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Samantha Davison: Hello, my name is Samantha Davison and I'm with the LPL Newsroom. Day Two of the Focus conference started off like a rock concert. Burt White, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, took to the main stage and excited the crowd with details about innovation and outline some key enhancements that LPL is rolling out so they can focus on what really matters, their clients. In his trademark way Burt stressed experiences are a life received. And LPL is proud to be on this journey with all of our advisors. Joining me now is Rob Pettman, Executive Vice President, Product and Platform Management. Let's start off by talking about Burt’s presentation. There was a lot of excitement and passion. Burt talked about innovation and technology.
Rob Pettman: Yeah, a lot of things about technology. We've done a couple of announcements just recently about some tech integrations and this really sort of ties into our broader technology strategy and a thought what folks heard today was all of this coming to life. And you think about our technology strategy does a number of different ways that you can go if you're a wealth management platform provider like we are in how you choose to answer with technology and really put those things together for advisors and you see a lot of different models. So for instance, you might see the wire house models where they'll pick a particular technology and make sure that it's tightly integrated all the way through and that really works from that. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you'll see custodians will API in and utilize pretty much all the technology that is available out there.
As you think about how we looked at the space, we sort of pick the middle road. We did that for a lot of reasons. First off, there's a lot of tech companies out there that can be confusing for a lot of folks. Also you don't really know who's going to make it and who's not and you want a good qualitative process to assess who really are the best of breed. So we applied that overlay first and how we approached it. Then the other part is if you offered this curated choice or this menu of technology, what you do or unable to do is you can go deeper with the level of integration because it's not necessarily just about providing access to technology.
It's really about how all of this comes together because if you can put it together in a thoughtful way more than just data passing from one company to another to another, really about smart workflows that are connected to an advisor's business that creates unique experiences, it creates efficiency that ultimately helps our advisors scale and serve more investors in the market.
Samantha: Can we talk about timeline? When do we think we'll start seeing some of this technology. I know some is in testing phase already.
Rob: Well you're starting to see it right now and that's the beauty of this. So you've seen a couple of announcements that we announced. Just recently we integrated with Riskalyze, we then followed on and talked about Morning Star and Black Diamond. We're going to announce our integrations. We'll work on bringing them all together into this ecosystem and essentially getting to the end destination of having really an element of choice within each of the different major technology categories and then pulling that through with an end to end experience that really adds that layer of efficiency for advisors.
Samantha: Jeff Ferguson, Senior Vice President, Business Consulting, hosted the Fast Track session on the main stage along with advisors, Doug Flynn and Matt Griffin, where advisors were encouraged to automate, outsource or eliminate. This session continued the theme of Burt's presentation about the importance of advisors digitizing and modernizing their businesses. So give us some highlights of that session.
Rob: Yeah and it was great. We had some really interesting points that were memorable for me at least. Doug has some great insight about how he thinks about client segmentation. One of the things that hit me that he said was that he is a proactive approach where if he gets two phone calls from two different clients on the same topic, he will take that as a call to action to send something out to all of his clients about that topic, and in doing so, he actually heads off numerous phone calls coming into his office and adds elements of efficiency. I thought that was really neat and certainly we had a whole host of different things that we're covering. I mean, when you talk about outsourcing, you talk about client segmentation, you talk about growth. Matt had some great points as he thinks about growth in his business and utilizing the referral network that he has within his institution and also just the benefit that the institution and the affiliation that he has with it as for him and his business. He was certainly very compelling.
Samantha: Well, and I think it's always good for advisors to hear from other advisors what works in their practice, how maybe they can institute some of those things in their business model don't you think? I mean, it's like a firsthand reaction on what's really working.
Rob Pettman: That's right and it was really interesting because I get some great frameworks for how they think about some of these challenges or some opportunities. Doug's another great example of how he thinks about the outsourcing element and that they really do take the time to think through the things that they're doing and thinking about the places where they're not really adding any extra value and then identifying those and figuring out what to put those so they can really just focus on the time and the day to really differentiate and focus on the things where they do and create the most compelling offering for their clients.
Samantha: Thanks so much Rob. We appreciate your time and insight. Chris Albertson, Senior Vice President, Advisor Strategic Initiatives, leads efforts to improve the client experience by gathering feedback directly from advisors. He also leads all of conference services now. He's been at the Hear Me booth the last few days here at Focus. Chris, thanks so much for being here.
Chris Albertson: Thank you for having me.
Samantha: So with our focus to make it easier for advisors to do business with LPL, we've made some efforts to collect advisor feedback. Hear me, was one of those efforts. Give us a little bit more detail about that tool.
Chris: Absolutely. What we wanted was a one place where advisors in a very simple way that they could share their ideas with us. They've got the best ideas and how could we enter that in a very quick way so that we could get that information and then get that we have a dedicated team of folks that are evaluating that and then getting that to the right place across the firm, not to be able to evaluate it further.
Samantha: So what kind of results have we had from advisors? What's happening there?
Chris: Let me tell you what we're seeing is so far since we launched this the end of April, we have literally seen thousands of ideas. We've had many advisors who share multiple ideas and from that we've been able to see some themes. I'd love to share some of the themes with you, what we've been seeing and I should say too that what we're hearing is advisors they feel like change is happening and we're really getting traction on that now. What we're also hearing from advisors in both from what you've seen submitted but also here at Focus is they want to see more consistency in service. They feel like they want to see more training for our service folks. Also with newer advisors that are in transition, that are joining us, they want more support and by that what they're saying is they want to see more technology training, they need help with that. Also hearing from our advisors is how can we empower those client facing employees with being able to address common sense problems when they come in and just solve the problem for our advisors.
