2012…what a year that was

The last time we wrote a post like this it was back in 2012. We’d asked ourselves what a paraplanning service of the future should be, and made changes to our business to achieve this, including a new name – The Paraplanners.

Since 2012, we’ve been working on delivering our promises…

Knowledge you can trust: We remain an ever-ready source of technical knowledge, research and analysis which seamlessly plugs in to your financial planning process.

Part of your team: We’re still here to help contribute to your reputation for outstanding financial advice. We work side-by-side with you to play our part in keeping the promises that you make to your clients.

Dedicated professionals: We continue to believe professional standards for paraplanners should be at least as challenging as those for the financial advisers they work with. We’ve been at pains to search for talented, experienced and dedicated Paraplanners to join our team. Over the last few years, we’ve welcomed Colin Stewart, Claire Goodwin, Alyson Brooker and Becci Jones to the team.

As a team, we continue to strive for higher professional standards. We focus on topping up our qualifications, sharing best practice and lessons learnt across the team and learning from our fellow Paraplanners by getting involved in the wider profession.

Always questioning 

But the job is never done so since 2012 we’ve continued to ask ourselves what the paraplanning service of the future looks like. We’ve continued to tweak and make improvements here and there, but over the last 20 months, we’ve paid particular attention to this area and the changes we’re introducing now are significant enough – at least for us – to warrant a follow up to the 2012 post.

We’ve been growing steadily and like many businesses, I found that while we continued to deliver on our promises to our clients, our size was starting to test our structure and some of our processes. We weren’t falling apart but there were definitely ways we could work more efficiently to the benefit of the business and our clients.

So, ever a believer in outsourcing to experts, at the beginning of 2018, I started working with Brett Davison of FP Advance and Dominika Sieradzka of RIE Solutions.

Brett helped me develop the business plan for The Paraplanners, creating a clear direction for the business that will guide our decisions for years to come. Our promises to clients informed this plan and we remain dedicated to setting the standard for outsourced paraplanning services.

Using this plan, Dominika and I worked together to design the structure and operational priorities for the business.

While we’re proud of the service we deliver now and the positive light in which it’s viewed by our clients, in working with Dominika it became clear we could do better. There’s room to improve the processes that underpin the service we deliver, and, as a result, improve what we can do for clients.

A new addition

The first step in making this change is the appointment of a Practice Manager – a completely new position in The Paraplanners but one that is essential to achieving our goals. I’m over the moon that Colleen Duggan has joined us as Practice Manager. Colleen is part of the leadership team responsible for taking us through these changes. Previously Head of Platform Consultancy at Standard Life, Colleen’s background in operations and client services, combined with her experience in leading change were the deciding factors in her appointment.  Colleen will work with the team to ensure we’re continuously reviewing our processes in order to enhance our service and improve our efficiency.

Working with Brett and Dominika has helped bring greater clarity to our plan and the actions we need to take. Colleen’s appointment is just the beginning.

We’ll keep clients posted on other changes over the coming months.

A refreshed identity for a revitalised business 

In conjunction with Colleen’s arrival, we’ve refreshed our visual identity. We wanted to celebrate the greater clarity we have for our future direction and updating what our brand looks like was one way of signalling the investment we’ve made and will continue to make. We’ve taken the opportunity to simplify how we look, paring it back to an identity that symbolises what we do…plugging into and working alongside other businesses. We’ve taken this opportunity to explain what we do, and share some of our clients views.

We’re often asked for help from businesses at the beginning of their outsourcing experience. So, we’ve produced a series of guides developed in collaboration with Dominika. Businesses need help in three areas and we’ve published a guide for each of these here. These are:

1. Deciding if outsourcing is right for your business
2. Picking the right partner
3. Building and maintaining a great working relationship with your outsourced paraplanning partner.

We’ll keep asking the same question…what is the future of paraplanning

In 2012, we finished by asking what a leading paraplanning service would look like ten years from now? We concluded…Who knows?

In that respect, nothing’s changed. We still don’t know. We still can’t be 100% sure. But we are certain that with the renewed focus on our promises, the continued support of our clients, dedication of our team and a clear plan, we’re well equipped to adapt and help clients flourish no matter what challenges we face.