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New LPL exec leverages #FinTwit to advance the industry and his career

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Twitter is much more than snark and ratios. Just ask a new associate vice president of finance at the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer.

Financial advisors and other wealth management professionals can use the social media outlet to advance the industry and their careers.

But the industry’s online presence, known as #FinTwit, contains multitudes. It includes a range of perspectives, sectors and topics, from the gimlet-eyed views of the marketplace by @ReformedBroker (aka Josh Brown of Ritholtz Wealth Management) to frequent health care posts, aging insights and butterfly updates by @CarolynMcC (IRL, Carolyn McClanahan of Life Planning Partners).

So when Kian Salehizadeh needed advice about an open position on LPL Financial’s CFO Solutions team in San Diego, he tapped into the network of professional contacts he’s built since launching his Twitter account way back in 2007. In this way, Salehizadeh says, Twitter “played a pretty big part” in his mid-November career move.

The #FinTwit community has some very giving people. A recent trend features videos and pictures of advisors buying items at Walmart for needy families. They were participating in “#Nolayawayvember,” led by Tyrone Ross, the director of financial education at Exponential ETFs, and LPL advisor Alex Chalekian.

Salehizadeh himself has been part of the growing #FinTwit conversation about pushing sexism out of wealth management along with active users like SRI consultant Sonya Dreizler and Chalekian. Dreizler’s “Do Better” blog series has spotlighted stories of harassment and discrimination. Chalekian’s video in October made Ken Fisher’s sexist jokes public.

“It just shows you the power of not being afraid to speak up and leveraging a platform like Twitter to get it out there,” Salehizadeh says. “I thought that was an awesome move on his part, and it just shows you can bring about changes. There's still a lot of work to be done.”

Kian Salehizadeh is an associate vice president of finance for LPL Financial and an active Twitter user spreading positive vibes around #FinTwit.

Salehizadeh has shared Dreizler’s series multiple times. He also tweets jokes about wealth management news topics and daily life, along with holiday expressions of gratitude and hopeful messages about positive changes to wealth management.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or brown or white, overweight or skinny, tall or short, straight or LGBTQ, rich or poor,” Salehizadeh, a first-generation American of Iranian descent, tweeted on Nov. 9. “We’re all human beings and we should treat each other with dignity and respect.”

Dreizler first met Salehizadeh in person last month when the two of them organized a networking happy hour in San Diego. They had already connected via Twitter, where she says he stands out as an advocate for boosting diversity and his helpful lists of other users to follow.

“I appreciate his authenticity,” Dreizler says. “It's clear to me that he is supportive of women and people of color in this business and increasing their access to financial services and as a job.”

LPL advisor Victor Orozco also met Salehizadeh through Twitter. Orozco and another advisor, Marci Bair, were “honored to give feedback” to Salehizadeh when he reached out to “to get a pulse of LPL,” Orozco says.

“He's very giving, he's very community-minded and he just wants to help connect good people with other good people,” Orozco says. “He doesn't just do that for his Twitter handle.”

Orozco also says he’s interested in considering LPL’s new outsourced CFO service — where Salehizadeh will be consulting on valuation assistance and other corporate finance needs for 10 to 15 advisors. Salehizadeh has worked with advisors for his whole 15-year career, which includes a stint at TD Ameritrade Institutional and his prior one at ETF issuer Reality Shares.

“I get to stay local and once again I’m working on an up-and-coming team that's within a corporate environment,” Salehizadeh says. “They’ve had a lot of demand for it from their advisors, and so they're growing like crazy.”

LPL made its outsourced business resources available to its more than 16,000 advisors at the firm’s annual Focus conference in August. The CFO Solutions team that includes Salehizadeh has expanded to 25 financial professionals from only five at the time, according to LPL.

The firm’s advisor and executive ranks include many frequent Twitter users, but Dreizler notes that BDs and other large firms often face strict compliance rules around their posts. The SEC began an effort last month to modernize its advertising rules for the social media era.

Dreizler sees the social media platform as a good way of displaying professional expertise by sharing information that’s relevant to clients and prospects. She and Salehizadeh also use Twitter to keep up on the latest wealth management news and engage with their networks.

“There's a very nice community of financial advisors and financial professionals on Twitter,” she says. “It can also realistically take a lot of your time. You have to be careful.”

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