LPL Financial is rolling out a number of new services for its financial advisors, including multicustodial workflows and "householding," the ability to collectively manage all household accounts to common goals, the firm announced Wednesday at its annual Focus conference, which is virtual for the second year.
CEO Dan Arnold said the company wants to provide advisors with more "personalization and flexibility," so they have more control over how they operate their businesses.
“As you know, this has always been a relationship business, but over the next decade, this is going to increasingly become more of an experience-driven business,” Arnold said. “Simply put, perhaps 90% of value will come from the problems you help clients solve and, most importantly, how you make them feel.”
Rich Steinmeier, managing director and divisional president, business development at LPL, said the firm is focused on improving flexibility in four areas: practice structure, go-to-market, regulatory construct and service model.
One focus will be building support for multicustodial practices.
“We recognize that personalization also comes in building more flexible workflows to allow you to structure your practice how you’d like it to operate,” Steinmeier said. “So we’re building more flexibility in those workflows to support assets that you custody both with LPL and away from LPL. A multi-custodial solution to help you simplify your operating environment.”
Historically, the firm has charged a basis-point fee for advisors to custody assets off platform; it’s not clear whether that would continue. But Steinmeier said the firm would likely add the ability for advisors to see assets across multiple custodians inside its workstation and for clients to see assets across multiple custodians inside its Account View. And over time, the firm plans to provide greater functionality across custodians inside those two platforms.
“We recognize that multicustodial is a requirement for advisors, and we’re going to be present for those advisors," he said.
LPL also plans to expand its support for different client segments, Steinmeier added. Historically its client service focused on supporting advisors’ broad client engagements.
“Many of you have built practices specializing in unique client segments, including the high-net-worth,” he said. This year the firm will build out capabilities to serve HNW clients, including introducing investment banking referrals, different investment products and lending capabilities, and specialized advice support.
Steinmeier also touched on the firm’s flexibility in affiliation models, where advisors can join as independent contractors, W2 employees or as RIA-only.
“Our firm has historically been viewed as an independent broker/dealer, but as we reimagined how we evolve in the future, we see ourselves as much more than that.”
In addition to providing more personalization for advisors, the firm is also working on new capabilities that will improve the experience for both advisors and end clients.
Burt White, managing director, investor and investment solutions, and chief investment officer, said the firm is rolling out the next iteration of Account View, LPL’s web-based platform that allows clients to access a snapshot of their portfolio. The new version will include things like mobile check deposit and basic administration, like letting clients update their addresses or beneficiaries.
White also said the firm is finally introducing "householding" this fall, letting all accounts in one family be managed collectively toward common goals.
“Your clients expect an experience that transcends accounts, and allows you to manage clients as the families they are,” White said.
LPL is also working on new capabilities that will support advisors trying to deepen their relationships with clients.
“More and more your clients are demanding advice around specialized areas, like tax or estate planning or banking services, or even Medicare,” White said. “But there’s bad news with that, and that’s that this level of expertise is not easy to come by, and it’s either priced in dollars, or you have to add to your staff, or maybe even rent from some firm that you don’t even know anything about.”
LPL’s developing a cadre of experts that advisors can tap into, including paraplanners, as well as experts in small businesses, Medicare and outsourced CIOs.
Ed Fandrey, managing director and divisional president of Advisor Solutions, who was brought on in January, has been working on the digital platforms to improve the advisor experience. The firm has recently released Meeting Manager, a tool within ClientWorks that cuts down the time it takes for an advisor to prepare for a client meeting from almost eight hours to one, he said.
The firm will make its new Practice Hub available later this year, a platform that will provide advisors with tailored insights and guidance in one user interface.
Fandrey and his team are also working on the ability for advisors to plug third-party software into ClientWorks.