LPL Service

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indywanab's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-12

OK, for those of you who are with LPL, how would you rate their service center on a scale from 1 - 10 (1 sucks, 10 great)? I'm referring to things like: wait times when you call, quality of advice/answer received, frustration, time it takes to get your question/problem resolved, follow up, etc...
Thanks!

csmelnix's picture
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Joined: 2005-06-01

From about '02 to really most of '06 was fantastic; I would say a 10 overall in time to answer, quality of advice, follow up and due diligence of the answer if not known at the beginning - as opposed to just guessing, their understanding that they exist because of advisors etc... but hit or miss from the end of '06 to today; it's sunk quite a bit to maybe a 4 or 5 overall and some 1 ratings in time to answer, accuracy of info etc.  I find my staff and I searching more for answers on our own these days than reaching out to the service center.  The problem seems to be that when these wait times increase it goes hand in hand with a large inflow of calls for what ever reason (like adding new firms/advisors which is now the paclife deal - and just wait; rumor is MML is coming on board soon too) and a lack of planning on ramping up the staff and training them prior so there is a huge lag in proper staffing to requirements...at least this tends to be the story we eventually hear.  However, this year seems like there's is much more smoke and mirrors, where answers are not as forth coming as they once were and they tend to be different from different people you talk to there. 
It's not a great trend as for me, the service center was one of the key selling points on why I joined them; coming from Jones, I was wow"d seeing their operation...unfortunately, operationally speaking now, they seem to be a lot like Jones...in terms of asking 5 different people the same question and getting 5 different answers...that irks me more than the wait times because it's information that I now need to either verify myself (which why bother calling if I do this) or I run with it back to my clients or operation side and take a chance on it being inaccurate.  Neither is a great solution....COME ON MARK let's fix this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Greenbacks's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-21

csmelnixGreat post! I would agree with you 100%
Week after Week Service is getting worse 
Excuse my ignorance but what does MML stand for? I have not heard this rumor.  

csmelnix's picture
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Joined: 2005-06-01

Mass Mutual - another insurance b/d deal like with Axa.

Greenbacks's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-21

csmelnix wrote:Mass Mutual - another insurance b/d deal like with Axa.
 How low can LPL go What next Ameriprise?
At some point LPL has to raise it's standards. All this crap coming on board will bring them down, but they will have there IPO and the cash!   
I think Commonwealth signed a deal with Schwab    They are looking better everyday.

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-31

I'd concur with the recent trend, but my experience hasn't been as bad as you guys have seen.  No question the response time and accuracy of information isn't as good as it was when I started, but I'd give it a 7 or 8, with only an isolated 4 or 5 experience.  Most of my troubles right now seem to center around the new annuity order process...I'll be glad when I know what I'm doing and all the kinks are ironed out.  Hopefully, most of these issues are simply the product of temporary growing pains.  I'm sure LPL understands that if they persist and the word gets out, recruiting will get a lot tougher.

footsoldier's picture
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Joined: 2006-04-30

The question indy is do they care. If they are building through acquisition, and less by recruiting, bad service levels probably doesn't matter to them. I have never had the great service experience at LPL. Coming from Jones at least you got the sense that even though info was wrong sometimes, they cared. At LPL that doesn't seem to exist. I think what we may need to start doing is mass emailing mark.cassady@lpl.com. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. And our service levels are bad. The past is in the past, the future is mirky for LPL on this issue.

CIBforeveryone's picture
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Joined: 2005-07-12

This is a problem with RJ as well, and management knows it. They are not automated at all. They are not using technology to improve efficiency in the branches.
This is not as good as Jones. Period.

ezmoney's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

I was with jones and jones sucks compared to LPL. You must be on drugs CIB.

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-31

Well, FS, the good news is, they read this forum, so even without the mass email campaign, someone in the organization has probably already got your message.
The concern about all the acquisitions is something that's crossed my mind also.  I'd hope they wouldn't be so short-sighted as to take service to the crapper just to save a few bucks before the IPO, but only time will tell on any of this.

