10 steps to find the right paraplanning mix for your business

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As we head toward 2013, many advisers may be taking some time to review their business plan, their business goals and the business’s resourcing requirements. 

Paraplanning is a vital, yet often confusing part of the business to resource – is it better to outsource or is it better to undertake the function in-house?  Given that there are as many answers to this question as there are businesses we endeavour to provide you with some factors to consider when answering this question for your business.

1. Do you currently have an in-house paraplanner?  Is this working as effectively as you would like?  If so, are you and your paraplanner on the same page when it comes to their career goals and your business goals?  Are they a career paraplanner or likely to want to transition to become an Adviser. What could be improved? 

2. Do you want the additional responsibility of the requirement to manage, train and develop people or is your real passion in networking, business development and managing your ongoing relationship with clients?  Is managing the people aspects of the business eating away at your time and energy to do the things you love and want to do? Will freeing up the time you spend doing these tasks enable you to see more clients and generate more business?

3. Is business succession important and do you see the paraplanner being part of that succession plan?  Does the paraplanner realise this? 

4. Are you having trouble hiring a paraplanner?  Are you in a remote location?  Do you have the cash flow to support the level of expertise that you would like? 

5. Is your paraplanning process as efficient as you would like?  Is the quality up to scratch?  Do you have the time and resources to put into developing and training your paraplanner if this is required?

6. Would you like to partner with an expert in their field who has additional experience and insights that you may not ordinarily consider? 

7. When it comes to the costs and cash flow in running the business is it important to you whether costs are fixed or variable?  Would you like costs to fluctuate in line with how the business is going?  Or would you like to know exactly what your costs will be regardless of your level of activity?  Do you have the capital to support – additional technology requirements, hardware, log-ins for software, office space and recruitment fees?

8. How important is it to you to control the paraplanning function?  Do you want to work on the strategy together or do you want to provide the recommendations and get assistance with the technical and compliance requirements in forming a Statement of Advice? Do you wish to have access to a “sounding board” for your strategy and recommendations?

9. How important is it to you that plans are completed within agreed turn-around times? What is your time lag between seeing a client and providing them with a Statement of Advice? Does your outsource provider give a guarantee or are your in-house paraplanners KPI’s aligned to this?

10. Do you have a solid, quality work flow process?  Are parts of your advice process heavily segmented with people in your office sure of your expectations of their work and a clear job role?  Or is your business more fluid – with people changing from administrator to paraplanner to client services depending on the needs of the business?  Do your staff have the expertise and training required for this? 

With staffing costs accounting for over 50% of the total costs for boutique financial planning practices getting the correct mix of resources for your business is critical. 

This mix of resources is likely to change over time depending on the requirements and nuances of your business.  So what is the answer for your business?  Pure in-house support?  Partnering with an out-source provider?  Or a combination of the two?

2 comments

  • Anne Graham says:

    Thanks for the article Tony. These are exactly the questions we’ve been asking ourselves as we review our business plans for the future. It is sometimes difficult knowing what the best mix is in relation to staff resources and the main issue for me is Q2 – do i want to manage people or do I want to work with clients. The answer is – I want to do both!

  • Paraplanning Network says:

    Thanks for the feedback Anne. We think that the best mix is different for each business and changes over time – hence these questions can continue to come in handy when business planning.

    Paraplanning Network Australia is the network for financial planning professionals who are involved in formulating, constructing (and implementing) financial advice in Australia. We assist paraplanners and associated financial planning professionals with building their networks and profiles in Australia and linking with other professionals for guidance, advice and information sharing.

    Visit our group on LinkedIn or at http://www.paraplanningnetworkaustralia.com.au

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