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.”
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“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.