Can you afford not to have one, asks Sara Arthur, MD at the Parahub?
We have all been there: those days when the mountain of paperwork never goes down, and you are sat tackling your administration in frustration, bemoaning the workload before you. Or perhaps you have a queue of leads, which you need to follow up, but you are too busy writing reports to do so.
What is your role? What part of your job do you love the most? For the majority of advisors, this will be sitting in front of a client and aiding them in securing their future, not sitting in front of a computer screen writing letters, and chasing providers for information. Would you like the time to focus more on building client relationships and gaining new business?
The Right Skills in the Right Places
Step forward, the Paraplanner. The very name means that these people are there to come alongside you and share the burden. The role of a Paraplanner has arisen because advisers saw the need to delegate important parts of their workload in order to maximise profit making ability and make the best use of their resources. A Paraplanner can use their analytical strengths and abilities to write clear, compliant, documents which back up the strategies you have constructed with your clients. The time they spend writing reports is ultimately time you can spend in front of clients. Think of using a Paraplanner as a business strategy tool: making your processes more streamlined and efficient and making that return work for you.
For small IFA firms, this can be a life-saver. One man band IFA firms can find it hard to take the strain of servicing clients, attracting new business and dealing with the administration that the process entails. There are a finite amount of hours in a day, after all! So, where do you start?
How To Use a Paraplanner?
There are a great many ways to use paraplanning services, depending on the size of your firm and your requirements. In-house paraplanning is a great way of building a relationship with a Paraplanner, and crafting a strong team with the option of the Paraplanner being the point of contact in-house. This lubricates the process and frees up your time from dealing with clients’ day-to-day contact.
“Paraplanning is an integral part of our process,” says Mark Jeffs, a Financial Planner from Citimark. “It’s a benchmark of our company ethos, and the Paraplanners are more than qualified to deal with any queries that come their way from clients When I was a Paraplanner, I was always the secondary point of contact for clients. If ever clients couldn’t get hold of the financial planner, they would contact me. It was reassuring for clients to know there was someone else who knew their circumstances and was there to help”.
Dan Atkinson, senior Paraplanner at EQ Investors and IFP Paraplanner of the Year, adds: “The reason we find Paraplanners so useful at EQ is objectivity around advice, and the ability to spot new business opportunities. It’s a virtuous circle, where we can train and nurture staff in the ways of financial planning but also save expense by spotting errors”. Having a chain of responsibility to reduce risks can only be a positive step.”
The Outsourcing Alternative
Outsourcing paraplanning is an alternative that may suit smaller firms who aren’t ready for the commitment of a full time member of staff, or the expense. Outsourcing is a major factor in the paraplanning industry, and a bevy of very talented paraplanning firms have sprung up to take the burden off your shoulders. Where do you look for them?
The ParaHub is a network of Paraplanners and financial administrators that serves as a basis for facilitating networking, educational resources and job prospects. You can advertise for a Paraplanner in the place where they congregate, bridging the gap between Advisers and the people they need.
Whichever way you look at it, maximising your resources has the potential for exponential success. Be kind to yourself and make your life easier; paraplanning is the way forward. Having been elected on the Government steering group for the Paraplanner Apprentice scheme, I can see that the role is growing more defined and being honed into a destination in it’s own right. Taking on an apprentice Paraplanner may be a more cost effective way forward, being helped by government grants of £10,000 per Paraplanner.
Help yourself maximise time for profit. Sit in front of a client, and leave the paraplanning to the people who do it best.
A website community focused exclusively on paraplanners, the Parahub was started in November 2014 by Sara Arthur as a forum for discussing issues of professional relevance to the paraplanner community. The website also includes features on best practice and product updates, and details of forthcoming events.
For Advisers, the website also provides a register of fully qualified planners available for outsource to advisers. Only paraplanners with either level four qualifications or FCA regulation are accepted for listing on the register.
Details from www.theparahub.com