* First-quarter adjusted earnings $0.69/share vs est. $0.72
* Operating expenses up 13 pct to almost $1 bln
* Adviser headcount up 3 pct after slow start to hiring
(Adds details, analysts' estimate)
April 23 LPL Financial Holdings Inc,
one of the five biggest independent U.S. broker-dealers,
reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as operating
expenses ballooned to almost $1 billion.
The unseasonably cold winter in the country also hurt the
company's drive to recruit brokers in the quarter ended March
31. Broker count is a key metric of revenue growth and profit at
"After a slow start to recruiting to begin the year, our
business development team saw improving conditions in March...
we are seeing positive momentum in our pipeline heading into the
second quarter," Chief Executive Mark Casady said in a statement
The improvement in March helped LPL's headcount rise to
13,726 advisers from 13,377 a year earlier.
LPL also sells its investment capabilities to financial
advisers who are not employees and allows brokers to keep much
more of the fees and commissions they collect from clients than
conventional firms where brokers are full-time employees.
The company's advisory revenue rose 16 percent to $327.3
million in the quarter, while commission rose 10 percent to
LPL's net income slipped to $53.1 million from $54.7
million. On a per share basis, earnings were flat at 51 cents.
It earned 69 cents per share on an operating basis, short of
analysts' average estimate of 72 cents per share, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company's operating costs rose 13.2 percent to $987
million, while total costs rose 13 percent to almost $1 billion.
Net revenue rose almost 12 percent to $1.09 billion.
Shares of the company, which have jumped 43 percent in last
12 months, closed at $49.10 on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting By Neha Dimri in Bangalore; Editing by Savio