LPL improves ClientWorks to chop five minutes from account opening process

New tool is the start of a series of technology enhancements aimed at saving advisers time

Dec 2, 2019 @ 3:35 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

As LPL Financial works to save advisers one hour per day through technology improvements, it is starting with five minutes.

The new account opening tool going live Monday on ClientWorks, LPL's digital workstation for advisers, has 30% fewer fields to complete and can use existing client data to pre-populate 90% of the information required to open a new account.

[More: Charles Schwab's Andrew Salesky: Advanced digital onboarding coming for advisers in 2020]

LPL claims the new process is easier to navigate, improves data accuracy and will reduce the average time it takes an adviser to open an account from nine minutes to four. While it may not sound like much, Burt White, LPL managing director of investor and investment solutions, said it could mean 6,000 hours saved each month across LPL's entire adviser force.

"That's impactful. We are accelerating the standard in financial services and changing what advisors should come to expect from technology, because that is what advisors and their clients need," Mr. White said in a statement.

The new account opening tool will also integrate with eSignature and AdvisoryWorld, the proposal generation software LPL acquired for $28 million last year, for an "end-to-end" account opening process.

LPL is examining adviser workflows and accepting feedback on how it can simplify, streamline and integrate other parts of its technology to help advisers spend less time on administrative and office tasks, Mr. White said.

LPL claims the new account opening tool offers greater transparency into monitoring new account opening activities but did not specify what exactly that entails. The firm was unable to respond to requests for additional comment.

At LPL's annual Focus conference in August, president and CEO Dan Arnold said this kind of busy work takes up 40% of advisers' days, time that could be better spent on high-priority work that engages clients and differentiates the practice. Mr. Arnold said the firm believes various improvements to ClientWorks can create an additional hour per day for LPL advisers.

Several institutional firms are trying to improve the account opening process for advisers. For example, Advisor Group introduced paperless onboarding to its network of independent broker-dealers in November 2018.

When Andrew Salesky took over Charles Schwab's adviser technology in 2018, he made digital onboarding a priority; the firm is working with Envestnet Tamarac to make account opening completely paperless. Fidelity is using an integration with Orion Advisor Services to automate account opening.

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