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LPL plans more deep integrations after MoneyGuide build

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In a long-anticipated move, LPL Financial adapted Envestnet | MoneyGuidePro into its main digital desktop, opening up access to a top financial planning software to some 1,100 advisors on its platform.

The integration into the No.1 IBD’s ClientWorks Connected — a curated section of the advisor workstation centered on advisor efficiency — is something MoneyGuide wanted “for years and years,” according to its president, Tony Leal. LPL has selected about a dozen vendors to feature in ClientWorks since launching the technology template as part of ClientWorks 2.0 in 2018.

LPL advisors in attendance at the firm’s national Focus conference in August cheered loudly when CEO Dan Arnold first informed them about the integration. The company Envestnet acquired last year for $500 million had already been part of the “vendor affinity” group, which launched in 2015 and offers tech from more than 70 firms and 150 products at discounts to LPL’s 16,349 advisors.

The firm plans to bring more vendors into ClientWorks Connected alongside MoneyGuide, its Fidelity-owned competitor eMoney, risk analysis software Riskalyze, the LPL-owned proposal generation firm AdvisoryWorld and a few other in-house and external tools, according to Rob Pettman, LPL’s executive vice president for advisory platforms and products.

Pettman declined to discuss which firms or type of firms may be under consideration on what kind of a timeline, providing only a hint that the firm will soon roll out a new investment portal. Such evaluations are “a collaborative effort” across LPL, including risk assessment, tech needs, the degree vendors complement existing capabilities and the level of advisor adoption, he says.

“There are a lot of considerations when it comes to those things,” Pettman says. “It's about having curated choice, but also being able to stitch those things through all the way to have a connected experience.”

For MoneyGuide, the speedometer-like dials displaying where clients are in connection with their financial goals are now readable within ClientWorks. Pettman emphasized that LPL isn’t taking over advisors’ MoneyGuide data, but rather migrating it into ClientWorks. Advisors can also create, adjust and review plans without needing to “go to 12 different systems,” Leal says.

Including the roughly 1,100 LPL advisors already using the software, MoneyGuide works with 195 different firms that range from other fintechs to broker-dealers, RIAs and large banks, according to Leal. Software integrations usually take around a month to complete and can pose challenges when combining the different firms’ tech tools, he says.

“We see a lot of IBD platforms, and you can tell that LPL has a significant investment in it and continues to make that,” Leal says. “You'll see a firm that will make an investment in it, and then three years from now it looks the same. It's like a one-year line item. And you can tell from looking at ClientWorks the continuous investment that they're making. It's impressive.”

The transition to ClientWorks from LPL’s earlier main advisor workstation, Branchnet, had frustrated many advisors until the firm began rolling out the first deep integrations in 2018. Last year, the firm spent $150 million on tech, which is more than many midsized IBDs generate in annual revenue. LPL has received positive feedback about ClientWorks, Pettman says.

“If you look at some of the announcements, there's a steady rhythm to systematic improvements that are occuring,” he says. “It's beyond improvements on pain points. These are value-added experiences that are being introduced here.”

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