Casady Pivots the LPL Paddleboard to Growth
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Casady Pivots the LPL Paddleboard to Growth

Two and a half years into what he calls a "significant change agenda," Mark Casady says it's time for LPL to "pivot to growth."

Mark Casady
LPL Financial
Chairman, CEO
Casady, chairman and CEO of the giant independent broker-dealer, shared that vision this morning in his opening remarks at LPL's 2015 Focus conference, with about 7,000 (including a record 4,000-plus FAs) in attendance at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Casady likens LPL to being in the "messy middle" of these big changes, and he describes the last two and a half years as the indie B-D equivalent of starting out your paddleboard ride by turning into the wind. Now, he says, LPL is turning again.

"You can feel the wind at your back," Casady says. "That is what I feel at LPL, that same turn."

Casady's drive for simplicity has focused on three areas: technology, risk management and compliance, and service. On the tech side, Casady reveals that LPL has spent "nearly $100 million ... building new data centers, replacing old hardware and software," data protection, and more. The LPL building in San Diego is net zero in terms of energy use, and the new one in Charlotte will be net zero in terms of water use. The pace of technological investment is so fast, Casady says, that LPL's advisors sometimes don't even know the half of it.

"About half the time, somebody tells me about something they want, and we already have it," Casady says.

LPL has also doubled its risk management and compliance staff, Casady says, and now they're often "calling to defend you in advance", to make sure documentation and such is done, instead of calling after something has already gone wrong. LPL is "getting close to the end," both with policy changes and with significant enforcement actions, Casady says.

He also called on LPL FAs to help in winning regulatory change fights, pointing to things like the DoL's proposed fiduciary regulation.

The final area Casady focused his remarks on was service.

"We've added lots of staff, almost tripled the hours of training," Casady says, acknowledging that the quality and length of service calls is a "big area of feedback."

Casady began and ended his remarks by tying in a quote (from former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki): "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."

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