46 million, or 2 cents a share, on net revenue of $702.3 million. The company announced this year it is planning an initial public offering but hasn’t set a date yet. It said it expects to close this quarter on its acquisition of National Retirement Partners Inc., whose advisors sell products and services to high-net-worth clients.

TDA Rocks--Mostly
TD’s parent, TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. in Omaha, Neb., said, overall, it had record net new assets for fiscal 2010 of about $34 billion; 48 percent of its net revenue of $2.6 billion for the year were asset based, it added. With $355 billion in total client assets, it’s still a distant third behind Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments in the independent/discount/RIA/wealth management space. Schwab had a lousy third quarter in terms of asset growth. Last week it said the net new assets in its Advisor Services unit fell 28 percent over the comparable period a year earlier.

Commission and transaction fees last quarter were down sharply at TDA, to $250 million, a drop of 30.9 percent. “This year we started seeing more market uncertainty due to continued high unemployment, a slower-than-expected economic rebound, and gridlock in Washington,” CEO Fred Tomczyk said during an analysts’ conference call. The company reported quarterly net income of $114 million, or 20 cents a share, on net revenues of $608.8 million, compared to net income of $156.7 million, or 26 cents a share, on net revenues of $657.9 million a year earlier. TDA declared a five-cents-a-share dividend payable on Dec. 15, its first-ever dividend payout. But the quarterly profit fell below analysts’ estimates.