In his welcoming speech to the 5,000 attendees at LPL Financial’s annual conference Monday in San Diego, National Sales President Bill Dwyer took a look back at the past two decades, but then looked ahead to what he believes will mark advisors’ success in a coming “Golden Age of advice” over the next 20 years.
At LPL, which Dwyer joined 20 years ago in July, “we’ve always tried in downturns to capture more market share and invest in new competencies,” and highlighted how LPL will help its advisors—and itself—enjoy continued success by focusing on the retirement planning space, on serving the high-net-worth client and on helping its advisors run more efficient businesses.
He told the audience, which included 2,700 of LPL’s 13,000 independent contractor rep force, that those investments in the past included launching a corporate RIA in 1992, making LPL the first “full-service firm to have advisors managing money on a fiduciary basis,” and its decision to become self-clearing in 2000, which has produced “efficiencies for us and our advisors,” citing a 2010 PriceWaterhouse survey sponsored by LPL which found that its reps had higher pretax income per owner and significantly higher profit per client than their competitors, part of which Dwyer attributed to LPL’s self clearing status.
“Today, we’re doing the same thing,” Dwyer said in a telephone interview Tuesday (reporters were not invited to the conference). While he said that “other firms are hunkering down, we’re adding competencies in the advisor space.” One of those competencies, via an announced partnership with Morningstar and through its acquisition of National Retirement Partners in July 2010, will “allow advisors to give advice on a fiduciary basis” to retirement plan participants.
“We introduced this to our advisors at the conference,” Dwyer said, and he believes that by “the spring of 2013, we’ll really hit our stride” with the offering, once LPL gets the cooperation of plan providers and plan sponsors.
Noting that 50% of the 4 million accounts at LPL are qualified accounts, he said that providing advice to plan participants in an efficient way is a “huge opportunity.” That opportunity resides not just among boomers, he believes, but also in the “echo boomers,” that cohort of workers who he said “will invest in their 401(k)s much differently than the boomers.” LPL is also finding success, Dwyer said, with its previously announced Rollover Results program.
If the retirement plan participant initiative is designed more for LPL advisors’ traditional sweet spot of what it likes to call ‘Main Street” investors, another investment is focused on the other end of the net-worth spectrum: the high- and the ultrahigh-net-worth.