Read the full transcript below:
Samantha Davison: Hello, my name is Samantha Davison and I'm with the LPL Newsroom. Focus 2018 is underway and on Monday the general session featured LPL leaders, Dan Arnold, Andy Kalbaugh, Heather Randolph Carter, Scott Seese and Matt Enyedi on the main stage digging into topics like culture and how to enhance the advisor's service experience.
Several advisors also took their time in the spotlight, sharing their experiences with technology, service, and building client relationships with the next generation. Something new this year that we're proud to highlight are the service superstars. With our commitment to making it easier for advisors to do business with us, we launched a campaign asking advisors who has gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional service. We had more than 500 nominations. It was amazing! And, today the winners made their big debut on the main stage
In addition to the main stage, there were 90 or so breakout sessions offered throughout the day. On the expo floor there was all kinds of activity and excitement as advisors networked with each other with employees as well as with LPL sponsors representing products, platforms and technology.
I'm joined now by Matt Enyedi, executive vice president, National Sales & Consulting. Thank you so much for being here.
Matt Enyedi: Great to be here, Samantha.
Samantha: What an exciting day today. We were packed with a lot of people and you had probably the best seat in the entire house.
Matt: I will have to say, it was pretty cool to be up there and watch the show go down and actually be a part of it. And, I think people liked it and we certainly had a good time doing it.
Samantha: Well, and we're thinking, what a 1200 first time attendees. That's a great milestone.
Matt: It's not just a great milestone, it's a great opportunity, because what we got to do is engage with folks for the first time in a way that maybe we haven't before, and when you talk to them one on one and they get to see what we're doing and how things are coming together and how we're bringing new culture, new innovation, new ideas to life. I think it impacts them in a way that they remember when they head back home.
Samantha: Well, and Dan Arnold started off and he talked a first and foremost about the culture, that we're really making a huge shift. Let's recap some of that for our listeners.
Matt: Yeah, I think that's what's so cool. A lot of us get a chance to interact with Dan pretty regularly, and it was pretty easy to see right when he got here, things were going to change and they were going to change for the better. And that all starts with culture.
We really need to make sure that this culture is one of making sure we understand what business we're in and what client we serve, and don't get mixed up. And, I think we quickly understood that we've got to make sure we're delivering for our advisors every single day.
Samantha: And, ever body who works at LPL is working for those advisors. It's not just the client facing. We're all client facing.
Matt: That's the bottom line right? There is no back office, front office, middle Office, Cal Elam had a great line today that it's either. He was a great military leader and he was a fighter pilot, but he said the cooks are just as important to the mission as the fighter pilot. Everyone has to come together and that's what we're starting to see.
Samantha: Let's talk about the listening culture. We're going to be listening to what advisors say they need and they want.
Matt: Yeah. So I think the listening culture is, basically, just that. I think there was a time where maybe we thought we knew more than we did actually, and we actually didn't go to our advisors as often as we should have and understand their needs in the field. And, hear what they're doing and hear what's working and what's not, and then go solve for those problems versus those that maybe we created our own.
Samantha: And another key focus was innovation. We're taking a close eye on that.
Matt: Innovation is probably where I know Dan gets very excited, because it's how we can step ahead. It's how we can differentiate from what we've seen and what we've done in the past. And, we, and through Burt's team, putting out more and more every single day. And, what you're starting to see is maybe we had a little bit of a credibility gap with our advisors when it comes to innovation. We've closed that gap, and they're starting to see things hit the field and I think when they do that, they start to get excited about what's to come next.
Samantha: And you talked about it, I mean there really is a partnership. It's advisors, LPL, we're working together for a common goal. So, let's talk about that, because Dan did his town halls, you know, he's got a couple of them, and he's going to be talking to advisors, real live action where he can hear from advisors and an answer straightforward.
Matt: I think that's probably where Dan is in his very best element, because A, he's so engaged with what we're trying to do, but I went to one of the town halls and he's taken hard questions on the fly and he's answering them, he's not afraid to say he doesn't know the answer. But he's certainly committed to finding it and making sure that we're finding solutions that work for ourselves as well as our advisors in a sustainable way. And I think they get that.