Samantha: So you've talked about these themes. So what happens next? How do those changes that have been suggested get implemented?
Chris: So what we do when the ideas come in and then we do go through a process where we look to see where we have ideas that are similar to other ideas, we group them. We look at ways that we can help the wide variety of advisors across the firm and then we make sure that we get that information to the right place whether it's technology, it's a policy issue that we need to solve. Then we have a team that we meet with every single day, we evaluate those ideas that had been prioritized and then from that it's when we get them to the appropriate place in the firm to be able to either do further research or how did they get them scheduled to be implemented.
Samantha: So for listeners, how could they submit something to Hear Me?
Chris: That's a great question. So what they can do is we have a link on the resource center and they can click on that link. It launches a very simple form, just a few questions and from that we get an idea of what their submission is and then we take that in and then that goes into our tool and then that's when our team starts to do further evaluation on the idea.
Samantha: So at Focus you have to Hear Me booth that kind of brought it all to life. What was that like?
Chris: It was fantastic. The thing that I have loved is being able to talk to advisors one on one for them to see the team who actually takes their idea. What's been very rewarding for me is I wanted our advisors to feel heard. They feel heard and I wanted them to see us. So that's been a really enriching for me personally. I was glad to see it come to life here at Focus.
Samantha: So feedback has been a huge theme throughout Focus. Now that we've talked about the Hear Me tool and we're trying to figure out what's next, what is the bigger picture? I mean what happens now?
Chris: What we want to do next is start to consolidate all the feedback and what we have today in addition to Hear Me, there's other places that advisors were able to share their experience and what we want to do next is have a way that we bring all of that in and believe it or not, from that we even have ways today that we're missing opportunities to get other types of feedback, more day in day out feedback. When an advisor interacts with us, how do we get feedback from that interaction point and so that's work that we're embarking on as we speak, it's what's going to start to happen now is we'll get that day in day out transactional experience to be able to further help advisors.
Samantha: Very good. Well thank you so much for your time, Chris. We appreciate it.
Chris: Well, thank you for having me.
Samantha: Now I'm joined by Jacquelyn Smith, Operations Manager at January Capital Advisors. Thank you so much for being here.
Jacquelyn: Thanks for having me.
Samantha: So this year at Focus we had a Technology Champions booth. What exactly is a Technology Champion?
Jacquelyn: I guess anybody who represents what the technology offerings are at LPL and if someone who fully embraces the technology.
Samantha: So what were advisors interested in learning more about or trying to solve through technology to be able to manage their businesses better?
Jacquelyn: Specifically I think what the focus seemed to be mostly on ease of use of how to use what's out there, if there's any kind of tricks of the trade or things like that that might help but you know improving the client experience, what offerings are out there. So more to seeing and having a dialogue of what other firms were doing and how we were successfully incorporating technology.
Samantha: And you are able to say, "Hey, this works for us. Maybe it'll work for you."
Jacquelyn: Exactly, yeah.
Samantha: So what have been some of the highlights for you at Focus this year?
Jacquelyn: So I think all of the educational aspects of what's offered at LPL Focus is amazing. The breadth of the different material that's offered. You can go to one about behavioral finance and then in the afternoon you have something that's offered about how to move into the digital world and aspects of that. So the education is always a highlight otherwise I do think just networking with other firms and having that conversation about what's working, what isn't working. Hearing from LPL what's working, what isn't working and understanding the direction of the company and the new technology offerings, it's really important to.
Samantha: So yes, you are a Technology Champion, but did you learn anything about technology while you were here?
Jacquelyn: Yeah, it's exciting. The new app for the account view which is the mobile app for the mobile phone experience for clients, I think it's going to be really awesome, we're going to actually join the pilot for that. So that's really exciting to hear. I'm in San Francisco, so we hear a lot from clients who work in tech, when is that going to be something that's available. So it's really exciting to hear that that's coming. And then just other simple things that really would help with daily operations. So whether it be client reporting or a new trick for enhanced trading, just various options out there.
Samantha: All right. Thank you so much Jacquelyn, for your time and your insight.
Jacquelyn: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Samantha: In addition to the great speakers on the main stage, Dan Arnold hosted town halls at this year's Focus where he took questions from the audience in real time. It was a great way for advisors to get straight answers immediately. Along with those town halls, there were more than 100 other breakout sessions covering a variety of topics including diversity as a growth driver. This session featured top performing advisors who are finding opportunity in changing demographics. You can read more about that session here on LPl.com. Now that the focus conference has wrapped for 2018, mark your calendars for next year. We're going to sunny San Diego August 18th to the 21st. Until then, keep it tuned to LPL.com for the latest news and happenings impacting your business and our industry and follow us on Twitter @LPL. Remember to share your favorite moments from this year's conference using #LPL Focus. I'm Samantha Davidson for the LPL Newsroom.
The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial speakers are as of the date of the recording. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and LPL Financial disclaims any responsibility to update such views.
The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial Advisors are as of the date of the recording. These views may not be representative of the views of other Financial Advisors and are not indicative of future performance or success. Neither LPL Financial nor the LPL Financial Advisor can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.
Advisor firms mentioned in this podcast are separate entities from LPL Financial.