Michael Kitces #FinTech

How will LPL's new tech platform measure up against the competition?

Questions remain about whether ClientWorks will be on par with other third-party open architecture platforms for advisers

Aug 13, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

By Sheryl Rowling

LPL has announced its new ClientWorks technology platform offering with great fanfare.

According to LPL Financial president Robert Moore, "Advisers will be able to run their practices more efficiently than before, through improved client management, digital account opening, streamlined trading, enhanced cash management and collaboration capabilities." LPL is hoping to create a workflow system that will allow an adviser to run their back-office from anywhere.

While I applaud all forms of technology advances for financial advisers, I am not sure if this not-yet-released offering is truly new or just new to LPL. Is LPL playing catch-up with other platforms that are already out there?

For example, Shareholders Service Group believes in open integration of its technology to allow advisers the freedom to choose best-of-breed. "Through our partnerships with top providers, we can help our advisers find the right fit with either integrated or bundled solutions," said SSG's president Dan Skiles.

Technologies that are not affiliated with particular custodians are also on the market. One example with already proven technology is Orion Advisor Services' state-of-the art portfolio accounting system that enables a customized approach for each firm. Orion integrates portfolio accounting and re-balancing features with the CRM, financial planning and custodial systems that are the best fit for each adviser. Their web-based services include integrations in real time, as well as its suite of portfolio accounting and re-balancing functionality, all through web-based CRM systems.

And according to Junxure vice president Ken Golding, after years of development, "Junxure Cloud is also a fully functional cloud platform, accessible from desktops and tablets, anytime, anywhere." Mr. Golding claims that Junxure offers the same functionality while interfacing with multiple custodians, unlike LPL's new offering.

LPL's announcement is great news for advisers. However, as an adviser myself, I think it's important to consider all options when it comes to technology.

Sheryl Rowling is chief executive of Total Rebalance Expert and principal at Rowling & Associates. She considers herself a non-techie user of technology.

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