LPL Financial (LPLA) said Wednesday that it plans to use BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor platform as its robo-advisor for both affiliated reps and RIAs.
This news follows a similar announcement made by RBC Wealth Management in February. FutureAdvisor, which was acquired by BlackRock in August 2015, now has over $700 million in client assets.
“We are excited to collaborate with FutureAdvisor to accelerate the development of our robo-advice solution, which we believe will enable our advisors and institutions to serve a variety of clients with independent, objective financial advice in a convenient and scalable manner,” said Ryan Parker, managing director of Investment & Planning Solutions for LPL, in a statement.
“The new solution will complement advisors’ existing practices and expand the availability of their services to current or potential clients who may prefer a digital alternative to the traditional method of receiving investment advice,” Parker explained.
LPL, which has some 14,000 affiliated reps, is not sharing a specific timetable for the full rollout of its robo-advisor offering. However, Rob Pettman, executive VP of product management for LPL, says the phased launch will begin in August at the firm’s yearly advisor conference.
The firm, Pettman says, started out by exploring one option for a robo-offering “and then changed course to a fully intergrated solution for our platform.”
“It will come out as part of phased [introduction] for a concentrated group of advisors and institutions to make sure all is working in accordance with our plan and is helping them … succeed,” he explained. As the process moves along, the firm “will add waves of advisors to access its functionality.”
Advisor Ross Gerber of the RIA firm Gerber Kawasaki in Santa Monica, California, says he is “really excited. There were many players trying to get this deal with LPL. This will give 14,000 advisors the same tools that Betterment and others have, including client onboarding online. It’s big news,” he explained in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.