Just a few weeks after announcing plans to launch its robo-advisor offering this summer, LPL Financial (LPLA) said Tuesday that it is expanding services to advisors with high-net-worth clients and prospects.
For instance, the firms says, it is rolling out a Private Client Curriculum Series to help reps and institutions “market to, win and retain HNW individuals and institutional clients.”
LPL shared the news at its seventh-annual Private Wealth Symposium, which is taking place this week in Dana Point, California, and includes about 180 advisors. The keynote speaker Tuesday was Mike Huckabee, the former presidential candidate and Arkansas governor.
Asked if LPL has the financial and organizational capacity to span the breadth of offerings – from robo to HNW – Matt Enyedi, executive vice president of RIA and high-net-worth solutions, says no other plan really makes sense.
“We are trying to serve the broadest set of clients in rapidly changing marketplace to best help our advisors … not only survive but thrive,” the executive stated in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.
“We are building a model to transcend the different advisor and investor types The independent advisor landscape is the landing spot for HNW investors, who are looking for an unbiased, objective firm for advice. LPL can do this for them,” explained Enyedi.
While five years ago, there may have been a credibility gap between the independent firms and the wirehouses, “That [gap] no longer exists today,” he added. “In fact, with Fortigent, we would argue that our technology has surpassed the old [wirehouse] model.”
His colleague Gary Carrai, senior vice president of high-net-worth solutions, couldn’t agree more.
“High-net-worth business is being won by independent advisors,” Carrai explained. “They are just winning. All the statistical research we see reflects and shows that this trend is set to continue. The landscape has changed – high net worth is shifting from the wirehouse.”
As for this week’s conference, “We have had a steady growth in attendance at this event for the past few years, but this is our largest yet and reflects the success advisors are having in winning high-net-worth business,” he said.
Still, the indie firms clearly have a ways to go when it comes to HNW assets and other measures.
LPL defines high-net-worth clients as those with at least $5 million of investable assets. This business now has some $27 billion in assets under custody, up from $20 billion in December 2013, the firm says. (Total assets in advisory and brokerage accounts stand at $479 billion, while its advisors service some $121 billion in retirement plan assets.)
UBS’ wealth advisors (UBS) in the Americas have total clients assets of over $1 trillion and average yearly fees and commissions of over $1 million, for instance. LPL’s reps had average production of less than $150,000 last year.
The firm, considered the largest independent broker-dealer in the U.S., made a big move into this market through its 2012 purchase of Fortigent, which provides advisors with a platform to serve HNW clients. The platform became more widely available to affiliated advisors starting in late 2014.
“It’s been a natural progression,” said Enyedi. “About 12 years ago we bought a private trust company and, in 2008, an RIA custody platform – followed by Fortigent. All of these pieces have come together, … and now we the see full strength of the integration.”
Today, LPL’s HNW program includes consulting services, performance-reporting technology, research tailored to the HNW marketplace and other practice management resources. The new curriculum series, specifically, will offer advisors access to more events, tools and training, such as workshops, monthly conference calls, a library of white papers, training with asset management partners and the ability to pursue professional designations.