LPL Financial announced at its annual Focus conference this week the addition of two new items to its business solutions portfolio, the firm’s suite of services for advisors. Launched over two years ago, the platform connects advisors to LPL experts to outsource a wide range of business functions for a monthly subscription fee. The newest services include Client Engage, meant to help advisors build connections with their existing client base, and a bookkeeping service.
Matt Enyedi, managing director, Business Solutions at LPL, said the new Client Engage offering was born out of feedback from advisors who found some of the business solutions overly broad for their needs.
“A lot of times when you have too comprehensive a solution, you overwhelm the advisor with choice,” Enyedi said. “And what advisors are telling us is, ‘I’m not thinking about all those things right now. I’m thinking about this unique opportunity that I have. Help me solve that.’ So you’ll see us have a wide variety of solutions that go from completely comprehensive and all-encompassing to single points of opportunity and solution.”
Enyedi said a number of advisors just wanted help keeping in front of their existing clients.
“The reality is, the best way to grow your business is to make sure you maintain your existing business, and you do this through connections,” Enyedi said. “That has been an absolute lightbulb moment for us is, how do we make sure advisors are connecting with their clients in a personalized way? It can’t just be 1,000 emails that all say the same thing that everyone else is saying.”
The firm will use a combination of digital tools and social media to better understand who the advisor is, on the personal side of things, such as where they’re connecting in their community, with their family, and their hobbies and interests. The tool is also meant to uncover things of interest to that advisor’s clients, including life events, and seeks to surface opportunities for the advisor to connect on a personal level.
“What are those moments that matter in an investor’s life, whether that be a child graduating from school, changing jobs, moving, the death of a family member,” Enyedi said. “We can help the advisor connect in those moments that matter with their clients; that is the bridge that we know maintains and strengthens a relationship over time.”
LPL will also launch a bookkeeping service and will bring in professionals to focus on helping advisors manage their accounting on a daily basis.
“One of the things that all our advisors have to do is manage their books, and it is not fun to do and they will often outsource it or do it off the sides of their desk,” Enyedi said. “We think we can do this is a very scalable way, in a differentiated and digital way that gives them really clean books and records and take something that’s typically a weekend job for an advisor, gives them that four or five hours a week on a Saturday back, and gives them a really clean view of their business.”
LPL has been building up its business solutions for more than two years; it currently has seven offerings, including the Resilience Plan; M&A Solutions, launched earlier this year; the Assurance Plan; Administrative Solutions; Marketing Solutions; CFO Solutions; and The Digital Office, which is focused on technology/cybersecurity.
In the second quarter of this year, LPL announced it had about 2,100 monthly subscribers in the business solutions, more than double over the year prior. That includes about 80 subscriptions from advisors who joined from Waddell & Reed, who are particularly interested in the administrative solutions, Enyedi said. (LPL announced its acquisition of Waddell & Reed’s wealth business late last year.)
“Transitioning is always a challenge, whether it be a chosen transition or through an acquisition, and a significant number of the Waddell & Reed advisors have decided to subscribe to admin solutions, and that admin solutions program we designed specifically to help them with their transition to LPL to make it as smooth as possible,” he said.
LPL has been experimenting with offering its business solutions services to advisors outside of the firm, starting with its M&A Solutions.