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Compliance Concepts

LPL Financial No Longer Claiming to Be ‘Conflict Free’

April 12, 2017



“Conflict free” is good marketing. But it is a bad description of financial advice, because it can lull investors into dangerous complacency. - - Brian Hamburger, President of MarketCounsel.


LPL Financial is the nation’s leading independent broker-dealer, with more than 14,000 financial advisors and some 700 financial institutions. And, as of Monday, LPL Financial is no longer “Conflict Free.” The firm removed the following phrase from its web site and instructed its affiliates to do the same:


“LPL Financial understands that providing Americans with unbiased investment advice is critical to their financial security. Because the firm has no proprietary products to sell, LPL Financial can provide truly unbiased, conflict-free advice and investment recommendations.”


The impetus for this change was an article published last week by WSJ ‘Weekend Investor’ columnist Jason Zweig, “Why Your Financial Advisor Can’t be Conflict Free.” who started off with this statement:


“All financial advisers - like all people who perform a service for anyone else, including journalists - have conflicts of interest. That’s true regardless of whether they work for someone else or for themselves, whether they earn fees or commissions, or whether they call themselves ‘fiduciaries’ who put clients’ interests ahead of their own.”