They understand that both of us have to have successful businesses to be long term business partners, and Dan puts it out there and I think it's really easy to digest.
Samantha: So then after Dan left stage, you and Andy Kalbaugh got up there and it was like David Letterman, it was a nighttime show, but at pretty much 8:30 in the morning.
Matt: Yeah, I mean I appreciate the David Letterman, I don't know about all that. We'll see what the ratings look like when they come in, but we certainly were having a good time. And then like we said, what was cool is we got to bring a lot of advisors on stage with us and hear from them. What's working, what's not, what they're doing to be successful, how they're entering and looking at new opportunities. And I think that really hits home with the advisors.
Samantha: So, Scott Seese, he came onboard and he has a real mission on how we can improve technology. So he gave some really important information to advisors, because they want to know what's happening with technology.
Matt: Yeah. When you think about Scott's mission in technology, what a great addition to the firm because he's worked at such scale, whether it be Ebay or American Express. Our scale doesn't scare him, but he also understands that we've got to have really three key things. We've got to have resiliency, we've got to have speed, and we've got to have capabilities. And what he really hit on was speed. When you're working with technology, you don't compare yourself to how other financial services firms are working, you compare yourself to Amazon or Google and when you click the button, you expect something to happen.
Reality was, we weren't delivering on that. And so we've gone through this journey, what he calls the four to three, to two, to one, where we were taking on a page load four seconds, then it went to three seconds, now it's under two seconds and we're moving to one second. And that's right on par with Amazon and some of the best out there. We are seeing speed come to life.
Samantha: So, beyond technology, what else is LPL doing to make it easier for advisors?
Matt: I think there's so many things that we're doing. We're adding new services, we're adding new capabilities, we're expanding our advisory platforms. There isn't an area of the firm that we're not touching, whether it be across our compliance and legal organization and trying to make it easier to interact with us, whether it be our service and operations about how to get business done. Those are our focuses. There isn't really an area that we're not focusing. We've got to make sure that we've got the right pace and the right measure, but we're moving full speed ahead.
Samantha: One of those things is a policies and procedures, making it easier to understand. Do they make sense to have? How do we make it easier for advisors?
Matt: I think we made some good points there and Andy called out a few, which is, we've got some policies that have been on the books for a long time. And, I think what we're doing right now is we're reevaluating every single one of those. Does this policy make sense? Does this form need to be so long? Is this something we need to ask our advisors to do? How many signatures do we need? Can we move data from one place to the next?
We're starting to see it come to life and the advisors are starting to feel. We were able to talk to about it with them, several areas where we're making a little bit easier to do business with us.
Samantha: And then, we had a fun special guest, Ron Insana, tell us about him.
Matt: I mean, Ron's fantastic. I mean, if you don't know Ron, he's been on CNBC, he's run his own businesses. He's done a million things across his career, but he's just got a really great grasp of the markets and the world around them and how we interact. Very leveled, very measured. He threw us for a little bit of a loop when he started his presentation about some worldly events that weren't actually true, that had to all of us running to our phones to see if we still had things going on. But, he's just, he's a calming voice in a world that sometimes gets pretty volatile.
Samantha: So, what else do you think advisors wanted to hear today on main stage? Or even throughout Focus, really?
Matt: You know, I think what they really come here to see, is not how cool or how smart we are, but what are we doing to help them? What are we doing to help their investors? And, if we can deliver on that, then we meet their expectations. And, I think as they walk around the expo halls, they go to the innovation lab, as they go to 'hear me' and give us their feedback. They're starting to see that their voice matters and we're listening and we're actually acting on it.
Samantha: Let's talk about Hear Me real quick, because that really ... I mean, we've had several people come to the Newsroom booth talking about where can I give you my ideas? What can I do? So tell us a little bit about that.
Matt: Well, you know, Hear Me is just a great way to take in feedback. Feedback, as Dan always says, is a gift. It truly is, because that's how we learn and that's how we act.
