LPL Financial says Chief Information Officer Victor Fetter is leaving the firm and will be replaced on July 10 by Scott Seese, who has been CIO of American Express’ global consumer business unit and of eBay.
The change comes about six months after Dan Arnold stepped into the CEO slot left by the retiring Mark Casady, who also acted as chairman. Previously, Arnold was president of the independent broker-dealer, a role he took on in 2015, when Robert Moore departed. Three weeks ago, LPL’s general counsel left the firm.
LPL’s stock traded down about 0.75% at just under $41 per share on Thursday.
At least two recruiters are upbeat on the large IBD’s CIO news.
“Even though they have had numerous management changes, the insecurity that such changes can bring to advisors has been offset with improved recruiting, a regulatory environment that makes large firms looked upon as a safe haven and [Financial Industry Regulatory Authority] fines that reflect a slowdown in arbitrations,” said Jon Henschen of Henschen & Associates.
Technology has become a very important part of attracting advisors, according to Mark Elzweig of Mark Elzweig Company, a search firm in New York.
“It is a key element in an advisor’s decision to join a rival firm or to stay with his or her current firm. A firm’s technological prowess shapes the day-to-day experience of both advisors and their clients,” he explained.
Plus, LPL has made an interesting decision to hire an executive who has experience with large consumer-oriented companies rather than just grabbing a CIO from a rival BD.
“Bringing in a heavy hitter who worked for a successful consumer-oriented company like American Express could be really good for LPL,” said Elzweig. “Hopefully, he’ll contribute fresh ideas and a new perspective. It’s a big deal.”
LPL’s CEO seems to agree.
“I’m excited to welcome Scott to our management team, and I’m confident in his ability to transform our technology products and platforms from utility to strategic assets,” explained Arnold in a statement.
In May, LPL had total brokerage and advisory assets of $540 billion, up nearly 1% from April. Of these, brokerage assets were $306.0 billion, while advisory assets were $233.5 billion.
The IBD’s total cash sweep balances, though, fell 2.4% from the prior month to $28.3 billion.
“We are grateful for Victor’s business leadership at LPL and wish him well,” Arnold said.
According to Fetter, the departing LPL executive is joining Vertiv Co., in Columbus, Ohio. He will serve as chief digital officer o the firm, which works on mission-critical technology for a range of industries.
Seese lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will be based in LPL’s Carolinas campus in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
“Scott is a seasoned technology executive who is known as an innovator and digital disruptor. He brings a wealth of proven experience building and delivering customer-centric technologies at leading organizations,” according to Arnold.
Seese was CIO of AmEx’s global consumer business unit from November 2014 to June 2016; he had that role at eBay from 2010 to 2014, when the company grew from $6 billion to $18 billion in revenue.
Prior to joining eBay, he had different senior technology roles at Bank of America from 2005 to 2010. He cut his teeth at GE, starting in 1993.
For the last year he has been an angel investor and board advisor for startup companies, while also working on a philanthropic project in Guatemala with Wakami, a nonprofit social business network.
“I’m excited to be joining LPL at this critical time, both in its technology journey and its growth strategy,” said Seese, in a statement. “Technology plays such an important role in the everyday lives of our employees, advisors and their clients. I look forward to working with the team at LPL to make our technology a real competitive advantage and differentiator in the industry.”