6 questions to ask when choosing your outsourced paraplanner

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If you’ve decided that outsourcing your paraplanning is the right decision for your business, the next step is selecting who you will work with.

When hiring a paraplanner, not all are suited to every financial adviser firm, so you need to be discerning. And with a range of service providers available, you may need help deciding which partner is the best fit.

The partnership you’re establishing will hopefully be longstanding and essential to your business, so you must adequately get to know the paraplanning organisation you may be partnering with.

So, here are 6 things to consider when selecting your outsourced paraplanner:

1. How Many Paraplanners Do They Have On Staff?

Knowing the size of their team is critical so you can discern whether they can take on new work/clients and provide service to you even when staff are off sick or on leave (too small a paraplanning service and you run into issues with availability).

If you need reliable, consistent service and the option to scale up your requirements during busy business seasons or as you grow, a larger paraplanning firm may be more suited to your needs.

2. Are Their Timelines Suited To Your Needs?

As an adviser, you may need documentation and research completed on a tight timeline—and if you need something in 5 days, 5 weeks will not cut it! So expected timelines are essential to iron out before engaging with a paraplanning service provider long-term.

It’s also a good idea to find out whether there is a rush option available so you can get something done urgently when needed.

3. What Is The Team’s Compliance Track-Record?

Compliance is becoming increasingly important as the financial planning industry moves in that direction. But creating a compliant document is complex and often begins in the research process.

If compliance is key to your firm, you’ll need to ensure the paraplanner you hire has the expertise and knowledge to deliver on compliance requirements and that they have a proven track record in audits. If you don’t know? Ask.

4. Is The Team Able To Provide Quality, Peer-Reviewed Content?

The last thing you want is to receive the advice document with mistakes and spend more hours fixing it yourself—even though you paid the paraplanner to write it!

So it’s essential to check whether there is a quality-assurance or peer review process in place. (This is one of the benefits of a larger paraplanning team with a high degree of combined expertise—rather than a smaller paraplanning firm.)

Then of course, you can contact former clients or read reviews and glean feedback that way.

5. Does The Business Have Data Protection Practices In Place?

With cyber and security risks rising, you must ensure your client’s data is secure. Sharing information with just anyone is a risk, So it’s important to inquire with the paraplanning firm about what steps they take to protect your client’s financial data.

Beyond their systems, consider the quality of their people. A larger paraplanning firm with a high turnover of lower-paid staff may be less able to instill and execute an information security-driven culture.

6. Can They Provide Prompt Communication?

The last thing you want is to be ghosted or met with radio silence when you put in an urgent request—or any request. So see if they’re responsive to your initial inquiry.

Do they have a custom platform for communication? Will you be assigned one paraplanner as your main point of contact, so you can get to know one another better? All these things are worth asking and considering before signing on with a paraplanning firm.

Their systems and processes can also indicate their ability to provide a consistent, reliable, high-quality service you can count on. Usually, the more established a firm, the more established its systems tend to be.

Why Consider Mutual Plans?

Now that you know some of the critical things to look for when selecting an outsourced paraplanner—beyond the obvious professional qualifications—I would love to introduce you to my company. Mutual Plans was established in 2016 by myself, Silvia Wade. In structuring our paraplanning services, we’ve considered all the factors above to provide a reliable, top-tier service and product.

We also appreciate that the relationship between the adviser and paraplanner is paramount, and we prioritise it accordingly—which is why so many of our client relationships end up being long-term partnerships. I hope to speak with you soon!