Samantha: That's that partnership, right?
Matt: It's the partnership, but here's the thing. If you don't have a system to take in the information, the information gets lost or it's not sorted correctly. What Hear Me does, is it's a centralized way for us to capture how our people are thinking. We can prioritize and organize what they're asking for, and then we can go solve for it.
Samantha: There are so many exciting things that happened today and will happen over the course of the Focus conference, but what do you think advisors are most excited to hear about?
Matt: I think they're most excited to hear about that everything we're talking about is not in the future. It's actually happening now. We've talked about the future and the future is certainly bright, but the present is pretty darn cool too, and I think that's what matters to them. That is what's going to actually change their businesses now. It's what's going to allow them to interact with our clients better today, tomorrow and going forward. So today's the day.
Samantha: All right, thanks Matt. Thank you so much for taking some time. I know you want to get out there and talk to those advisors. We appreciate your time and your perspective.
Matt: It's absolutely. My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Samantha: And now I'm joined by Conor Delaney, chief executive officer with Good Life Advisors. Thank you so much for being here.
Conor: Thank you for having me.
Samantha: Okay, so you've been with LPL since 2012. You've been to a number of Focus conferences. What was today like listening to our LPL leaders on the main stage?
Conor: I think it was very positive, all the messaging from Dan and from Andy. Always positive, but I feel like this year they actually. There was more of a finger on the pulse type of feeling. I feel like they really are hearing what the advisors are saying, and hopefully making the necessary pivots to get even better at what we're doing.
Samantha: Tell us a little bit about your business model, because how your business model is set up, you really can see the differences that LPL is looking to do for advisors.
Conor: Sure. So we are one of the 31 or 33 large enterprises at LPL. We have advisors in 36 different states I think. What we task ourselves with everyday is the responsibility of keeping our advisors relevant in a changing world and circumstances as it relates to advisors.
Obviously, providing compliance and all that stuff, but also to provide them with the other stuff that they need in their ecosystem for them to thrive.
Samantha: When you're listening to that to them on there, on main stage, what were some of the highlights for you? What are you going to take away and use when you go back home?
Conor: I think what Scott is doing, the integration that Scott has planned, as it relates to technology, is really exciting. The idea that they are going to allow for a third party vendors is also exciting, because I think everybody's built their business slightly differently. And, I think the challenge for them is, how do you take 17,000 people and have them all feel like they can customize their business without, you know, affecting the core business that we do here at LPL. And, I think that Scott's the right guy to do that.
Samantha: So, you have designed your company to really look at the common person, maybe the underserved people, the investors that, maybe, haven't had somebody look out for them, previously. Tell us about how important that relationship is.
Conor: What we're trying to do is to become that engine for middle America investors and for middle America advisors. And again, I think what LPL has done really well is they've said, "Connor, we understand your business. We get what you're trying to build. And it's different than everybody else, which is awesome, because if we all were building the same business, I guess it would be a lot harder for us to operate."
And, what LPL is consistently saying, it's like, "Okay, we understand what you're trying to accomplish and you're laying out how you're going to try to accomplish it. How can we help build that conduit and that piping in between?"
Samantha: And, we're providing you with the tools and resources to be successful.
Conor: And the access.
Samantha: How important are conferences like this?
Conor: For me, I love them. I was telling you before, with three young kids at home, I will do what I have to do for the business, but bouncing around the United States like a pinball isn't usually on the top of my list.
This conference puts people from all over the country under one roof for three days, with a tight enough agenda that we get the messaging that LPL is trying to give us during the specific time, but it's loose enough that I can fit in the 15 or 20 other people that I need to see. Whether it's peers or other folks from home office, to have them all under one roof ... Let's put it this way, it makes the home life a lot easier and a happy wife, happy life and that's all good.
Samantha: Very good. Conor, thank you so much for spending some time and giving us some insight and your perspective.
Conor: Thank you for having me.
Samantha: Enjoy Focus.
And now I'm joined by Jay Sawyer, vice president of Flagship Harbor Advisors. Thank you so much for being here.
