LPL kicked off its Focus 2021 conference today with a general session presentation by chief executive officer Dan Arnold on how the nation's largest independent broker-dealer is adjusting its service platform to meet the changing desires advisors have in running their practices. Areas where LPL advisors will see changes include technology, segmenting clients and bending toward flexibility in their business models.

Specifically, Arnold and other LPL executives talked about the kinds of technology the firm is rolling out over the next few months to meet the demands of advisors and clients.

He said that time is still a big challenge for advisors and that the picayune details of running a practice are a drain as professionals try to solve client problems, adding that advisors are looking to companies like LPL for solutions to specific problems, whether it’s dealing with the tech needs of clients or breaking out high-net-worth solutions.

To those ends, LPL is continuing to beef up its offerings.

In the last decade, Arnold said, “opportunities for efficiency gains and enhancing the client experience accelerated like 10 times.”

“As you know, this has always been a relationship business,” said Arnold. “But over the next decade, this is increasingly going to become more of an experience-driven business. Simply put, perhaps 90% of value will come from the problems you help clients solve and more importantly how you make them feel.”

He used examples like the Peloton. “You don’t buy the Peloton for the bike. You buy it for the experience of working with a professional trainer where and when it’s most convenient for you.” He says that the tech has to be wrapped around the advisor relationship to work, and that neither wirehouses nor custodians with digital advisory offerings, to name two extreme ends of the spectrum, are where clients are going to want to end up.

Rich Steinmeier, LPL’s managing director of divisional president of business development, also spoke during the general session Wednesday morning and said personalization is going to be an important concept to advisors. He pointed out their desire for coffee with multiple, different ingredients with it. “French vanilla. Hazelnut. Mocha.” The point, made often in the advice business industry, was that every client has different estate needs, housing needs, tax problems and inheritance issues to work out, and commoditized services like investing are going to be hard to market, especially as digital advisors and robos pop up on the scene.

The need to personalize is going to extend to the advisors, too, who want different affiliation models. LPL said that advisors are going to want different ways of presenting themselves to clients. They’re also going to want to deal with regulators in many different ways and either be employees or independent contractors. “You might want the option to be a 1099 advisor or a W-2 advisor,” said Steinmeier.

Burt White, LPL’s CIO and managing director of investment solutions, noted that LPL would be adding features to its Account View platform that make it more interactive. The first platform was more of a digital account statement, and the firm needed to go beyond that, White said. “We now have an Account View 2.0, a digital experience that is far better than the legacy Account View. … We’ve put in place the foundation to build some awesome capabilities over the next few months.” He noted some new self-service items like mobile check deposit and the ability to have clients update their addresses and beneficiaries.

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