Building successful partnerships: Choosing the right paraplanning support

By Kimberley Malin DipPFS Cert CII (MP)

There are so many outsourced paraplanning firms out there, so how do you choose the firm that is right for your business? Well, there is no right or wrong answer; however, there are some areas you can explore to make the decision-making process a bit easier.

1.    Think about the type of support you are looking to outsource.

Are you looking for help with particularly complex cases or are you just looking for support overall? It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach.

For example, if you are looking for help with cases that are complex and involve Trusts, it would be a good idea to specifically ask the firms you are considering what level of experience they have with this area. You also want to consider the availability of the expert they have available vs the number of cases you are looking for help with.

2.    Consider whether your values align

Think about your firm’s core values, especially your non-negotiables, which will usually include values like integrity, competence, trustworthiness and reliability. It’s easy to say we have these values, so you might want to ask for some evidence, such as reviews from existing clients.

You want to ensure that you are both aligned to support your clients in an efficient and seamless way.

3.    Think about the type of relationship you want with your paraplanning partners

For some Financial Planners, they are looking for a Paraplanner that will work in tandem with them and as a second pair of eyes. For others, they might already have a team, so they are simply looking for a Paraplanner to complete the work asked of them.

Great Paraplanners are capable of doing both, and working together on a collaborative challenge comes naturally to them. They will be able to point out anything you may have missed or not considered to ensure you are providing the very best advice.

Their vast experience can help in understanding how to ensure your file is as compliant as it can be.

We understand that there is a huge difference between the tasks that Financial Planners and Paraplanners are best at and enjoy. It’s important to understand what you want to spend your time doing and value it by delegating everything that does not bring you or your clients joy.

4.    Consider how you work and how flexible you need those supporting you to be

Any firm that you are looking to work with will have standard turnaround times, and it is important to understand these and how flexible they are. You should also consider other points that might be important to you, such as having a dedicated person to work with and their general communication methods.

The reliability of a firm can be a tricky one to assess before you have worked with them; however, little key indicators in the first instance can be helpful, such as: Was the firm on time to your initial meeting to discuss the services they offer? Did the firm provide any addition information you needed in a timely manner? Were you referred to them by a friend/colleague and how has their experience been?

You will also need to think about the practicalities of working together – in our profession, we are sharing a lot of data a lot of the time, so you want to ensure any firms you partner with take care of this.

Understanding the process of sharing data and handing over cases will give you a clear understanding of how this normally works and whether that works for you.

5.    Working remotely can work

To work with an outsourced firm, there is very likely to be remote work involved. You will need to think about whether you need to physically work with the people whom you are working with or whether online meetings can replace in-person meetings. We know that everyone is different, so there is no right or wrong answer, but we know that flexible and remote working brings a life/work balance to a lot of people, which provides happiness that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable along with a career.

Outsourcing the support you need can also be beneficial in limiting the amount of time and resources needed to employ people. This should never be underestimated, as without people, we are nothing!

6.    Cost

I have left the cost until last on purpose because although very important to ensure that the cost of outsourcing is viable on each case, I would argue that all of the above needs to be right before even thinking about the cost of the services provided.

Outsourced paraplanning firms are in a great position to help you understand whether your charges are similar to the services others are providing, and although costs can vary vastly depending on the type of work involved, you should have a clear idea of the cost before working together.

Here at Plan Works, we genuinely care about the financial planning firms we work with and their clients. Creating relationships with Financial Planners is critically important to enable a healthy collaboration between us, so the clients are always at the centre of what we do and the advice that is given.

We are here to ensure that everything you do is ‘watertight’ from a compliance perspective, and we will offer you suggestions on anything we feel will add value to the client’s Financial Plan.

Each person in the Plan Works team is passionate about what they do and works tirelessly to increase their skills and knowledge to remain at the forefront of the paraplanning profession and offer you, as our client, the very best service.

Our templates and processes are updated on a regular basis to ensure they remain compliant and capture any necessary changes in this fast-changing profession. We welcome suggestions from our clients on improvements to our templates and can happily adjust them as needed to suit the needs of your business, along with the full branding of your firm being applied to each document we produce.

Whichever outsourced Paraplanning firm you choose, these are just a few pointers to get you started on your decision-making.

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