LPL Reinvented: Going Beyond the Traditional Broker Dealer Model

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Mindy Diamond


A conversation with LPL Financial’s Managing Director and Divisional President of Business Development Rich Steinmeier, and Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development Marc Cohen

Marc Cohen of LPL Financial

Marc Cohen

Rich-Steinmeier of LPL Financial

Rich Steinmeier

Three decades ago, one of the industry’s first independent broker dealer models was born. LPL Financial was designed to be an alternative to Wall Street firms, where entrepreneurial advisors could build and grow their businesses with greater freedom and flexibility than they were experiencing elsewhere.

Fast-forwarding to more recent years, LPL became a publicly-traded company and reportedly the largest independent broker dealer in the country based on revenue, with more than 16,000 financial advisors under its umbrella.

But getting to the top wasn’t an easy ride. Over the years, the company suffered from negative press, stymied growth and increasing competition in a much-evolved landscape.

Today, LPL is on a new path, taking on the task of reinventing itself under the leadership of current President and CEO Dan Arnold, who is setting the firm on a mission to become “the next generation independent model.”

In this episode, two of the firm’s leaders responsible for guiding strategic growth – Rich Steinmeier, Managing Director and Divisional President of Business Development, and Marc Cohen, Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development – share some inside baseball on the firm’s new direction, including:

  • LPL’s current value proposition for advisors—and how it’s changed over the past 30 years.
  • The pros and cons of being one of the industry’s largest broker dealers—and why an advisor might choose LPL over a hybrid RIA model.
  • The role of long-term value creation in an advisor’s decision to go independent—and how LPL serves those who are looking to build an enterprise.
  • The ever-increasing need to offer best-in-class technology—and how LPL addresses that need.
  • A playing field of competition that has grown exponentially—and what differentiates LPL from not just other IBDs, but other models in the independent space.

LPL has evolved beyond what it was at inception to a model Rich and Marc describe as “LPL 2.0”—serving as custodian, clearing firm, technology provider, back-office support and most importantly, business partner all rolled into one.

It’s an interesting episode that explores how an evolving landscape has driven firms like LPL to reinvent themselves, creating a new and improved pathway for advisors considering change.


Browse other episodes in this series


About Rich Steinmeier: 

Rich Steinmeier is managing director and divisional president, Business Development, responsible for the firm’s overall growth strategies. In this role, he has responsibility for recruiting new financial advisors and institutions to LPL and to existing advisor practices, while also exploring new markets and M&A opportunities. He also leads the team responsible for onboarding new advisors to the firm.

Prior to joining LPL Financial in 2018, Mr. Steinmeier was the head of Digital Strategy and Platforms for UBS Wealth Management Americas. He joined UBS in 2012 as managing director and head of the Emerging Affluent Segment and the Wealth Advice Center.

Prior to UBS, he held a variety of leadership roles at Merrill Lynch, including director of Strategy and Analytics and director of Business Development. He also spent six years at McKinsey and Company.

Mr. Steinmeier graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics in 1996. He received his M.B.A. from Stanford University in 2002.


About Marc Cohen

Marc Cohen is senior vice president, strategic business development, responsible for developing unique growth strategies for the firm. In this role, he helps manage the recruiting of new financial advisors to LPL, while also exploring new markets and M&A opportunities.

Prior to joining LPL Financial in 2018, Mr. Cohen spent 13 years at MarketCounsel in New Jersey, serving most recently as its chief operating officer. In this role, Mr. Cohen advised financial advisors interested in leaving captive employment with a financial institution on how to launch a new registered investment advisor firm, including full operational, risk management and regulatory considerations. He was also responsible for the full internal operations of the firm, including corporate strategy, sales and marketing, finance, technology, and human resources.

Mr. Cohen graduated from the George Washington University School of Business with a Bachelor of Accountancy.


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Comments (3)
  • The new LPL being lead by two guys who have never sat at a desk, never opened an account, never serviced an account, never managed a branch, never lead a market or region, never formed an independent office or founded an OSJ. Two very bright guys whose best leadership guidance is purely theoretic and principally designed to forward corporate profit goals. The only thing new is how far leadership has drifted from practical knowledge to the world of the consultant. This won’t end well… It never does.

    • Having a dual role as a CFP/CPA/Financial Planner and spending 20 years in a college classroom I have often compared the ability to teach from a practitioner and a PhD perspective. Practitioner’s bring the real world into the classroom. Big Difference.

    • I see your points and they do have merit. Let us hope that the LPL management truly seeks the wisdom and experience from field offices so that they make good decisions.

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