LPL Launches ‘Elite’ Retirement Plan Group

Advisors have a big corporate market to tackle, but it's not for everyone, one executive says

LPL Financial (LPLA) said Tuesday that it is rolling out a new program to recognize and support top financial advisors focused on advising retirement plans for corporate clients.

The Retirement Partners Group (or RPG) is being launched with 87 advisor members, who advise 4,000 retirement plans with nearly $40 billion in assets. It will be staffed by about 65 LPL employees.

Bill Chetney“We are really targeting the top 1%, the most elite retirement advisors,” said Bill Chetney (left), executive vice president of LPL Financial Retirement Partners, in an interview with AdvisorOne.

Those in RPG will “benefit from a comprehensive branding and marketing effort to differentiate them from the majority of financial advisors,” according to LPL. And group members will be able to share expertise and referrals with one another in order to strengthen their industry relationships.

“We really did this to shine a spotlight on the achievements of those in RPG,” Chetney said. “They have been in the business for 10-plus years, are constant speakers at related events … and are driving changes in industry for the good. This program should help retirement plan sponsors more easily identify them and hopefully utilize their services.”

This field, the executive notes, is not for everyone. Most broker-dealers don’t carve out this space for special attention. “Some, you can say, almost ostracize those in it, because they do not have enough bulk or scale to justify the millions of investment that LPL has put into the space. If they [don’t have the right number of reps in the retirement plan market], it doesn’t make sense to pursue it.”

Of LPL’s 13,300 affiliated reps, about 1,400 have five or more retirement plans in their books of business. For most, this market represents about 25% or more of their total sales.

“As the marketplace and Department of Labor and ERISA rules evolve, with more stringent guidelines, more advisors are migrating away from this business,” Chetney says.

This should, then, mean more business for those focusing on it. “It’s going from a field with two-plan ponies to the specialists,” he said.

Chetney came on board LPL when the independent broker-dealer moved to acquire National Retirement Partners, an advisor network focused on the group-retirement space, in 2010.

Earlier this month, LPL said it had set up its Worksite Financial Solutions platform to let retirement plan sponsors and advisors “better address the needs of plan participants throughout their financial lives, from the date of hire to separation and beyond.” The new platform includes the Employee Transition Solution, introduced in May 2012.

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Read LPL Branding Plan: A Work in Progress on AdvisorOne.

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