Greenbacks's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-21

Indyone
As an LPL rep I would not recomend you moving to LPL! Our office is having nothing but problems with LPL's service center.
LPL money market was transfered to an account called ICA (Insured Cash Account)it is nothing more then a money maker for LPL and the private eqiuty firm. ML did this years ago also th boost there bottom line.The clients get a lower return on the money market. And as a rep I can only use it. The fee based accounts we can use other such as Schwab but it is a ticket charge!
I WOULD NOT MOVE MY BOOK TO LPL AGAIN! I WOULD NOT RECOMEND ANY ONE MOVE TO LPL UNTILL THIS IPO IS OVER AND THEY RETURN TO SERVICING THE REPS!

maybeeeeeeee's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-24

Hope things get fixed for you all quickly.  That can be extremely frustrating.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Greenbacks wrote:Indyone
As an LPL rep I would not recomend you moving to LPL! Our office is having nothing but problems with LPL's service center.
LPL money market was transfered to an account called ICA (Insured Cash Account)it is nothing more then a money maker for LPL and the private eqiuty firm. ML did this years ago also th boost there bottom line.The clients get a lower return on the money market. And as a rep I can only use it. The fee based accounts we can use other such as Schwab but it is a ticket charge!
I WOULD NOT MOVE MY BOOK TO LPL AGAIN! I WOULD NOT RECOMEND ANY ONE MOVE TO LPL UNTILL THIS IPO IS OVER AND THEY RETURN TO SERVICING THE REPS!Just for the sake of clarification:1.)  Indyone has been with LPL for more than 2 years, as have I.  While we may not have been around for all of the "good ole' days", we've certain seen enough of both the good and the bad.2.)  ICA may in fact generate better profit margins for the firm...I cannot tell you that for certain.  I will remind you that they ARE a FOR-PROFIT organization.  I will also submit to you that if you think the rates on our ICA program are bad, take a look at the tiered rate structure for the UBS program.  There's no comparison.  Finally-keep in mind that this program provides your client with INSURED BANK DEPOSITS for your clients' eligible cash balances.  I know I've been happy to have that during these troubled times where subprime paper is showing up in some money market funds.3.)  I have experienced longer wait times at the service center of late, but I have not seen any of the apathy you described.  Too, last time this occurred during a prior tax season, I found it frustrating but I also felt that LPL did a pretty good job of ramping up infrastructure and getting new bodies on board in the call center.  Let's hope that they do so this time.Frankly I was more frustrated and disappointed by the extended technology outages we experienced in the last few weeks.  I felt that they did a very poor job of ensuring that the new systems would work effectively before putting them "live" on the system, and that it took far too long to recover.  Considering how great their tech service has been in the past, it was very disappointing.

Greenbacks's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-21

Joe you are right the message was for Indywanab. Thanks for clearing that up.
As far as the ICA accounts. I feel that LPL works for me and you and all LPL reps. The ICA switch was done without us having a say. If they wanted to add an ICA account fine but the clients and the reps should have a choice to choose between money market funds. If the clients are comfortable with more risk in the M/M accounts fine let them decide. I hired LPL so I could give unbiased advice when LPL does things to profit from my clients without choice I get upset. If I wanted to be bullied I would work for a wirehouse.   

CIBforeveryone's picture
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Joined: 2005-07-12

My RJ experience has been great, but if there are two things I am disappointed in, it's the home office support, and the hassle with having a separate money market account. This has gotten slightly better with RJ money market, but I still can't count the number of times something doesn't go through properly because money market shares weren't manually liquidated, etc.
Again, these are things I didn't have to hassle with at Jones. Their home office support was pretty solid, easy to reach (rare wait times), and my staff and I didn't have to follow up every day for three days to make sure something got done. In fact we were able to do most everything we wanted with a few keystrokes and confirm it immediately. Not the case w/ RJ.
 
