The pace of technological change may be slower at LPL Financial than some of its advisors may like, but the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer is moving in the right direction.

 At this year’s LPL Focus Conference, the firm highlighted a number of technological advances that should please its advisors. The firm is finally delivering on some of the initiatives it announced in the past, and some promising new developments are on the horizon.

Perhaps the biggest news is that the long-awaited transition from BranchNet to ClientWorks is finally approaching. For some time now, LPL has been conducting a soft launch of ClientWorks, its new advisor workstation. But even those advisors who have transitioned to ClientWorks still need to use BranchNet to perform certain tasks. That has been because some BranchNet features were not enabled in ClientWorks.

But now, an end is in sight: LPL’s goal is to fully transition all advisors from BranchNet to ClientWorks by April.

The new ClientWorks platform is far superior to BranchNet is just about every respect. It is built on a modern technology infrastructure. It is faster, has additional capabilities, and its interface is more intuitive. It is also a far superior platform for integrating with third-party software. All of the newer LPL technologies now available and released in the future will be on ClientWorks.

For example, Guided Wealth Portfolios (GWP) are only available through ClientWorks. GWP are model portfolios created by LPL’s investment research team using BlackRock ETFs; a major purpose of the portfolios is to enable LPL advisors to compete with robo platforms. The technology is smart enough to rebalance at the household level and to incorporate asset allocation into the rebalancing algorithm.

Today, 200 advisors managing 1,000 accounts use LPL’s GWPs, and all LPL advisors can use them. The fees include 35 basis points charged by LPL plus a fee charged by the ETFs, usually 15 basis points. LPL allows advisors to charge anywhere from zero to 100 basis points for their services on top of the approximately 50 basis-point base fee.

LPL has continued to make incremental improvements to GWP. For example, it recently optimized its risk tolerance questionnaire based on feedback from users and made some tweaks to the navigation to improve usability. LPL is planning additional improvements.

Other tech changes LPL has made or is planning include:

• Its improved its portfolio management and reporting tools. Client Reporting, which replaced Portfolio Manager, is a modern, user-friendly, customizable package. Client Reporting allows users to create highly customizable, eye-pleasing portfolio reports without any database or programming knowledge.

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