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LPL advisors receive tax tool as new law tests value proposition

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LPL Financial’s advisors have gained discounted access to a tax-optimization tool its developer says is capable of boosting clients’ returns by an average of 50 basis points.

LifeYield and the largest independent broker-dealer agreed to make the so-called Taxficient Score available to LPL’s 16,000 advisors through its vendor affinity program, the two firms announced May 30. Advisors can get their clients’ Taxficient Scores for $100 per month under the deal, LifeYield says.

Earlier this month, the Boston-based developer unveiled an agreement with No. 49 IBD United Planners Financial Services to offer the metric, which is similar to a credit score, to United’s 500 advisors. Previously, only large institutions like Morgan Stanley could use the tool.

LifeYield tapped Steven Zuschin, a former business development director with risk-management-tech firm HiddenLevers, last fall to build out partnerships with advisors. The December passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ended the tax deduction for advisory fees, he points out.

“It just puts increasing pressure on the fees that clients are paying their advisors,” says Zuschin, an executive vice president for sales with LifeYield. “In justifying, or at least providing an illustration of where they are adding value, LifeYield brings something to the table that I think is extremely helpful.”

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Taxficient Scores find savings on a client’s after-tax returns by analyzing all of their accounts and providing a rating on a 100-point scale on the tax efficiency of their asset allocation. Clients’ returns generally improve by around 50 basis points after coordinating the various accounts, Zuschin says.

The vendor agreement also gives access to LifeYield’s Social Security planning tool, according to LifeYield, which normally charges $120 per month for the Taxficient Scores. LPL started its vendor affinity program in July 2015 with discounts of 10% to 80% on more than 50 products and services.

“Technology plays an increasingly significant role in our advisors’ businesses to be able to create more efficiency in their practices and to enhance their ability to serve their clients’ needs,” Andy Kalbaugh, president of LPL’s national sales and consulting division, said in a statement.

The platform giving advisors access to tech vendors like LifeYield allows LPL to “further support their ability to manage and grow their businesses and provide even greater value in affiliation with LPL,” Kalbaugh added.

The tool should help advisors more easily communicate with their clients about opportunities to improve their portfolio’s tax efficiency, according to Zuschin. LifeYield is holding a webinar on June 15 to explain the Taxficient Score and its other offerings in full detail.

“We’re always looking for new partnerships,” says Zuschin. “We want to make our software available to as many advisors as possible.”

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