Jay: My pleasure.
Samantha: So tell me first, how long have you been with LPL?
Jay: We've been here for seven years. We started at the end of 2010, so coming up on seven and a half years now.
Samantha: Give us an idea of just how big of a practice you have.
Jay: 60 advisors in the group. Each individual advisor runs their own office and their own practice, so to speak, but we're sort of banded together with a common purpose and a common brand.
Samantha: So you attended the general session and you heard Dan and Andy and Scott talk about all the changes and our real commitment to our advisors. One of the key things that they talked about were the service superstars. And, we had like 500 nominations from advisors about people working within LPL who are doing great things above and beyond. Two of your nominees were selected.
Samantha: Tell us about that and tell us who they were.
Jay: Sure. So, two of the people that I work with every day and that I lean on heavily ... So you know, one of my jobs is to sort of be the answer guy for the 60 advisors in our group, in addition to running my own practice. But, when I don't have all the answers, particularly when it comes to service issues or technology needs. I always punt to Julie Nelson, who's our tech extraordinaire and Lonnie Jones who's the manager of our service team, Number 40.
And so, when they asked for the nominations, I took it upon myself to email all the people in our group and all the staff people in our group to say, anybody who you feel so strongly to nominate, please submit. And by the way look out for Julie and Lonnie, because I think, in particular they are worthy. And, you know, very pleased to know that they both got nominated.
Samantha: So what makes them so special?
Jay: Well Julie, in particular, for technology purposes, I have yet to find something that she doesn't know the answer to, when it comes to tech. You know, she's an experienced LPL person, she's been here for a long time. But also, she will take direct emails and direct phone calls from people in our group and call them back and email them back rather than us having to wade through the traditional queue. You know, call it a benefit of being part of a large enterprise. We love being able to just work directly with her rather than having to go through the normal channels.
Samantha: And you actually got to meet both of them in person, you know, which makes the relationship that much better.
Jay: Indeed. Yes, you know, Lonnie, his job is to respond directly to people in our group, but what I've found is when we say, when we have a problem above a two on the Richter scale, go straight to Lonnie and he does an amazing job of getting back to people immediately.
And so, I had breakfast with them this morning. I got to meet them both in person, I talk to them almost every day or email with them. But to meet them in person was really special, it was really great.
Samantha: And you're also taking a real active role right here at focus. You're, kind of, one of the technology champions. Tell me what that is and what does that really mean?
Jay: Sure. Well, I think they look for a few advisors who have really embraced technology. I probably represent the large enterprise group, where we have several advisors all working under one group. And, basically, being a technology champion means that we've really embraced technology in our group. We do a lot of things with E-sig, scan everything, totally paperless. You know, myself and our CEO are pretty hands on, so we have to really embrace the technology or else, you know, we would have to have four or five different staff people.
Samantha: So you can explain to other advisors, look, you can do this. It makes it easier. This is how you do it.
Jay: Yeah, absolutely. So again, I need Julie a lot, if I don't know the answers to stuff, she helps me out. But no, it's great. LPL's technology really gives us a good platform for running our business.
Samantha: Very good. Well thank you so much and congratulations on having your nominees selected.
Samantha: And we appreciate your partnership and enjoy the rest of Focus.
Jay: Thank you very much.
Samantha: Thanks again to Matt, Conor, and Jay for joining us today. We have had a great day and there's a lot more to come. On Tuesday, our very own Burt White, managing director and Chief Investment Officer will take the main stage at the general session, and that is sure to be as exciting and passionate as we've come to expect from a Burt presentation.
The main stage will also feature several other LPL leaders and guest speakers. Dozens of people gathered around our recording studio for our research podcast this morning, and we expect the same tomorrow. If you miss it, you can listen to it right here on LPL.com at the end of the day. We appreciate your support on social media. Keep those pictures and posts coming. Follow us on Twitter @LPL, and remember to use the Hashtag #LPLFocus. I'm Samantha Davison with the LPL Newsroom.
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Advisor firms mentioned in this podcast are separate entities from LPL Financial.