LPL's Dan Arnold: 'Uberization' is coming to advisers' offices

CEO says he wants to adopt a shared economy model to lower advisers' costs and make them more efficient

Jul 31, 2017 @ 4:36 pm

By Bruce Kelly

LPL Financial is taking a page from Uber, the tech company that upended the taxi industry and has become a model for the shared economy, to potentially lower costs and free up time for advisers.

In remarks Monday morning in Boston at LPL's annual conference for advisers, called Focus, CEO Dan Arnold said advisers would be introduced to "uberization."

That would mean "several new concepts that help you think differently about your overhead," Mr. Arnold said. "As a result, we will provide you solutions that will eliminate, automate, or outsource any activities that do not directly generate growth."

Later in the day, he fleshed out his remarks to reporters, emphasizing the potential for economic sharing of services among LPL's 14,000 advisers.

"It's that shared economy kind of concept," Mr. Arnold said. "That's what Uber was based on."

"Instead of me, the adviser, having an assistant, I could tap into LPL who is providing a group of assistants for me," Mr. Arnold said. "I pay for it when I use it. I don't have to train or manage them. It takes friction out of the system, it potentially lowers the advisers' costs, and allows me to allocate my time to the highest yielding outcome. Hence uberization."

The work could replace a traditional assistant and vary "from opening a new account to processing account transfer paperwork to responding to a client's request — any way that an adviser would leverage the traditional assistant," Mr. Arnold said. "Those are the types of capabilities. Geography shouldn't limit us."

He said that LPL had been "experimenting" with the outsourcing of such work, and LPL would keep employees in its Charlotte or San Diego campuses to work with advisers.

"We would overlay technology on top of that to create personal connectivity," Mr. Arnold said. "You could use video or other ways to build the connection in that relationship with the adviser. This particular example has gotten good feedback."

"When we think about trying to help advisers run a business or helping someone run a smaller business, you think about tapping into that shared economy concept in order to help them lower the cost associated with their overhead," he said.

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