The IFP has announced details of this year’s conference taking place on 24 May in Nottingham. Last year’s event was a great success and this year it looks even better with some great speakers lined up.
Having said that, the best thing about this event is the chance to meet other paraplanners from all sorts of backgrounds, share experiences and make lasting contacts. I’m going and it would be good to see and meet as many of you as possible.
If you are going please add a comment below and we can say hello. Full details are available here.
Jane Holt has recently joined Paraplan Plus and this blog records her first month as an outsourced paraplanner.
I never planned to be a paraplanner.
But having outgrown my previous job role of admin person / office manager / sometimes-paraplanner in a small but successful financial planning practice, I was excited as I started work with Richard three weeks ago to finally be able to call myself a ‘proper’ paraplanner.
I was also interested to see what life would be like “on the other side of the fence”, as Richard puts it. I was used to the client facing environment; familiar with the majority of my practice’s clients, having spoken to them on the telephone, greeted them at the office, written them letters, slaved over their reports, and had a hand in their financial strategies.
Week one was a whirlwind of information. New systems, processes, research tools, report styles. Continue reading
TheParaplanner.com in association with the Institute of Financial Planning has announced the launch of this year’s Paraplanner of The Year award.
Now in its fourth year, the Paraplanner of the Year award is the original UK Paraplanner Award and is firmly established as the premier award for all Paraplanners in the UK.
Whether you are an in house paraplanner or an outsourced paraplanner, whether you have been in the industry for only a short time or for many years, this is the award you should enter. The dedicated site is up and running www.ppoty.co.uk and you can enter NOW! Continue reading
This is a guest post by Ben Rees of Elite Paraplanning.
The recent lively debate surrounding the launch of the controversial Money Advice Service (MAS) has sparked an interesting question: will it help or hinder IFAs?
The MAS Chairman Gerard Lemos has gone on record saying that the service will drive demand for advisers and their services, but many advisers are clearly skeptical. Blogs abound with disgruntled advisers commenting on the supposedly “free” advice service, paid for by a statutory industry levy.
There may well exist a group of consumers who do find themselves unable to afford ‘post-RDR’ advice from an Independent Financial Adviser, and the MAS might prove to be a welcome alternative to seeking advice from a bank. However, I believe that the recently felt concerns of the broader IFA community about the service are not only valid, but also thought provoking. Continue reading
This is a guest post by Glyn Chetwynd of the finance consultant.
The recent fines over UCIS fund selection, and the FSA’s warnings on the over reliance of adviser firms on risk assessment and asset allocation tools, are a timely reminder that risk assessment and asset allocation are just two stages in a much wider portfolio construction process.
I therefore thought it would be good to look at some (not all) of the key issues paraplanners and advisers should consider when constructing investment portfolios.
1. Asset allocation and Risk Assessment Tools
Before using any tool it is important that you have an understanding of how the inputs are calculated, the theory behind these and whether the company supplying the tool has influenced the data in any way. Discuss with the provider these points and record them for your research process; a good understanding will result in a better application of the results.
For those of us who already have outsourced paraplanning businesses, the concept and the benefits behind it already seem like a no brainer. Full support for the IFAs, the ability to spend more time with their clients, much lower costs than recruiting someone full time, etc. etc. However, there are still a huge number of firms who don’t use any form of paraplanning support, let alone something as forward thinking as an outsourced firm. IFAs still range from the more traditional, “I’ve never used a paraplanner before so why would I use one now”, to the very progressive who have embraced this new culture and its immense benefits to their business.
The next couple of years will be particularly interesting. If the (admittedly vague and fluctuating!) stats are true, hundreds, if not thousands, of IFAs will leave the industry by the end of next year. The safe money would be that the IFAs remaining are the forward thinking ones who have embraced the RDR and, as a parallel, paraplanning, whether internal or external. Hopefully, more new entrants will come into the market and the new wave of advisers will learn the ropes which automatically include the paraplanning role, to the point where they can’t imagine such a role never existed!
Interesting comments about how Colin Lawson of Equilibrium has set up their advice structure and paraplanning team. I would say this of course, but he’s right. Read the full article in Money Marketing.
Lawson and Equilibrium’s two other advisers are well supported, each assigned a team of five paraplanners who sit in on all client meetings.
It is an unusual structure but the use of paraplanners will increase as the retail distribution review approaches. Advisers are going to have to become more efficient, whether that means having people in-house or outsourcing. I believe using paraplanners is the best route for the industry but first the gap between adviser and paraplanner pay needs to narrow.
At Equilibrium, the paraplanners are the most qualified employees, although Lawson says this will change after the RDR.
After what has actually been a very short period of time we have launched the Directory today.
It’s the first time an IFA or financial planner can go to one site and see a listing of freelance and outsourced paraplanners (and administrators), review detailed information about them and make contact with as many as they want with a single click.
It’s a simple idea but I think it will work. The profile of parapalanners has grown rapidly in recent years and this is another step forward in meeting the demand for our services.
As the role of the paraplanner becomes more and more understood, and as IFA businesses develop and change, one of the challenges facing the modern IFA business particularly in this time of RDR and Treating Customers Fairly, is to ensure they are profitable but at the same time professional and produce high quality work.
An integral part of this high quality work will be the production of reports for clients. In many practices this type of work will be the domain of the paraplanner (though this is not all they will do) and clearly the more complicated and comprehensive the report the more qualified and experienced the paraplanner needed to complete it. This can cause concern for IFAs because it is not always economically viable to employ a paraplanner of this standard full time.
A solution which more and more IFAs are using is outsourcing some or all of their paraplanning requirements. This is where the report writing function, and indeed some of the other paraplanning functions, may be outsourced to a company who specialise in this type of work.