LPL financial advisors will now be able to provide advice for their clients' retirement plans at Vanguard, the world's largest mutual fund company, and Ascensus, the nation's largest independent retirement plan service provider, as a result of an agreement between the brokerage firm and the two companies.

A new platform developed by LPL Retirement Partners will allow the broker-dealer's advisors to offer advice and education to LPL clients who sponsor a plan through Vanguard's Retirement Plan Access service for small to mid-sized plans. The new platform also will be available to LPL plans and plan participants for which Ascensus provides recordkeeping.

LPL Financial, the nation's largest independent broker-dealer with about 13,400 financial advisors, made the announcement in San Diego at Focus 13, its annual conference. The conference this year has attracted a record crowd of more than 5,000 attendees, including 3,000 advisors.

Bill Chetney, executive vice president of LPL Financial Retirement Partners, said all LPL advisors would be able to offer participant advice to any business client with a retirement plan at Vanguard or serviced through Ascensus. "We are the only broker-dealer with the technology that can offer a company this kind of participant level advice. No other broker-dealer has this,” Chetney said.

Chetney added that LPL plans to offer its new retirement advice and education platform through New York Life as well.
LPL Financial advisors currently serve more than 1,000 plans representing over $2.1 billion of retirement assets at Vanguard and Ascensus, but previously an advisor was more or less limited to helping a participant decifer the fund menu, Chetney said. LPL's new platform offers Sync Advisor Match, an "eHarmony type" matching system that allows LPL financial advisors and specialized LPL retirement advisors to find each other and work together to provide retirement plans and services to clients.

Dave Reich, LPL's executive vice president of Retirement Platform Development, said LPL is using Morningstar technology to offer advice through its platform.

LPL Financial Retirement Partners recently launched the new platform, Worksite Financial Solutions, which allows retirement plan participants to connect with an LPL advisor either face to face, online or over the phone to receive personal financial advice based on their individual situation.

A part of the platform called Employee Advice Solution provides retirement plan participants with customized advice through online services that gather information on each participant’s financial picture and life stage. After completing a detailed “on-boarding” process, participants can elect to receive personalized advice through the system or manage their accounts on their own. Participants can also elect to receive advice throughout retirement.
The Worksite Financial Solutions platform is fully integrated with LPL Financial’s reporting and monitoring tools for plan advisors. Participants can receive account reviews and updates from their advisor, creating opportunities for advisors to form closer relationships with plan participants.

Chetney said the new platform allows an LPL advisor to better serve business clients who sponsor Vanguard 401(k) plans by providing their participants with advice. It also provides LPL wealth managers with an individual client who has a Vanguard 401(k) plan the chance to approach the company sponsor to win their business by offering the ability to provide advice to all participants.

Vanguard provides investments to nearly 4,000 defined contribution plans, including recordkeeping and investment services to 3 million participants in more than 2,000 plans. Ascensus provides recordkeeping and administrative services to more than 43,000 retirement plans and administers over 1.5 million IRAs.

“This partnership will enable my practice to strengthen its relationships with retirement plan sponsor clients currently on these providers’ platforms and offers a compelling new value proposition to a large number of prospective plan clients as well,” said Michael Dorvillier, principal of Symbio Financial Partners in La Jolla, Calif., a retirement-plan focused financial advisor with $400 million in assets under management affiliated with LPL Financial.