LPL is already the biggest third-party marketer in the bank brokerage channel and it's looking to get even bigger.

Our feature story on TPMs gives a good overview of this arcane but important industry and all the changes it has been undergoing. We also offer sidebar profiles of several of the major players in the industry to give you more of their insight into the challenges and the opportunities that come with being in the bank channel.

Then, as we were going to press, LPL did something that TPMs don't often do: It made real news. Well, relatively speaking. It didn't lose $2 billion in bad trading or offer the third-largest IPO in history. But by hiring industry veteran Rob Comfort, it put the other TPMs on notice that competition will be heating up.

Comfort told our Online Editor-in-Chief Matt Ackermann that he intends to "significantly increase" LPL's presence in the bank channel. And according to statistics from Kehrer Saltzman & Associates, LPL already has 35% more banks than the next firm. But apparently, that's too close for Comfort. And it's not just the small banks without investment programs that are on his radar screen, although they are a major opportunity for all TPMs. He says he's also interested in moving upstream to the larger banks.

Whichever stream he fishes in, he's liable to find interest from the banks. As Associate Editor Margarida Corriea reports in our FrontLines story, banks are waking up to the wealth opportunities that they have long ignored. Bank brokerage is now poised between a previous decline and (hopefully) a subsequent rise and we have reasons for both.

And speaking of combining fishing with beefing up business, look at contributor Todd Colbeck's article on using social media to add staff. He says LinkedIn can be the radar that shows you where to land the big fish. But beware, you have to reel them in yourself.

Let us know what you think about this issue or our website, We would love to hear from you.

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