From the May 2009 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

May 1, 2009

LPL Financial Makes Push for 'ClientsFirst'

LPL Financial, the independent broker-dealer serving some 11,890 independent advisors, has launched a program called ClientsFirst to help FAs attract, convert and retain new clients. The firm rolled out the program on January 30, 2009, and more than 2,000 advisors enrolled in it within 30 days.

According to Ruth Papazian, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, about 500 advisors per week are enrolling in the program, which is aimed at about 10,500 LPL Financial advisors in 6,000 branches nationwide and not those in banks and credit unions.

ClientsFirst is "a robust new client acquisition system to increase referrals, identify prospective clients, track progress, purchase and segment leads and develop highly customized marketing materials," she says.

LPL Financial's marketing of the program to advisors has been quite well received, says Papazian. "It goes out in a big red box. There's a four-minute presentation. We have a dedicated website too. There are lots of bells and whistles, but overall it's a very easy tool."

"Demand is strong," Papazian adds.

In October 2008, as LPL Financial saw the way things were going with the markets and the industry, it came up with the ClientsFirst concept. "As the broker-dealer for trusted Main Street financial advisors, what we saw was the opportunity for them to really capture new-client acquisitions and put together the program. We worked with three key [product] sponsors. Advisors were surveyed, and 90 percent said they would love a robust client-referral program. They did not yet have a regimented tool that they were using," she says.

The sponsors are Van Kampen Investments, Lincoln Financial and Prudential. The respective partners are providing referrals, helping advisors boost referrals via partnerships with CPAs and attorneys, and sharing the names of prospects who've gone through a life-changing event, such as retirement or divorce.

In addition, LPL Financial is able to track advisor use of the online resources and the effectiveness of these tools.

"Initially, we targeted about 1,800 financial advisors that are in smaller offices and do not have as much dedicated marketing staff as they might need," Papazian explains. "These are the offices that already have a client focus but need support, especially during tax season."

The second phase, set to roll out April 15 with five more sponsors, focuses on segmentation and niche marketing, including topics like speaking to women.

"The aim [of phase two] is for advisors to take what they've done with their existing clients and to get in a new market or markets," Papazian adds. "Many advisors see [phase one] working well for them, and this gives them a focus. It helps them see that they are building a business and not just dealing with turmoil."

In other news, LPL Financial says it has tapped Derek Bruton as national sales manager for its independent advisor services. In addition to this post, Bruton will continue to serve as CEO for the LPL Financial-affiliated broker-dealers.

In this new role, Bruton -- who joined LPL two years ago from TD Ameritrade -- will focus on driving advisor satisfaction, supporting the growth of their business and serving as their key advocate, according to the company. He also is set to work with the business-development group to ensure that relationship management, training, business consulting, and succession planning best serve and support advisors.

"Derek brings a wealth of sales management experience to his new role as national sales manager for independent advisor services," explains Bill Dwyer, president of independent advisor services. "His transition to this role presents a great opportunity for our advisors, who will further benefit from the strength of our independent model, as Derek will be able to create more value for all our independent advisors, regardless of their broker-dealer platform."

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