Advisors were already increasing their use of digital tools to increase efficiencies before COVID-19. But the pandemic accelerated their adoption of these capabilities, and they are not likely to go back to the way they did things before, LPL Financial executives say.
Even after the threat of the virus ends, “This movie is not going to sort of restart where it was a year ago,” Burt White, the firm’s chief investment officer, told ThinkAdvisor Thursday, during the firm’s first virtual Focus conference.
One key factor supporting this trend, he explains, is that the efficiencies digital tools have created for advisors “allow them to concentrate their energy more on the client interaction” side of the business. This is because the tools automate many of the processes they needed to do in the past.
“COVID didn’t create the technology innovation” that we are seeing, Matt Enyedi, managing director, national sales and consulting at LPL Financial, told ThinkAdvisor on Thursday. “It didn’t create the move to digital. It just sped it way up.”
Enyedi predicts advisors will take the best elements of remote working and combine them with the traditional methods they used in the past.
For one thing, advisors can now bring in talent and attract clients from all over the country and work closely with them thanks to the mass adoption of remote work, he said.
Therefore, even after the pandemic ends, “there’s no going back,” Enyedi explained. “You can’t kind of put the genie back in the bottle. But I do think folks will take the best of all worlds. That’s what we’re hoping.”
LPL’s Tech Efforts
“What we’ve done so well over the years at LPL is we’ve given [advisors an] avenue of independence,” and with that comes the “freedom and flexibility to run the business any way you want,” Enyedi said.
However, that adds a certain degree of complexity to advisors’ work, since they’re not just advising today. They also are running a business, including real estate, staffing and technology, he notes.
Most advisors don’t wake up every morning with a passion to run their business, he adds. Instead, they look forward to serving their clients.
To help advisors maximize time spent helping clients, the independent broker-dealer launched LPL Business Solutions last year. Its Admin Solutions, CFO Solutions, Marketing Solutions and Technology Solutions handle their business needs, according to Enyedi.