LPL Financial Holdings, which has enjoyed rising assets levels, increasing advisor head count and earnings growth in 2020, continues to be a good investment this year, according to equity analyst Pauline Bell with CFRA Research, which has given the firm a "buy" rating and a year-end target price of $95 per share, up from its $79.26 share price on July 31.

Bell says that LPL posted a second-quarter earnings per share figure above consensus, driven by the company's better-than-expected revenues and lower expenses. She said management's repeated commitment to exercise discipline over expenses was good for investors.

Lower interest rates, however, have hurt broker-dealers, which are less able to make money off the cash they hold. So the target price of LPL also reflects “continued headwinds from [the] lower interest rate environment," Bell says. That led her firm to cut LPL's 2020 earnings per share estimate by $0.30 to $5.68, and 2021’s EPS by $0.06 to $5.97.

“Solid organic growth [in the second quarter] remained a bright spot, with net new assets rising 7.8% annually and advisor count up 210 [from the previous fiscal quarter], ahead of peers,” she said. She says she sees the growth continuing as LPL continues to branch out into new markets, acquires advisors and retains others (it acquired $3.5 billion in assets in the second quarter).

Founded as the Center for Financial Research and Analysis in 1994, CFRA Research, is headquartered in New York City.