Technology Brief – An LPL Update

Technology Brief – An LPL Update

I had an opportunity to chat the other day with Victor Fetter, CIO of LPL Financial, the largest organization of independent financial advisors in the United States. Fetter says that virtually all of LPL’s technology initiatives are around driving efficiencies in both advisors’ offices and LPL’s. Progress on ClientWorks, LPL’s next generation advisor facing platform, is progressing nicely. Fetter says that ClientWorks will drive efficiency and help advisors grow in a time of change.

According to Fetter, LPL’s overall technology strategy remains unchanged. He says that ClientWorks is the wrapper that will allow LPL to deliver all of the technology enhancements that they are working on. Some of the new enhancements have not yet been fully integrated into ClientWorks, but they will be. For example, Fetter cited LPL’s new, enhanced money movement tool that allows advisors to process checks, wires, ACH transactions, etc. This tool has already led to a significant reduction in labor, as well as a higher quality experience.

Another enhancement is the new alternative investment order entry tool. According to Fetter, the account opening process that used to take up to a week to process under the old system can now be done in a day.

By the end of 2016, Fetter says that LPL advisors will be doing most of their work in the new ClientWorks system. The benefits will include better workflows, enhanced money movement, an analytics dashboard, enhanced trading capabilities, a consolidated client management hub, and a fully mobile capable interface.

LPL is developing various analytical tools to help advisors grow. For example, they are developing an adoption index to help advisors benchmark their practice to that of top producers. They will provide data that allows advisors to see at a glance what portion of their business is commission business vs. what portion is fee business, so that advisors can better plan future business strategy. Fetter believes that the quality and the quantity of analytical data that LPL can provide to its advisors is a key differentiator that sets LPL apart from their competition.

Unfortunately, Fetter does not believe that advisors will be fully free of BranchNet, LPL’s legacy technology platform by the end of 2016. It may be mid-2017 before all of the functionality that advisors need to run their business is available in ClientWorks, but the need for most advisors to interact with BranchNet on a regular basis should decline significantly well before then.

Fetter had nothing to add to what has previously been released regarding LPL’s new robo-advisor initiative. I’m withholding making any judgements regarding this offering until LPL can supply more details, including of course pricing. Fetter promises that more information will be forthcoming at the annual LPL Conference this summer.

Although the implementation of some technologies is taking longer than some advisors would like, it does appear that the firm is executing on its technology strategy in a deliberate yet successful fashion.

I look forward to hearing more at their upcoming event.

Joel Bruckenstein
Joel Bruckenstein
Joel P. Bruckenstein, CFP®, is Publisher of the T3 Tech Hub (formerly the T3 newsletter) and the producer of the Technology Tools for Today (T3) Advisor Conference, the only annual technology conference for independent advisors, as well as the Technology Tools for Today (T3) Enterprise Conference. He also hosts other technology summits in partnership with thought leaders in the financial services industry (e.g., Brian Hamburger of MarketCounsel) and his own by-invitation-only fintech summit every summer. In 2020, Bruckenstein will produce for the first time a new one-day intensive called T3 Cyber University. Bruckenstein is an internationally acclaimed expert on applied technology as it relates to the financial service industry. He is the co-author of three books: Virtual Office Tools for a High Margin Practice, Tools and Techniques of Practice Management, and Technology Tools for Today’s High Margin Practice. Bruckenstein’s monthly technology columns appeared in Financial Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine for many years. In addition, he works in tandem with industry influential Bob Veres, publisher of Inside Information, to produce an annual technology survey for the financial planning community. Bruckenstein accepted the fifth annual Leadership Award bestowed by Bob Veres' Insider's Forum, a conference that brings together the leading figures of the financial planning profession during a main stage presentation at the Insider's Forum held September 6-8, 2017 in Nashville, TN. Bruckenstein has for more than twenty years advised financial service firms of all sizes on improving their technologies, processes and workflows. For more information about Joel Bruckenstein and the services his firm offers, please visit

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