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What can advisers learn from paraplanners?

ABR’s editor Rob Kingsbury offers up some of the good practice ideas and practical tips discussed at the recent Paraplanners Powwow that advisers may well find useful in their day-to-day working practices

10 ways to help cover off everything that’s needed in a client meeting

The Paraplanners’ Powwow brings together paraplanners from all over the country to discuss good practice and to share ideas and experiences, as a means to help participants, and their colleagues back in the office, to work more efficiently and provide a better service to the end client.

The client meeting, whether new business or regular review, as the key point of contact with the client and so crucial for obtaining all the necessary information to enable the suitability report to be accurately and efficiently compiled, was recognised as not always being used as effectively as it could be.

Here are some of the existing practices and ways that paraplanners suggested the adviser / paraplanner team could ensure all the relevant information was obtained, making the process more efficient and enabling the suitability report to be turned around faster.

You may be doing all of these in your business already – or some may simply not apply – but hopefully there is some food for thought and/or a small but useful nugget contained within them.

1. Ensure there is a well researched and written down agenda for the client meeting, which should be sent to the client in advance of the meeting.

2. Adviser and paraplanner to have a post meeting review as close to the time of the meeting as possible, making it easier to remember any items that might not have been noted down in the meeting.

3. For complex cases have both pre and post meeting reviews can help ensure the information required is flagged for discussion with the client and also that it has been captured in the meeting notes.

4. Have as much work as possible undertaken prior to the meeting, such as prepping all the forms, to help ensure time in the meeting is used as efficiently as possible.

5. Similarly, ask the client for as much new information as possible before the meeting, e.g. the elements they have control of – bank accounts, deposit accounts – rather than gathering it in the meeting. This can pinpoint any relevant but missing information in advance of the meeting and the client can be asked to bring it with them.

6. Have the client add any issue they want to raise to the advance agenda so they can be prepared for and addressed in the meeting.

7. Write to the client after the meeting, pre sending the suitability report, outlining what was said, to ensure there was no misinterpretation of facts, needs or goals.

8. Some clients can be reticent about gathering information or filling in forms prior to the meeting, so explaining in the covering letter the reasons why the information is needed can help educate the client and improve the flow of information required by the adviser firm.

9. If time/resource allows, have the paraplanner attend the client meetings (or at least those where the client has more complex issues), in order to take their own notes. This can help ensure sufficient information is captured that will enable the paraplanning team to start working on the report straight away. It can also allow the adviser to fully concentrate on the relationship with the client.

10. Team work wins. Advisers and paraplanners that work effectively together in respect of client meetings can help deliver valuable – and referable – service to the client.

See next week: Suggestions for getting more out of the client for the Factfind

Other articles from the Paraplanners’ Powwow:

FCA’s Percival further classifies regulator’s view on suitability reports

Percival: Finacial advice not yet a profession and why the FCA will be conducting fewer visits

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