BOSTON –  During an energetic presentation at LPL’s annual Focus conference in Boston, managing director and chief technology officer Victor Fetter highlighted the firm's full-throttle strategy on improving the way its advisors work. To that end, the ClientWorks platform is taking on more importance and will eventually replace the current system BranchNet; and a push for greater accessibility in the cloud is on the horizon.

"Technology is enabling new capabilities that we can only dream about," Fetter said. "But what happens when we use it to its fullest?"

Fetter says that LPL has made approximately 1,500 technological changes in the past year, including its gradual rollout of ClientWorks, a solution intended to seamlessly integrate the firm's product offerings as well as streamline individual advisor workflows.

"ClientWorks is an amalgamation of many of the solutions we’ve been launching put together in a package," said Fetter.

NOT JUST A TOUCH-UP

Fetter was quick to emphasize that the creation of these digital tools was more than a patch-up job, but rather a full remodeling of the broker-dealer’s digital capabilities.

"Remodeling is more than a fresh coat of paint. It’s not about just changing screen colors and pretending it’s something different,” he said. "It’s about enabling a new set of capabilities and adding value now."

According to Fetter, the company processes 20 million pages per year, or about six thousand feet of paper. One of his goals is to fully automate offices and eliminate the experience of working in an office over-filled with files.

"Isn't it painful to still have to run to the fax machine and put something through?" Fetter asked the audience. "Our job is to change that."

Eventually, Fetter says the ClientWorks platform will replace LPL’s current system BranchNet, notorious among attendees for its yellow error screens. The new ClientWorks system not only offers advisors greater security, but also allows them to move away from digital certificates and towards greater accessibility to the cloud and from mobile devices.

LPL’s pre-existing Resource Center is one of the many tools that will have a new home within the ClientWorks platform. The Research Center is an online portal that serves as centralized information hub for LPL advisors and their staff. A new vendor affinity program launched at Focus grants advisors access to more than 50 external vendors through the Resource Center.

Within the new affinity program, participating vendors will be able to provide discounts to LPL advisors ranging from 10% to 80%. Services will include office management, financial planning, performance reporting, CRM, research, analytics, marketing, social media, practice management and client appreciation, according to a statement announcing the program’s launch.

"We started with a bold vision and are well on our way,” Fetter said. “ClientWorks represents that vision…it is mobile based, secure, simple and easy. It’s modern, designed to handle needs, bring context and edit and correct errors early on."

Fetter said that while the new system is still being used on a trial basis, he said that more advisors and more participants are being solicited for the ClientWorks pilot programs.

"We’re going to go through a period where we have both tools, but what we want to do is really embrace this new way of working," Fetter said.

Fetter also suggested that advisors appoint a staff technology ambassador to help implement the new technologies into their offices.

"When you take [advisors'] passion and you mirror it with technology, I think ultimately you get to your full potential," he said.

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