4 ways to beat the paraplanning crunch
Go 10 or 15 years and the term “paraplanner” was rarely if ever, used. However, paraplanning has since evolved from a support role to that of a vital cog in the financial planning process.
Paraplanner, administrator or adviser?
Paraplanning is still a largely administrative role, but in recent years it has become a strong career choice in itself. This is because:
- Increasing demands on advisers – such as the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) – have made paraplanning a more technical and demanding job.
- Paraplanning supports advisers, who are then freed up to concentrate on offering their clients a better service.
1. Outsource your paraplanning needs
If you decide to outsource your paraplanning, there is no shortage of companies available – popular options include Timebank and Apricity.
Should you outsource your paraplanning?
While your office location and available technology/equipment may determine how practical outsourcing is, the deciding factor may be what it is you manage, and how you manage your client relationships.
An in-house paraplanner is more than likely to be the main point of contact between an adviser and their clients. So, outsourcing paraplanning means you may end up outsourcing a key customer relationship role too.
That aside, outsourcing your paraplanning may be suitable if:
- You have limited office space
- You can’t commit to taking on a permanent paraplanner
- You need a paraplanner on an ad hoc basis.
2. How to recruit and retain paraplanners
Recruiting and retaining a full-time permanent paraplanner can be a challenge, but it is possible.
Keep training your paraplanners
Ensure any would-be recruits know that they will be given the best tools to help keep their skills up-to-date and remain at the cutting edge of industry changes. This might include access to online learning resources via smartphones and tablets, for example.
Pay, salary and benefits
Salary is, of course, an important factor in attracting staff. Most paraplanner recruits will consider access to a pension as standard; life insurance and private medical insurance might be other points to consider. Here are some suggested benefits you could offer to paraplanners:
- Flexible working hours, or remote working
- Adding annual leave, or allowing staff to “buy” extra leave
- Regular treats such as “Free-food Fridays”
- Staff discounts – negotiate deals with local businesses, which could even help you gain extra clients
- Gym memberships or free exercise classes.
Keep on training
Make sure all managers can identify skill gaps or areas to build on, and make a note of any development needs your paraplanners may have.
Build ambition into your paraplanning team
To survive and to thrive, your business needs paraplanners, but be prepared to take on paraplanners who may, or may not, want to evolve into financial planners. Offering career progression is a staff benefit that cannot be quantified but is one of the reasons why many successful companies retain their staff.
3. “Grow your own” paraplanners
The reality is that there is only a small pool of experienced paraplanners in the UK, and if you have office-based paraplanners you may struggle to recruit new ones.
Further, if you only have a limited pool of paraplanners available to recruit from, their skill set may not match your needs.
This is why you may want to consider training your own paraplanners.
Should you train your own paraplanner?
The benefits of training your own paraplanner include:
- Allowing you to mould a trainee to appreciate your firm’s culture
- Help nurture future advisers/financial planner talent
- Tailoring their training to your firm’s growing needs
- Help bring new, possibly younger, talent into the industry.
Consider graduate recruitment
With graduates chasing fewer jobs, you may want to consider a graduate recruitment training programme. This should be considered as an investment, however, so be prepared to pay for training.
Paraplanning doesn’t require a degree, so building a relationship with local schools or sixth-form colleges could be a great way to tap into the next generation of talent. Offering talks or presentations could open up the career possibilities of paraplanning to potentially hundreds of motivated students.
Consider career-break candidates
Paraplanning may be a good career option for women who have taken a break to raise a family. Many mothers leave the workplace because of the difficulty of balancing work with childcare, so you may want to consider offering trainee roles as a job share, and so provide them with more flexibility.
4. Embrace paraplanning technology
If taking on a paraplanner isn’t possible right now, whether that’s due to financial or logistical restraints, technology could help you work more efficiently.
Paraplanners can use financial planning technology, such as cashflow modelling, to test planning options before client meetings, and then to research, amend and help advisers in providing such options.
AdviceBridge has software which can help paraplanners support advisers, through automating many of the manual processes they undertake. The software can help empower financial planning firms to provide personalised, efficient advice to a wider range of people.
Our leading technology helps you future-proof your business by engaging with a broader range of potential clients along with your existing ones, delivering financial planning to them when and whenever they require. Further, it flags up advice opportunities enabling you to maximise your businesses potential.
Bridge the paraplanning gap by creating efficiencies
AdviceBridge has developed a platform that helps financial planners deliver personalised financial advice to clients in an efficient and cost-effective way, specifically for those less profitable and harder to service clients.
The white-label app gathers personal and financial information from the client digitising many of the manual, time-consuming processes, which allows the planner to focus on the relationship and not admin, research or reports. It also calculates the income the client will receive on a monthly basis in retirement, alongside a “safe to spend” figure of what they can spend on a monthly basis currently, whilst showing the best way to invest across different tax wrappers.
The app enables financial planners to communicate and engage with clients from all walks of life, no matter where they are, specifically those who traditionally prove unprofitable due to the accumulating phase of their financial planning journey.
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