In February, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows visited the Carolinas campus of LPL Financial, the largest independent broker/dealer in the United States, for a Learning Experience that taught the value of thinking “small” in a big industry by putting the individual investor front and center.
Founded in 1989, LPL grew rapidly as investors sought new and independent sources of financial advice. Unlike some of the large brokerage houses that exacerbated the stock market crash of 1987, LPL succeeded by emphasizing service to independent brokers and their clients, and by anticipating trends and exhibiting a willingness to embrace and advocate the unconventional. It was a formula for a new, client-centric way of doing business, with the company’s large-scale growth built on countless small-scale successes. Today, LPL operates from primary offices in Boston, San Diego, and Fort Mill, SC., just south of Charlotte, where the Fellows gathered for a truly memorable Learning Experience.
During the event, LCLD Fellows were welcomed by LCLD Member Michelle Oroschakoff, LPL Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer, who delivered an introduction to the company and its values. She emphasized that diversity is a key to LPL’s success, not just for employees, but for the thousands of independent financial advisors supported by LPL. “Diversity of input leads to better output,” she said, noting that this has become her mantra.
LPL Managing Director of Investor & Investment Solutions Burt White addressed the need for human investment advice in the age of artificial intelligence and algorithms. He also recapped the history of investment trends in the U.S., and spoke on the importance of a company’s growth and ability to adapt to change.
Other highlights from the Learning Experience included:
- 2017 Fellow Kate Ring, Senior Vice President of Advisory Compliance, described the structure of the company’s legal department and other departments reporting to Oroschakoff.
- Nicole Petrosino, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, described LPL’s lobbying efforts in the nation’s capital including recent bills the company favored, the consequences of pending bills, and potential pitfalls in the current political landscape. Knowledgeable and entertaining, Petrosino answered questions and offered several predictions and behind-the-scenes stories.
- Cece Mavico, Senior Vice President, Associate Counsel, and Anitra Cassas, a Partner at McGuireWoods, described LPL’s strategy for navigating the complex regulatory landscape of the financial services industry. They described LPL’s proactive approach to dealing with regulators from the various entities overseeing it, including FINRA, the SEC, and state governments.
- Nicole Nichols, Senior Vice President of Learning Delivery, spoke about LPL’s evolving culture and the importance of working together and adapting gracefully to change. She also talked about the creation of LPL’s new mission statement: “We take care of our advisors, so they can take care of their clients.”
LPL’s Legal department was in the spotlight after lunch, discussing the various roles that lawyers play within the company, including non-legal roles such as in compliance and regulatory enforcement. Ring was joined on stage by John O’Neill, SVP and Chief Compliance Officer, and Daniel Gude, AVP, who talked about their various career paths within the company.
Fellows also gained valuable insights from a panel on how LPL uses outside counsel. Panelists were Andrea Ferranti, Vice President and Assistant Counsel (2018 Fellow), Ralph DiChiara, Vice President and Assistant Counsel (2016 Fellow), Allison Bishop, Senior Vice President and Associate Counsel, Cheryl Hass, Partner at McGuireWoods, and Lucie Cohen, Partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough (2018 Fellow).
The Learning Experience ended with a fireside chat between Oroschakoff (above left) and Robert Grey (above right), LCLD President, in which Grey probed Oroschakoff’s background, career path, and management style, along with her insights on leadership traits and dealing with risk.
The evening prior to the Learning Experience, LCLD Member law firms McGuireWoods and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough hosted a dinner for all attending Fellows and LPL leaders. The event was organized by Anitra Cassas, Partner at McGuireWoods, and two colleagues at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: 2018 Fellow Lucie Cohen and Patrece Simmons, Legal Recruiting & Development Coordinator.
LCLD would especially like to thank Kate Ring for planning the Learning Experience.
For more information about the LCLD Fellows Program or to host a corporate Learning Experience, please contact Nichole Velasquez, LCLD Program Manager.