LPL Financial Holdings Inc, the largest U.S. independent broker-dealer, reported a higher-than-expected 20 percent rise in quarterly profit as it earned more from its advisory business and commissions.

The company's advisory revenue rose 12 percent to $308.9 million in the fourth quarter ended December 31, driven by strong net new advisory asset flows and buoyant stock market.

Commissions revenue rose 19 percent to $556.2 million as LPL hired new advisers.

The company sells technology, clearing and other services to independent brokers.

"Revenue growth was driven by adviser productivity and investor engagement," Chief Executive Mark Casady said in a statement.

The Boston-based company's net profit rose to $44.4 million, or 43 cents per share, in the quarter from $36.9 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net revenue rose 16 percent to $1.09 billion.

On an operating basis, LPL earned 63 cents per share.

Analysts on an average had expected earnings of 58 cents per share on revenue of $1.07 billion, according to Thomson Reuters