LPL’s three-day annual conference, with its 3,000 attending advisors and an army of product vendors and home-office staff almost as large, seems to be built on a cascade of revelations about various technology innovations.
For example, the firm’s new trading platform enables advisors to effect trades for all their clients simultaneously, with just a few clicks, something that would have taken a few days in the past.
Liberating as this all is, technology changes often induce anxiety in anyone resistant to change, which includes most people. LPL, to its credit, has thought about this and enlisted a master communicator, Paul Blease, to put these changes in perspective.
At a session called “The Whys and Hows of Automating Your Practice,” planned for Wednesday morning near the conference close, Blease, who is director of OppenheimerFunds’ CEO Advisor Institute, plans to give advisors a mountaintop view of the purposes of technology over thousands of years of human history.
Thus informed — perhaps “disarmed” would be more accurate — advisors may be more likely to embrace the changes, feeling more encouraged than intimidated.
In an industry that readily plunks down hard money on sales training, Blease concentrates on the soft skills — those less tangible or measurable — that may truly distinguish advisors who succeed at the business from the many who do not; the industry remains notorious for its 80% attrition rate in would-be advisors’ first five years.
In a standing-room-only session he delivered Monday morning, the former Merrill Lynch advisor and Smith Barney trainer addressed a number of common mistakes and reframed them for advisors eager to overcome them.
For example, he chastised those in the industry who push products — hot funds and the like — for their lack of professionalism. Just as doctors don’t run specials on appendectomies for healthy patients nor do lawyers push divorces on happily married couples, Blease points out that process rather than product is the mark of a professional.