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LPL Gets Literal About Conflicts of Interest

April 13, 2017

Independent brokerage giant LPL Financial wants to stop affiliates from claiming they are “conflict free” because it may not necessarily be the case, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Journal says LPL removed those very words from its own website earlier this week — apparently in response to another Journal piece about how some firms that make this claim “also list numerous potential conflicts in their disclosures to government regulators.”

In its follow-up, the Journal reports LPL has told advisors who use its brokerage platform to remove such language from their websites “and address the concerns that have been raised” in the confusion about what constitutes freedom from conflict.

At LPL, it seems the expression “conflict-free advice” was simply marketing verbiage meant to approximate a general truism. Now, though, the firm tells the Journal, it has “made an effort to cease using this language in new marketing and communication materials.”

LPL isn’t the only independent broker-dealer with advisors claiming, at least in big print, to be without conflicts. FAs linked to Commonwealth Financial Network use the phrase to convey, that firm tells the Journal, its advisors make recommendations “they believe are in each client’s best interest, without any pressure or influence from Commonwealth.”

Adds Waltham. Mass.-based Commonwealth: “The term is not intended to suggest that Commonwealth advisors do not have conflicts.”

By Thomas Coyle
  • To read the Wall Street Journal article cited in this story, click here.