By Cyril Tuohy
LPL Financial, a large independent broker/dealer and custodian for registered investment advisors (RIAs) has improved its widely used app, making it easier for advisors to communicate with clients and stay abreast of market events, the company said.
The developments are part of LPL’s technology overhaul that will include improvements to performance reporting and communicating with advisors, the company also said.
James Cox, managing partner of Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Va., said the app “is like carrying my entire office on my phone.”
“It saves me time getting ready for client meetings because the information is available in real time and on-the-go,” he said in a statement. “It’s meaningful to my clients when I can meet them on their terms, where they want to meet. I no longer have to be tied to my desk or carry my laptop around.”
Advisors like Cox appear to be ditching the laptop in favor of tablets and “phablets,” a hybrid phone and tablet, and the on-the-go nature of smartphones and tablets, and the apps, or applications, that make mobile devices so versatile are clearly developing into a competitive advantage.
“With these new upgrades, we can now view client information, access vital market insights from LPL thought leaders and answer client questions anywhere, anytime, which is a vital strategic imperative in helping us build stronger relationships with our clients,” said Ross Gerber, president and chief executive officer of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management in Santa Monica, Calif.
Improvements to the app include real-time financial headlines from Thomson Reuters, commentary and market analysis from LPL Financial Research, a simpler user interface, updates from LPL Financial’s Twitter stream, and email and social media sharing, the company said.
“We’re extremely encouraged by the preliminary response to LPL Financial Mobile so far and will continue to solicit feedback, listen closely and make sure we’re delivering products that meet and exceed needs,” said Victor Fetter, chief information officer of LPL Financial.
Advisors also have the ability to engage with clients using a secure message system, the company said.
Security surrounding LPL’s email capability became an expensive issue for the company last year as it agreed to settle charges with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in connection with failures of its email system.
LPL paid $9 million, but neither admitted nor denied the charges.
Other technology improvements slated for 2014 may include a redesigned email system and updates to the portals used to communicate with advisors, the company also said.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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