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LPL upgrades retirement planning platform

Jun 3, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Joyce Hanson

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LPL Financial this summer expects to take the wraps off upgrades to its newly launched online retirement planning platform, Worksite Financial Solutions, that will enable participants to access plan information through mobile devices.

The company is targeting an end-of-summer release on the Apple and Android platforms for both smartphones and tablets, according to LPL spokesman Tony Vignieri.

“The upgrade will bring the entire Worksite offering into a streamlined user interface for participants so they can interact directly with LPL's platform seamlessly,” he said.

The upgrade comes as Worksite Financial Solutions is experiencing robust growth. Since making its debut in March 2013, Worksite Financial Solutions has amassed $4 billion in assets through 400 retirement plans — thanks, in part, to high-profile partnerships with firms such as The Vanguard Group and Ascensus Inc.

Just last week, Worksite Financial Solutions inked a deal with Ingham Retirement Group, a consultant serving approximately 7,000 benefit plans nationwide. Ingham, which has approximately $1.5 billion of assets under administration, acts as a record keeper, third-party administrator and independent adviser.

The partnership will likely create opportunities for LPL advisers, who will be able to offer their services to more than 190 Ingham-served plans.

LPL's Worksite Financial Solutions program includes an online component with web advice, but plan participants also can pick up the phone and talk to a licensed LPL adviser or even sit across the table with an adviser.

“There's a place for online advice and a place for advice given over the table, and we feel we have the ultimate hybrid model,” said Adam Sokolic, senior vice president of LPL Retirement Partners, a division within LPL that focuses on retirement plans.

Retirement Partners' advisers work with more than 35,000 plans across the country totaling approximately $107 billion in assets, he said.

Worksite Financial Solutions' growth reflects an industry trend toward providing pre-retirees with investment guidance and using the scalability of technology to reach more plan participants, according to retirement expert Richard Friedman, managing director of IRON Corporate Retirement Services.

“It can be an exceptional challenge in a retirement plan with 1,500 participants for an individual adviser to sit down with every participant,” Mr. Friedman said. “A lot of platforms today are offering this type of managed account concept. This is LPL's version of this concept.”

LPL's Worksite Financial Solutions platform also helps the broker-dealer connect its affiliated advisers with client prospects, Mr. Friedman noted.

“LPL is trying to get this nice, neat package that's driven by LPL for its advisers,” he said. “This is trying to make LPL advisers more competitive in the industry.”

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