While outsourced paraplanning support should not pose a threat to in-house paraplanners, some firms can often see it that way, says Grant Callaghan our Chartered technical specialist in paraplanning.
We can see how outsourced paraplanning services may be seen as a threat by paraplanners inside a company – nothing personal, obviously! It’s just that when you hear ‘outsourced paraplanning’ at work, you do tend to worry about your own role.
So, can an internal paraplanner or a full paraplanning team benefit from outsourced support, aside from the obvious scenario where extra paraplanning support is needed? We think they can and it’s more about teamwork and collaboration than anything else.
Let us explain with a few examples where we see it happening in practice:
Exposure to more providers, products and advice areas.
This is not to say in-house paraplanning does not know certain products or advice types! If you, a firm, work on a narrow range of business, it is natural to fall out of the loop when it comes to the other types of business.
It’s obviously dependent on the firm’s investment proposition and the scope of their services, but an outsourced paraplanner is likely to have had exposure to a wider range of providers, services and product types when it comes to report writing.
Although it has come mostly from financial advisers, we’ve had plenty of conversations with financial planners that start with an explanation of how the firm has clients that have very different needs from those the firm usually deals with. If an outsourced paraplanner is asked this question, then instead of starting from scratch in the research process which is time consuming, a firm can lean on their experience making it much more cost effective.
This side is probably more useful when it comes to advice areas. For firms that don’t typically advise on certain types of products, it can be harder to know where to start when one of these scenarios comes up from a technical side.
In our own experiences, we’ve helped internal paraplanning teams when they come to advise on less-standard areas – this doesn’t just include specialist products, simply anything the firm doesn’t deal with on a day-to-day business basis.
Best practice from around the advice industry
Whether you work within a network, using an internal compliance team or using an outsourced compliance team, remember the outsourced experienced paraplanner is likely to have exposure to multiple versions of each of these. Although it should be fairly clear what should and shouldn’t be included in the client file and suitability reports, we know that there is a lot of interpretation required. Having access to the outcome of what everyone else is doing can only benefit your internal processes (if at least showing you where you already go beyond the ‘standard’!).
This may not be as important a factor for your day-to-day existing clients cases, but it can be important when dealing with advice areas or other tasks or product types that don’t come up as often for you internally.
Linking on from best practice, your outsourced paraplanner is likely to have had exposure (whether directly or via the firms they work with) to different ways of approaching certain research requirements. Your firm may have a way of working on a certain type of client outcome with a certain type of requirement and seeing a different approach can inspire you to change or update the way you approach your own research. This might be in ways around the tools that are available to help, or through developing your own internal aids to help you assess what you need to assess.
As an outsourced paraplanner, I always enjoy speaking to in-house paraplanners and the benefits described above work both ways. We’ve found insights from firm’s internal teams whether that is about providers, specific product types or in better practice when approaching clients with a certain piece of advice.
An outsourced paraplanner can act as an additional level of support, in a variety of ways, and need not just be as a means of administration support, covering a spike in workload or covering an internal staff member’s absence from the team.