The question of recruitment
But what happens when you need to recruit a new administrator? Traditionally, firms would recruit a new administrator based on their previous experience in financial services, whether that is within an IFA firm or with a product provider. Firms are now looking outside of financial services for recruiting individuals. High on the list of preferred experience is for the individual to have strong customer service skills as well as experience of organisation and process planning. Firms are also turning to apprenticeships as a route to bring new talent into the industry.
1. Experienced Candidates
By bringing in skilled individuals, you can provide a front line, client-focused service for the firm, which can be widened to the rest of the team. Previously, firms may have not given much consideration to aspects such as how the phone was answered to external calls (and whether this was done consistently), how to optimise diary management as well as how to build and follow business processes within the firm.
We will all recognise that the process of engaging and transacting business with a client may take several months. A highly skilled client services administrator can ensure that the client is kept informed throughout the process, something that is often overlooked, particularly when clients are deluged with copious amounts of paperwork. It can make the whole process far more straightforward – and enjoyable – for clients if they have someone from your team on hand, a friendly face and cheerful contact at the end of the phone, to steer them through.
Many local colleges now provide financial planning firms with the opportunity to recruit school leavers with a focused career path in customer services through practical work, vocational and financial services qualifications. There may be some requirement for the apprentice to attend the college for a proportion of the week to continue their studies but the majority of the time is spent in the workplace.
The cost to the business of doing so is relatively small compared to the benefits which taking on an apprentice can bring. It provides the firm with someone who can learn quickly and be moulded into the team and your business processes. It also provides the apprentice with a structured career path whether that is within client services or ultimately beyond as their knowledge and skills develop.
Firms can contact their local college for details of customer and financial services apprenticeships.
Administration is an integral part of the financial planning process. Done properly, it can transform the client experience and also free up time for planners and paraplanners to dedicate to other parts of the process. Recognising that an effective financial planning service is best delivered by a team of people working well together is crucial. And the role of the administrator should be right at the heart of it.
About Tracey Underwood
Tracey is the owner and founder of PACE Solutions. The business provides support for financial planning firms by focusing on operational practices including; recruitment, compliance, processes, client proposition and business strategy. This is achieved not only through a consultancy process but by hands on implementation to ensure that firms achieve effective results that would otherwise not be achieved through consultation only.