LPL Financial announced this week that it hired Anthony Perkins, the former chief technology officer of Wells Fargo Advisors, to fill the new role of executive vice president of technology product development.
Along with David Wright, who was hired in May as LPL’s chief technology officer, Perkins’ hire marks the second new executive position within LPL to focus on technology.
Perkins will report to Victor Fetter, the firm's chief information officer. WealthManagement.com had a chance to talk to Perkins and Fetter about the new role and where they would like to steer LPL’s technology.
This interview was edited for space and clarity.
WealthManagement: Is your background more in technology, financial services, or more of a mix of both?
Anthony Perkins: I have always worked with financial services technology. I started off my career as a developer and moved on to director at GE Capital working in their alternative investment group. I’ve always been an engineer.
WM: How did you find your way to LPL and what will your role involve?
AP: I’ll be in charge of engineering, application development and delivery of tools to our advisors, and, by extension, a delivery of those tools to their clients, the investors. If you think about the tools, it’s the advisors logging into ClientWorks and using ClientWorks to provide service for clients.
WM: What about the robo advisor LPL recently announced?
AP: That is something that I’ll be overseeing.
WM: What are your goals with this position? Where would you like to take LPL’s technology?
AP: That’s a hard question. I was attracted to LPL because they had great technology and great people. You don’t want to screw that up. My goal is to enhance it. If you dig deeper, it’s to continue the journey and help our advisors. To ensure LPL is doing things to provide the tools.
WM: Why did LPL create a new role within the company to do this?
Victor Fetter: One of the things that I’ve ben very pleased with over the past quarters here is the progress we’ve made with technology and the feedback we’ve gotten from our advisors. We’re excited about the journey we’re on. Anthony brings a wealth of industry experience and maturity. He has that spark of innovation that we love. He’s a talent magnet and will allow us to bring a number of new solutions to the market place. For us, we want to continue to extend the collaborative discussion with the advisor and develop quality products that allow us to deliver the best service out there.
WM: What does this mean for the organizational structure at LPL?
VF: Anthony reports to me and he will have the partnership of myself and others on the team. David Wright is leading infrastructure efforts. It’s really representative of the scale of investment that we’re making as we continue to grow and recognize the power of technology. How we serve our customers in a different way, optimize the back office and focus on compliance; all of those things we’re investing heavily in.
What I wanted to do was harmonize and link what we’re doing across the organization. We have a team focused on home office activities and a team focused on advisor facing solutions. What Anthony’s role does is bring those together. Having a strong executive like Anthony to have full oversight of that space will allow us to be more nimble and allow us to have a bigger impact.
WM: What opportunity does LPL see in putting this emphasis on technology?
VF: [Advisors] are looking for greater mobility, flexibility, greater efficiencies in the office, and using big data to drive insights. [Clients] want to be able to reach an advisor wherever they are and advanced tools to access their portfolio on a mobile device.
We show that advisors can grow their business at a premium when they use the full stack of technology that we make available to them. You can grow your business more strongly; grow your business to an advantage. Our advisors love that and we want to help them on that journey.