LPL Financial

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LPL Financial is the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer, and one of the nation’s leading diversified financial services companies. Formed in 1989, LPL Financial now supports over 12,900 financial advisors nationwide with leading-edge tools and independent investment research that helps Americans achieve their financial goals. LPL Financial is also an enabling partner to hundreds of banks and credit unions, providing customized sales support for their investment operations. LPL Financial and its affiliates have approximately 2,700 employees with headquarters in Boston, Charlotte, and San Diego.

Challenge

Enhance usability and boost performance of LPL’s development infrastructure

The financial services industry is highly volatile and constantly changing. Consolidation, technology advances, and global commerce have intensified the competition for profit and market share, placing unprecedented demand on financial services institutions to provide the innovative products and services required to meet the evolving needs of their clients. In order to succeed in this intensely competitive landscape, financial partners must win the confidence and trust of their clients through superior solutions, innovation, and reputation.
Given the nature of the industry, maintaining streamlined access to comprehensive and accurate financial reports and data for their clients was of paramount importance to LPL.

LPL’s core product, Branch Web, is the primary resource that advisors rely on to service their customers. This product is driven by a backend component called the Performance Engine, which is responsible for “number crunching” as well as providing the critical and timely data that feeds all financial reports. These reports are frequently referenced by LPL’s team of financial advisors and clients to evaluate the ongoing performance of their financial portfolios.

As LPL continued to grow and expand, the company began to experience limitations related to the Performance Engine. In order to maintain the integrity of its services portfolio and prevent any performance loss to their client base, LPL needed a scalable solution that would allow them to address current and future development requirements.

Solution

Fairway designed a development strategy to refresh and modernize systems

Having successfully completed a number of projects with Fairway in the past, LPL once again looked to Fairway’s team of experts to quickly identify and resolve the challenges associated with the Performance Engine. In addition to a proven track record and impressive skill set, Fairway’s deep internal knowledge of C++ technology and other relevant programming languages was of additional value.

Responsible for leading development efforts across all project phases, Fairway’s first priority was to identify and fix the existing issues with the Performance Engine. A detailed inventory of the specific challenges and concerns surrounding the legacy code was prepared and reviewed. Fairway experts then designed a comprehensive development strategy to address identified issues. At the same time, Fairway offered additional support to LPL’s long-term business objectives by rewriting the existing code using C# (.NET) instead of C++ for greater scalability and ability to meet future integration requirements.

Once the development strategy was in place, Fairway initiated the project by creating a suite of unique tests to help validate the functionality and stability of the existing code. Fairway ran thousands of different validation tests to identify any areas of weakness or concern. These areas were then prioritized and bug fixes completed. The validation tests were repeated until all changes were confirmed and successfully implemented. LPL’s Performance Engine was then redeployed and is still actively used today.

Fairway also helped LPL Financial address multiple technical initiatives in support of this project, including the following:

  • Gathered requirements and rolled out new development release procedures, adhering to industry best practices
  • Converted former manual practices for new product releases into streamlined, automated processes
  • Centralized all development processes into a single collaborative content management environment, Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Redesigned and re-architected the environment using modern .NET technologies
  • Provided detailed transition documentation and training

Benefits

In addition to updating the Performance Engine, Fairway’s contributions helped increase load limits and supported greater stability, usability, and scalability across LPL’s system.

Under the guidance of Fairway’s skilled team of experts, LPL also fine-tuned its development process into streamlined, predictable procedures that could be more easily managed and validated. This modernized approach translated perfectly into the consistent and reliable user experience that LPL is recognized for.

Most importantly, LPL’s newly optimized infrastructure and updated product and services portfolio enabled the financial leader to maintain its competitive position within the industry.

LPL also realized the following benefits as a result of working with Fairway:

  • Increased visibility by introducing central collaboration environment with audit trail
  • Reduced cost of overhead with fewer consulting hours and less overtime required to release products on time
  • Received necessary materials and documentation to continue managing and improving software systems and best practices

Client Endorsement

“Fairway did an excellent job improving one of LPL’s core products, Performance Engine, used for financial performance reporting. In a short amount of time, they were able to get up to speed on complex business rules of the system, understand the challenges it was facing, come with effective improvement strategy, and execute on time and on budget. We were very impressed with their technical knowledge and professionalism. I would highly recommend Fairway as a technology partner who you can rely on.”

– Vlad Tovbin, Senior Software Engineer at LPL Financial.