Legacy meets opportunity

Over the last 50 years, there is no question that the independent broker-dealer landscape has evolved. A changing economy, progressive technology and innovation, as well as scale of firms are all contributing factors to how people demand and consume financial advice.

But through the years of change, our independent broker-dealers, Lincoln Financial Securities and Lincoln Financial Advisors, have remained grounded in their roots dating back to 1969. With this legacy of 50 years-strong comes opportunity. SVP & President of Lincoln Financial Network, David Berkowitz, shares his perspective on business growth, opportunities for the future, and what makes Lincoln Financial Advisors and Lincoln Financial Securities unique:

What about LFA & LFS has allowed us to reach our 50th year? 

I think it starts with the fact that we’re backed by a 114-year-old company that offers financial strength and stability to our advisors and our clients. For many decades—through a great depression, through a great recession—Lincoln has always recognized the importance of honoring the commitments that we make to advisors and clients. Our financial strength has served us well.

Our success can also be attributed to our unique culture and values, which are laser-focused on serving our clients first, last, and always. As an organization, we are committed to helping advisors offer ongoing advice and planning-based solutions, so they can help protect their clients’ future and ensure that those they are responsible for are taken care of as well. 

Another aspect of our culture is the willingness to change and to innovate. This allows us to keep pace with the ever-changing regulatory environment, embrace new digital and technological advances, and create innovative new products to serve an increasingly diverse group of clients as the needs of the American population changes.

Where do you see LFA & LFS in the future? 

I think it is important to look out over the next 5 – 10 years, to have a vision and a view of what the industry will look like. I think we will continue to see very successful advisors developing lifelong relationships with clients because the value of advisors lies in their skill, their craft, and their emotional connection to clients. 

At the same time, I think a lot of the supporting infrastructure around those advisors will look profoundly different and will be transformed into a completely interactive, digital experience. Further, our products will continue to have complex capabilities in terms of the value they provide, but they will be delivered in a more simplified and elegant client experience. The advisor will continue to play the role of specialist, but I think the concept of advisor teams will be critically important because the amount of knowledge that it takes to support our clients’ complex situations is immense. The amount of skill that a successful advisor will need is going to demand continual professional development, but that’s what separates our advisors from the rest of the pack. I think we’re going to be a market leader over the next 5 – 10 years in providing financial advice, because we do it the right way by serving our clients first and offering a planning-based approach.

What characteristics make LFA & LFS unique? 

There are three qualities that are truly exceptional. First, we have people who are highly intelligent, who have spent a lifetime perfecting their craft and want to be the best they can be for their clients. 

Second, we are a firm that has tremendous energy, and with that energy comes passion. We’ve always been passionate about the importance of financial planning and the foundation of the advisor-client relationship. I truly believe that sets us apart. With any business—and with anything in life—if you don’t have energy and passion for your cause or mission, you’re not going to be the best. 

Third is integrity, which speaks to our culture and our values. Integrity is probably the single most important dimension that sets apart any financial services organization because we are in the business of trust. We have to earn our clients’ trust each and every day. We have to act in their best interest. We have to have an emotional connection to every member of our clients’ families. They have to know that every decision we make is really about doing what’s right for them.

What message would you give advisors and employees? 

Thank you and congratulations! We are a successful firm predominantly because of YOU. Each of you have helped build our culture and brought diversity of thought. Whether you’ve been here for 12 months or 50+ years, LFA & LFS has succeeded based on the collective teamwork and collaboration of our people, and I’m so proud to be a part of such a great organization.