 

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-31

Greenbacks wrote:LPL money market was transfered to an account called ICA (Insured Cash Account)it is nothing more then a money maker for LPL and the private eqiuty firm. ML did this years ago also to boost their bottom line.The clients get a lower return on the money market. And as a rep I can only use it. The fee based accounts we can use other such as Schwab but it is a ticket charge! Greenbacks, it's easy to set up a direct mutual fund mmkt and link it to the same brokerage account you currently use ICA in.  I've done it numerous times for those clients who were stuck in the lower tiers and dissatisfied.  Better yet, some of those direct mmkts pay trails.  Some clients, particularly the higher tier rate clients, LIKE the idea of their mmkt funds being insured to a million dollars, so I use whichever they like best.  As far as SAM goes, there's no reason that you can't set up a separate direct MMKT to keep the bulk of the cash in.  I don't generally keep much cash in a SAM account anyway...just enough to keep the fees paid and the distributions flowing.
Obviously, LPL isn't for everyone and apparently, they aren't for you.  At the same time, I've looked at the competition and between the lower payouts, lack of access to some more obscure products, inferior technology and self-serving annuity haircuts, I think I'll stay where I am for now...

ezmoney's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

I wrote Casady yesterday when I had had enough of the wait times. He responded back to me within ten minutes apologizing telling me the head of the help line would be calling me, which he did within ten minutes of Casady's reply. I thought the response was impressive although I wasn't very impressed with his response. Casady said he didn't think there was a problem with the wait times.

indywanab's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-12

Interesting. Thanks everyone for the feedback. My plan is still to move ahead with them. Of course the recruiter blames all this on new hires not being up to speed yet and that it is a temporary problem. I'm planning on moving forward with LPL. They just have a broader and deeper platform and resources than Commonwealth (which would be the only other alternative I would consider at this point) which is still more important to me.
I've asked a variety of LPL reps I know (some club level qualifiers), and although there are a couple who are frustrated with the service, most say that they are happy with the service they get and that LPL does listen and take action to correct problems.
We'll see. I hope I don't end up regretting the move!

ezmoney's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

you won't. all and all they are a pretty solid. I'm still glad I went with LPL, and not RJ.

Sampson's picture
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Joined: 2007-04-03

And to think pghkid bashed me when I commented on LPL in the "Tech Issues" thread.
It seems that most of us who make money in this business really long for the same thing...PERSONAL SUPPORT.
I like having the ability to call into my home office and have them know exactly who I am without having to give my rep number.
Most all of us want that same thing. That's what confuses me about why some of us choose these HUGE B/D's to join.
Is it the "flash" or just the promise of something better?
I have always approached looking for a B/D along the same lines as hiring staff.
1)Can they do the job?
2)Do they realize that keep them employed?
3)Can I get the correct answer from 1 person (when I need it) instead of several?
Unless my "small" b/d does something terribly out of the ordinary, I'll continue to stay with an "unknown" broker/dealer who can actually support and enhance my business.
LPL had a good thing going for a long time. They've just taken on too much too fast...

Indy4me's picture
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Joined: 2008-05-22

I've been talking with various wires and b/d's including a ML, RJ, and LPL. Most of what is said about LPL on this board is positive or neutral...and then I ran across these posts.
 
It's been about 9 months since this thread was going strong. Any change in service, etc. since? I understand they have made some changes (i.e. new brand, additional leadership) and I'm wondering if the service has been affected, either positively or negatively by these changes. Basically - are they on the way up or the way down?
 
I've also heard their system has been down???
 
 

WestH's picture
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Joined: 2008-03-29

From my personal experiences about service at Jones, I give them at 9 from the early 90's then slowly dropping to a 6 by the late 90's.  Just got tired to speaking w/ LP's & GP's in the home office who treats me like a peeon in the field.
 
It was refreshing after the move over to LPL, the service was vastly superior since all home office personnel knows that they're all overhead & we're their true customers. I give them a 10 back then.  Today, since I use the Chairman's club dedicated lines, I'll still give them a 9 for service.
 
Less than 1% of my business is stocks, so the 2 - 3 times that I've noticed that the system was down over the past few yrs have not affected me.  I just went out to lunch, or see clients or back to the phones for a few hrs, so it had virtually no impact for me.  My DSL line has never been down. 
 
I don't use ICA cash account for most of my clients, I send them directly to the fund companies for much higher yields, or use the Scudder Cash Account, CXPXX, which yields 2.3% as of last wk (but there's the stupid $5 buy & $20 sell charge).
 
Overall, I'm still very happy w/ the service area at LPL.
What worries me now is the massive growth of LPL, not really affecting the service, but moreso of the Culture of the firm.  I'm looking around now, so as soon as LPL starts acting like a big wirehouse (or like Jones), lose their focus on the customer (meaning FA's), & start trying to run my office from 2000 miles away, I'm outa here...

