Me and my paraplanner
Despite being a Chartered Financial Planner and having over twenty years experience as an IFA (over 38 years in financial services), I have concluded that no individual has a monopoly on best advice and that it is very dangerous indeed for financial advice to be delivered entirely by one individual.
Working as a team to generate a consensus view of “best advice” before it is delivered to the client makes real sense. That way all of the relevant experience, qualifications and knowledge of the team can be combined to ensure suitability of advice.
In fact I would go further and claim that on my own I am no longer competent to generate best advice.
Our team based approach operates around a “case conference” so that the team can work together. It asks itself “what looks really good for this client?”
A key member of that team is our Senior Paraplanner Shelley McCarthy and one of her great strengths is that she takes no nonsense (not even from an “old bloke” like me) and being a business owner with a grand title doesn’t faze her at all!
I have no doubt that the professional practices that are going to look the best in the future will operate on a team based approach and that the Paraplanner role will hold that team together.
Individual skills compliment each other. I love delivering well thought through and valuable advice to clients but would probably be the worst person to construct that advice in the first place.
I know that Shelley really gets satisfaction out of the formulation of advice and her attention to detail and analytical approach to formulating advice is second to none. That is just what I need behind me to ensure that I deliver the greatest value to our clients.
Nick Bamford, Executive Director & Chartered Financial Planner, Informed Choice
I have done the job of the Financial Planner and it is both rewarding and demanding, but I wanted to specialise in the formulation of advice rather than its delivery. That is where I think my skills are at their best.
Nick does invite me into client meetings and it is always good to see how clients respond to the advice that I have helped to prepare. That helps to give me a perspective on less obvious things like how I express what I am trying to say.
Without a doubt technical knowledge is an important attribute for any Paraplanner to have and I am constantly updating and refreshing mine.
Working under pressure is pretty much a given in a growing and successful firm so planning the work flow for both myself and my assistant is an important part of what I do.
Each Financial Planner in the firm is different but our consistent approach to the creation of both advice and review reports means that anyone should be able to pick up any report and know that they have a consistent structure even though the advice is itself bespoke to the individual client.
This means that there can be coverage. If one Financial Planner is unavailable another can cover for them.
Whilst I work with the lead adviser in each case, I know that I can always ask for an opinion from anyone in the firm so I can “tap in” to the expertise that I need at any time.
Working in a team is much more fun than working on your own, particularly when you know your opinion is valued by the others.
The Paraplanner (certainly at Informed Choice) is as important as any other role, including that of Financial Planner. The best message I get from Nick is when he comes back to tell me how well the advice I have helped to construct has been received by the client.
Shelley McCarthy, Senior Paraplanner, Informed Choice