Peoples Security Bank & Trust has enlisted LPL Financial as its new third-party broker-dealer.

The Scranton, Pa.-based bank will look to LPL to help grow its wealth management business and streamline its operations by consolidating its investment services onto a single broker-dealer platform, LPL said in an announcement on Wednesday.

"The bank has identified growth of the Peoples Security Wealth Management Group as a core strategy for 2016 and beyond," said Brad Grubb, president of Peoples Security Trust/Wealth Management. "We hope to model banks that generate 30% plus of EBITDA from wealth management."

Peoples Security was formed in 2013 following the merger of Peoples Neighborhood Bank with Penn Security Bank & Trust. The merged entity has until now used two broker-dealer platforms from each of its legacy firms.

"When all factors were considered, LPL Financial proved to be a better fit to the incumbent relationships," Grubb said, referring to Commonwealth Financial Network and Infinex Investments.

Peoples currently has five advisors, but it plans to increase that number to as many as 20, according to LPL.  The bank also wants to broaden its wealth management program to include brokerage, financial advisory, wealth management, retirement planning, insurance and trust services for mass-affluent retail clients and high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as institutions.

At the end of 2015, the bank had approximately $750 million in wealth management assets, including investment management and trust accounts, according to numbers reported by Peoples.

As part of its strategy to grow the wealth management business, the bank recently acquired Scranton-based Gilmartin Associates, an asset management and retirement services firm with approximately $120 million in assets. The firm's founder, Edward Gilmartin, joined the bank's Wealth Management Group as managing director of Retirement Plan Services in December.

"We are at a pivotal stage in the rebranding of our wealth management program and we are very pleased to gain the support of LPL as we focus on an improved client experience and extending the financial services we offer to our community," Grubb said.

The bank has 25 branches across eastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York and has served many clients in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale oil and gas region. It is the first institution to join LPL this year.

"We are excited to support the growth of Peoples' wealth management program with the resources, tools and technology that are designed to serve the bank's diverse range of clients," Craig Kamis, LPL Institution Services senior vice president, said in a statement.

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