In. Out. Or shake it all about?

What I’m referring to here is in-house and outsourced paraplanners – specifically, how we can achieve great things when we all work together.

It is only in the last few years that financial planning firms have started to realise the value of working with both in-house and outsourced paraplanners simultaneously.  This trend is starting to catch on, and we now work with a number of in-house paraplanners who enable a really efficient, professional and mutually beneficial service to be provided to their advisers.

Having external help can provide support for in-house paraplanners in a number of ways:

  • Sharing the workload, without the firm having to employ additional team members.
  • Outsourcing due diligence projects, such as researching and justifying why the financial planning firm should use XYZ company as their wrap provider or cash-flow planning tool of choice.
  • Using us a technical resource for day to day queries.
  • Tapping in to our various services and contacts – e.g. admin support, pension specialists,  wrap researchers, etc.
  • Bouncing ideas off us, or just getting an insight into the stuff that works for us as a commercial paraplanning business.

The  beauty of being an outsourced paraplanner is that you get to work with a wide number and variety of different financial planning firms. You see frequent examples of some of the most innovative practices in our industry, which means that, as a paraplanner, it’s our job to keep up with this, adapt to it, and be equally as innovative in the way we work with those people.

We have a number of clients who already employ in-house paraplanners, but still use our outsourced services at the same time. Mostly this is for the reasons noted above, but it also works really well if the in-house paraplanner is fairly new to it all, or is being asked to deal with a case that they may not have much experience or confidence with – e.g. final salary scheme transfers or complex lifetime allowance protection cases.  Having another person there to work with and share ideas with is a very valuable resource for anyone in our line of work – otherwise it can get really lonely out there.

Softly softly…

One of the potential hurdles to overcome is how the in-house paraplanning team feels about someone else being brought in to work with them.  Situations like this do need to be handled sensitively and sympathetically, particularly if the need for additional help has arisen because the paraplanner does not yet have sufficient skills or experience to manage certain advice areas.  It’s not a problem to admit when you don’t know something, or have much experience in that area – we all have stronger skills in some things than others. In fact, as paraplanners, we’re not afraid to ask for help when we think we might need it.  After all, it’s not about knowing the answer to everything, but knowing where to find the answer that counts.

If the decision to outsource some of the work is taken, it is important to manage the expectations of all in-house staff (including advisers and administrators) and communicate with them exactly how and why it will work.  More importantly, both the in-house and outsourced paraplanning teams need to be fully informed and understand how they will be working together – what things are whose responsibility – how information is shared – how the teams will communicate, and so on.

When an in-house/outsourced pairing works well, it can be awesome. The in-house team benefits from the support it wants in the areas it wants it in, while the outsourced team get to work with great people on the other side of the fence who understand what we do, the challenges we all face, and most importantly, enjoy bringing financial planning to life as much as we do.

At the end of the day… that’s what it’s all about.