We receive a variety of inquiries from people who have identified that they might need a paraplanner within their business, but are not necessarily sure what they’re looking for or how they would work.
If you’ve never worked with a paraplanner before, then this is likely a leap of faith into unknown territory and it’s advisable to have a plan of action so you – and the paraplanner – know what you’re aiming for and how you plan to get there.
Some initial things to think about are:
Do you want to work with an in-house or an outsourced paraplanner? The main advantages of each are as follows.
Advantages of an in-house Paraplanner
- They are available to work with you all day, every day, and are completely dedicated just to your company and clients.
- It is often more cost efficient to work with in-house paraplanners if you want a more collaborative approach to working with your clients and are likely to want to spend a lot of time with your paraplanner on a case.
- They can develop long-standing, and often very close, relationships with your clients, which means you can trust them to look after your clients if you’re not there.
Advantages of an outsourced Paraplanner
- You only pay for the work and time that you need from them. It is, therefore, more cost efficient if you’re likely to ‘dip in and out’ work-wise, than to employ someone full time.
- Outsourcers work with a wider variety of different businesses and product/software providers, giving them a broad overview of the market and a deep insight into what things work well.
- Most outsourced paraplanners are very experienced financial planners and are highly qualified, which means accessing a high level of expertise as-and-when you need it.
Where does the adviser’s role end and the paraplanner’s role begin?
It is fair to say that there is a huge amount of cross-over between the two elements of the advice process and it can sometimes cause confusion, misunderstandings and things going avoidably wrong because there are no clear and set boundaries over who does what within the company. A concise job description will go a long way towards managing this situation, but do always remember that, irrespective of who is doing the work, the responsibility ultimately always lies with the person giving the advice – which is why the pay-scales for both roles normally reflect this.
However, despite where the ultimate responsibility lies, all parties to the advice process should have a duty of care to each other, as well as to the client. Human error is inevitable – we all make mistakes – which is why it is good practice to have solid checking procedures and a training plan in place so each team member can measure their own progress, be supported in areas that they may need help in, and that areas of less experience or low confidence can be identified and positively and proactively addressed.
Once you’ve given some thought to each of the points above, and are in a position to look for someone suitable, you will probably find that the paraplanning community contains a huge range of experience, skills, technical knowledge and aptitude. We’re a pretty adaptable bunch though, so there should be something or someone out there for everyone