LPL CEO Dan Arnold acknowledges mistakes in firm's technology rollout

Advisers attending LPL Focus 2018 say CEO realizes the firm botched the ClientWorks launch

Jul 30, 2018 @ 4:40 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

LPL Financial's Focus 2018 kicked off in Boston Monday with CEO Dan Arnold acknowledging some "missteps" in the firm's rollout of its new technology platform for advisers, ClientWorks.

According to advisers attending the event, Mr. Arnold and his team owned up to the mistakes and admitted that there could be ongoing problems for some users.

"They recognized what went wrong and quickly came up with a solution to fix it," said Alex Chalekian, founder and CEO of Lake Avenue Financial. "LPL knows that there's more to be done and as part of the Advisor Council, we will work with them in achieving that goal. With any sort of tech, it's always a work in progress."

Mr. Arnold said that the firm had made some design assumptions with ClientWorks that impacted performance, and that LPL should have done a better job soliciting adviser feedback.

Another adviser, who asked not to be named, said the CEO fell short of apologizing to advisers.

"It was more like, we screwed up and we're owning it," the adviser said.

Mr. Arnold's keynote focused on LPL's efforts to change culture at the broker-dealer. He named four principles that are guiding the changes: making it easier for advisers to do business at LPL, prioritizing advisers' feedback, improving innovation and increasing transparency through open dialogue with advisers.

"We're backing up this drive for innovation with investment," Mr. Arnold said, according to a post on LPL's website. "This year, we'll spend roughly $125 million on new technology and innovation meant to contribute to new services and solutions."

In February, LPL Financial began directing users of its old technology dashboard, BranchNet, toward ClientWorks despite concerns the technology wasn't fully operational. A few days later, advisers reported problems with ClientWorks, including being unable to enter trades.

LPL then reversed course on its decision to shut down BranchNet, instead allowing advisers to toggle between the platforms.

LPL first announced ClientWorks as its next-generation technology platform in 2014 and promised to support LPL advisers who want to use third-party technology vendors.

Last week, the broker-dealer revealed a new integration with Riskalyze and expanded its Vendor Affinity Program with SS&C Advent's Black Diamond portfolio management and reporting technology.

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