Leadership of top wealth advisory firms are cautiously optimistic after delivering varying degrees of revenue growth through Q1. In light of continued economic turbulence, firms remain committed to investments in innovation and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
LPL Financial (NYSE: LPLA)
The year started strong for LPLA with Q1 2023 net income of $339 million, up 159% from a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) followed suit, up 130% year-over-year, from 52% increased gross profit and 111% increased EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization).
Overall, total assets are up 1% year-over-year to $1.8 trillion, driven by growth of brokerage assets with advisory assets decreasing 1%. Advisor count is up 1,430 (7.1%) year-over-year, totaling 21,521.
LPLA’s goal to grow in traditional and new markets is under way with the acquisition of BancWest Investment Services, a firm with 85 financial advisors servicing around $7.8B of assets slated to join LPLA’s Institution Services platform in the second half of 2023.
Leadership expects continued growth, strengthened by the upgraded S&P rating to BBB on April 5. Matt Audette, CFO and Head of Business Operations, optimistically announced, “As we move into 2023, we remain focused on serving our advisors, growing our business, and delivering shareholder value. In Q1, we continued to grow assets organically in both our traditional and new markets, closed two strategic acquisitions, continued our momentum with our liquidity and succession capability, and are preparing to onboard Commerce Bank and Bank of the West in the second half of the year.”
Read more about first quarter earnings for LPLA.
Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP)
Continuing growth from a successful Q4, AMP achieved diluted EPS of $7.25, up 25% year-over-year. Chairman and CEO, Jim Cracchiolo, celebrated the success stating, “In a period of significant market dislocation, we remained focused on providing an exceptional client experience and further demonstrated the benefits of our diversified business model. Our leadership in financial planning and advice and extensive wealth management capabilities led to another quarter of strong client engagement, double-digit growth in client flows and significant asset growth in the bank and certificate companies.”
Expected to close by year end, AMP announced a deal with Comerica as its new Investment Program Provider adding approximately 100 financial advisors and $18 billion of assets.
Assets under management and administration were down 8% in Q1, despite strong client net inflows, driven by market depreciation and unfavorable foreign exchange. In spite of these headwinds, Retirement and Protection solutions demonstrated growth of 11%.
Read more about first quarter earnings for AMP.
CI Financial (NYSE: CI)
CI reported consistent earnings in their Q1 2023 earnings call, over prior period, with diluted earnings per share of $0.16 CAD. During the quarter CI voluntarily discontinued trading of shares on the New York Stock Exchange as previously planned.
Leadership announced the sale of a 20% stake in its U.S. wealth management business, raising 1.34B CAD. The proceeds will be used to deleverage the firm, taking the net leverage ratio from 4.0x to 2.7x.
Kurt MacAlpine, CEO of CI, signaled continued optimism to investors, noting a focus on modernization to increase growth and development. Product launches to back this claim include new offerings across their mutual fund and ETF lineups, including a new fund-of-funds private market solution to provide one ticket access for users.
CI remained active in M&A with the acquisition of Avalon Advisors, a Texas based RIA with approximately $11.1 billion CAD in assets to CI’s U.S. business.
Read more about first quarter earnings for CI.
Avantax Financial (previously BluCora, NASDAQ: AVTA)
Hitting record highs, AVTA reported total revenue of $178 million, a 7% increase from Q1 2022. A fifth straight quarter of net positive asset flows came in at approximately $932 million. Total client assets of $80.6 billion experienced an improvement of around 5% primarily driven by improving market conditions.
Chris Walters, Chief Executive Officer, announced, “During the first quarter, we continued to see record setting net asset flows with minimal attrition and continued positive momentum in newly recruited assets.” Mr. Walters continued, “Our acquisition pipeline with independent Financial Professionals currently affiliated with Avantax remains strong. I am also excited to report that we are now expanding our acquisitions to wealth management firms not currently affiliated with Avantax and expect to close at least two external deals this year.”
Read more about first quarter earnings for AVTA.
Focus Financial (NASDQ: FOCS)
FOCS reported total revenue of $557.5 million, coming in under expectations with year-over-year growth of 3.9%. Their organic revenue growth rate of 0.3% was below the estimate range and according to FOCS is due to lower than anticipated non-market correlated revenues.
In February, FOCS announced it will be acquired by affiliates of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC (CD&R) in an all-cash transaction valued at over $7 billion. The deal will be advantageous for stock owners who will receive a 36% premium on shares. In a press release, CD&R cited they targeted FOCS because of its competitive position in a highly lucrative industry and FOCS’ differentiated features including; entrepreneurial culture, partnership model, targeted acquisition strategy, global reach and value-added services.1
Read more about first quarter earnings for FOCS.
Wealth leaders remain cautiously optimistic about the prospects for their businesses in the face of continued economic headwinds, challenges coming from inflation, elevated interest rates and labor shortages. Conditions can change with little notice, and firms that are able to remain agile and adapt quickly, will likely win the day.
If you think you are ready to start the conversation about exploring strategic partnerships, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help you drive value for your business, please email or call Kim Kovalski, Managing Director, at 440.769.0322.
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