The pace of technological innovation has never been greater. Independent broker-dealer firms continue to invest to keep up with the competition, offering advisors and end clients a better experience. In this article, we look at some recent technology developments at a number of leading independent broker-dealer firms.

At the company’s national conference in August 2013, Victor Fetter, the new chief information officer of LPL Financial, promised the audience that the company was beginning a major overhaul of its technology. One year later, at the 2014 conference, Fetter told advisors the platform remodeling was well under way, and that does appear to be the case.

LPL advisors, said Fetter, had been asking the company to update its Resource Center—the information hub within LPL’s advisor technology BranchNet platform—which includes business processing and client management tools; presentations and client communication resources; and research (on the markets, the economy, investment strategies, etc.).

The new center, redesigned from the ground up, provides a much improved user experience. It’s easier to navigate, said Fetter, and offers better search capabilities. It also contains new, improved content and can be accessed through mobile devices.

“It’s smarter, simpler and more personal,” he said.

New online cashiering and money movement capabilities will be added in the winter of 2014-2015.

LPL also announced that it would host its own e-mail (with archiving) as part of its core technology package at no additional cost to advisors. The offering was presented to advisors as a compliance upgrade (the company was fined by Finra in 2013 for violations related to e-mail compliance), but it would also appear to be a great deal for LPL advisors, since many pay third parties to host their e-mail, archive it and send copies to LPL for oversight and compliance purposes.

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