Indy4me's picture
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Joined: 2008-05-22

Thanks West. I appreciate your thoughts. Tough choices. Good not to go in blind.

Moneyman13's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-03

I recently resigned from LPL due to the inept service I received time and time again.  While I believe the people at LPL are truly very nice and they try, however, just trying doesn't get the job done. Time and time again, I would either fax or send things in to be done for clients, only to have the client call me a week later to ask why it wasn't done. I'd call LPL and get 5 different "nice" people with 5 different "not-so-nice" excuses.  Bottom line, this is a broker/dealer that unless you are Ron Carson or at a production level to warrant your "own little department" there at LPL, you will have things dropped and stubbled upon. They always have Branchnet issues and you will be down quite alot.  In my opinion, go with another BD.

bspears's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-08

As I look back at the last 18 months at LPL, I find that most issues were caused by "MY OFFICE" and not the back office.  A signature missing or wrong form or just me not understanding how the process works.  I'm no Ron Carson, but I find the service to be great.  Again, this is just my little world.  However, this is the great thing about being Indy, if you want to leave..head on brother and take your clients with you.  Good luck...

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

WestH wrote:
What worries me now is the massive growth of LPL, not really affecting the service, but moreso of the Culture of the firm.  I'm looking around now, so as soon as LPL starts acting like a big wirehouse (or like Jones), lose their focus on the customer (meaning FA's), & start trying to run my office from 2000 miles away, I'm outa here...
 
West,
 
I think almost without fail, all broker/dealers right now should be concerned about the effects of growth.  Whether they are trying to grow organically (i.e. Jones), or through acquisition and/or going public (i.e. LPL, Wachovia, etc.), nearly all major firms are trying to grow like crazy.  So I don't think it would be better anywhere else (all things considered).  I have the same concerns at Jones.  After a few years of pulling back off the reigns a bit (due to their not-so-heroic efforts at growth in the 90's), it seems that growth is back at center stage.  Though I think they have really thought through their strategy for growth this time, I just wonder how it will affect the firm overall.
 

indywanab's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-12

I'm the one who started this thread and as although I've only been w/ LPL since December of 07, I must say that I'm quite happy with the service. Have we run into problems/mistakes? Yes. Have I been annoyed/pissed? Yes. BUT we have been able to fix every mistake. I have also been told that LPL management is aware of the slip in quality of service and they are making changes to correct them. I was told we should see significant improvements w/i the next 3 months. Coming from a wirehouse it's still a ton better than what we had. Could you find a smaller BD who has more time to spend w/ their brokers and therefore provide better service and experience? No doubt. But w/ the competitive landscape for BD's I'd rather be w/ one of the largest ones around to leverage their economies of scale and strenght. Every time I read about a small BD going under it makes me realize I made the right choice. Large BD backing us up yet Independent!

gvf's picture
gvf
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Joined: 2008-07-01

I've been with LPL for just over a year now.  In the last month I've seen a real turn-around from back office.  Sure they still have some education to catch up on regarding forms/complicated questions, but they've been really good at calling me back within 5-10 minutes if they learned they gave me bad information, or as part of a follow up.  I'd give them 8/10.  Technology wise, I'm 7/10 happy.  It *IS* getting better, but as with everything, there are growing pains.  I just made the WealthVision conversion inside of BranchNet, and after the initial prep time (which was just silly), things are much nicer! 

Greenbacks's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-21

gvf
 
It may be to soon to ask you but how do like Wealthvsion?
 
Pros/Cons?

gvf's picture
gvf
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Joined: 2008-07-01

Greenbacks,I've been using WealthVision for over a year with my entire book of clients (I got the full subscription); I use it as a value-added service.  I was previously using financeware (which is still a nice aggregation center), but after learning WV, it's so handy to have all my client's info in there; it's incredibly easy to get a sense of the client's balance sheet, estate issues, and future income flows.  And the custom presentations that you can generate for estate issues, insurance, etc., are very client-friendly.  I use WV during all meetings and presentations, and it really shines for those out of state clients who can get on the computer during a phone call (the client can be simultaneously logged in, and view any changes I make to it).  If you have more questions on it (such as the internal branchnet conversion) please feel free to message me!

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