4 Tips to Work Effectively with Outsourced Paraplanners

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With the historically low number of financial planners in Australia, it is said that each financial planner will need to increase their serving capacity from an average 50 to 100 clients. To facilitate this it is crucial to minimize operating costs and to outsource operations that can work without reducing the quality of service.

More and more financial planning practices are considering outsourcing paraplanning for the benefit of flexibility and scalability. Here are 4 tips how to work most effectively with an outsourcing paraplanning team and make your life easier.

1. Define scope of work and expectations from an outsourcing paraplanning team

Scope of work and expectations should be defined at the outset.

A skilful outsourcing paraplanning team like Mutual Paraplanning Services can provide end-to-end support to financial planners. I often ask the adviser what they would like to expect from paraplanners, their answer is ‘I want the work to be prefect’. As we know, every practice runs the advice process differently. The perfect way for practice A may not be suitable to practice B. Therefore, the expectation and scope should be specific, just like the SMART goals in the client’s fact find. A clear scope of work and understanding of the expectations from financial advisers will make external paraplanners more aligned with what advisers want to achieve.

2. Keep the communication open

When assigning the paraplanner work related to a client you directly communicate with, it is advisable to write a detailed description of the request. Once you assign the work, be available to answer any questions.

The paraplanner might also ask questions you would have to forward to the client. Even if you feel that you’ve given detailed project instructions, the paraplanner might have questions to clarify any confusion they might have. So, it is better to be available for contact.

Financial planners and paraplanners can work out which is the best way to communicate, e.g. via emailing, calls, online meetings or video recording. At Mutual Paraplanning Services, advisers can choose their preferred communication methods and paraplanners follow the steps.

3. Give a clear set of instructions

A clear set of instructions the first time around is preferred. If you keep changing the instructions or adding to them while the paraplanner is working, it will reduce the quality of work and may even impact deadlines.

A great piece of advice is to partner with the paraplanner. If you’re not ready with the strategy, let the paraplanners know and include them in the process. They would be happy to lend you their expertise to map out a strategy that matches the client’s requirements.

Here are some hints to clarify the instructions that you give to the paraplanner:

  • Use concise sentences and bullet points.
  • Add reasoning for the advice you give or give an instruction and let the paraplanner analyse the situation.
  • Develop a template for entering all the information in an organized manner.
  • Draw a flowchart.
  • Record yourself talking about the advised product or strategy to give richer information to the paraplanner.

4.    Provide complete, timely and accurate data

External paraplanners rely on accurate and timely data from financial planners. A financial planner may speak with a client over an extended period and a number of meetings in developing their strategies. A summary of up-to-date information and accurate records will help paraplanners focus on where the end clients are up to now, avoiding the need to trawl through historical file notes which may or may not still be relevant. Maintaining CRM data regularly can also assist.

Here are some examples of questions that you may check while transmitting information to the paraplanner:

  • Does the client hold existing insurance inside super while the super product is going to be replaced?
  • Is the client’s existing pension grandfathered before the account is closed off?
  • Is the living cost inclusive of loan repayment and/or insurance premium?
  • Providing distinct APIR codes for investments to prevent any potential name confusion.
  • Super contribution history to confirm the eligibility of current contribution advice.

Final Words

It takes time to get the machine to run smoothly. But once it does, the paraplanner-financial adviser relationship works long-term.

The challenge for a financial adviser is to find a suitable paraplanning team with the skills, expertise, and work ethic. Mutual Paraplanning Services has been offering end-to-end support to financial planners since 2016. With a combined 110 years of paraplanning experience, we have extensive know-how in the paraplanning field. Please contact us to find out how you can leverage our services to achieve your business goals.