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LPL's Gary Carrai: Workflows for financial advisors

Workflows are an essential aspect of the day-to-day operations of financial advisors.

Whether it's onboarding new clients, conducting risk assessments, developing financial plans, monitoring investment portfolios and providing ongoing support and advice – an advisor is always working through some kind of workflow chain. Nowadays technologies and automation are enhancing these experiences.

So how advisors can maximize workflows to deliver high-quality service?  I caught up with LPL's Gary Carrai, executive vice president in charge of third-party technology partnerships. We talked about using workflows to stay on top of business processes. Click on the video below to watch the full interview.  


The power of workflows and how advisors are thriving using it – probably the first place to start is just defining [what is] a workflow – I think people kind of get confused about that term. Let me use a non-industry example. I’m staying at this hotel, I went to go get a Starbucks coffee earlier today, got through the ordering line relatively quickly, and the quality of the coffee was good. But I waited about 25 minutes to get [the coffee]... And I thought, God, they've got a workflow problem – the sales are good, they're able to secure me as a customer quickly, the product quality was good – but the delivery was off. That's a workflow issue.

Now parlay that into what we do in our industry. I look at workflows as nothing more than the modern day assembly line; each stage has their own place. They want to make sure that it’s differentiated and the process is good, but if there's a break in the link in the chain, then it doesn't work well – like the Starbucks coffee example. The coffee was great, they got through the line quickly, but everybody was disappointed because they got to the sessions late as a result of that. 

So now you think about that in our industry, where are the breaks in our workflow chain? Advisors could be good at one thing, but dependent on other areas of technology to support them and if those if those technologies are disconnected, then it leads to that unhappy experience. 

Now the innovation that's happened, I'd say over the last several years is a move from disparate technologies to an all-in-one solution. And not just large third-party providers, but custodians are playing a role in building their own end-to-end tech stack. Creating that connected experience where it's less disjointed and ultimately the handoffs that happen in a well-functioning assembly line are inside of a workflow. With LPL Financial, we built an end-to-end technology stack, giving advisors options to access third parties, but ultimately, it's trying to make sure that the handoffs are good, and it's a connected experience. 

You know, advisors didn't get into the business of offering advice, because they were great technologists, or great technology experts. You really can't blame an advisor for not thinking through or not having the expertise. It's really where firms like LPL or other firms out there that help them with design of their tech stack, knowing what are the critical components. What should they be using? What shouldn't they be using. Sometimes you could be “overtech-ed” where something looks like the shiny new toy, but then creates a disjointed experience. So it's defining what's relevant to fit your value proposition and then using more of that technology, to make sure that you're not just using 10% of an application, but you're trying to maximize your usage of that tool.

This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Opinions and forecasts discussed are those of the author, do not necessarily reflect the views of AdvisorEngine and are subject to change without notice. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.