When outsourcing works (and when it doesn’t)

Let’s be honest. There is a reason why paraplanners come broadly in two versions – those who are employed to work for one firm, supporting anything from one to several advisers, and those who work on a freelance or outsourced basis providing paraplanning services to (typically) several financial planning firms. Working with an outsourced or freelance paraplanner is not the right solution for every adviser and every firm. So how do you know whether it will work or not?

If you’re reading this, you may have already done some research and looked into your options. Most outsourced paraplanners will be happy to have an initial chat with a potential client and should be able to tell you fairly quickly whether the service they’re offering matches your requirements, or whether you would be better off employing and training your own in-house paraplanner. We’ve done this in the past and even helped the adviser find the right person!

To help you decide, we’ve provided a few examples when we have found outsourcing to be a good fit, and when we think that other options might be worth considering, so keep reading.

Outsourcing is a good idea when…

You want to focus on your core activities. Outsourced paraplanning is a perfect solution when you want to spend more time with existing clients or build relationships with potential new clients. Your business will have no other choice but to become more focused and more efficient.

You would like to reduce recruitment, training and personnel costs. By outsourcing your research and report writing functions you can gain access to a paraplanner who is a Chartered Financial Planner and a Pension Transfer Specialist at a fraction of a cost of employing one. We expect you to pay our invoices and nothing more. No Christmas parties to finance, no sickness or holiday pay, and no pension contributions. This can make a big difference to smaller firms who like to stay in control of their cash flow, and advisers who run lifestyle financial planning businesses.

You are looking for a flexible solution that will grow with your business. If you experience ebbs and flows in the level of work, outsourcing is the ultimate answer. Rather than paying somebody a full-time salary when nothing happens and seeing them crumble under pressure when workload doubles, why not pay a bit less when there’s less to do and a bit more when business is flowing in. It sort of makes sense from a cash flow point of view, doesn’t it?

You would like to have more time. While we all have the same number of hours at our disposal, it is up to us how we use them. What would you do if you could free up several hours every week? We suggest a few minutes in the sunshine now and again, calling it a day a bit earlier than usual on a Friday afternoon, or having a lie-in once in a while, but you may have slightly wilder ideas. We give you back the time so that you can work on your business, not in it. 

We give you back the time so that you can work on your business, not in it.

You are looking for ways to manage risk and ensure business continuity. What if your in-house paraplanner was suddenly no longer available? Demand for paraplanners currently outstrips supply – how quickly can you find a replacement and get them trained up? Are you happy to step into a paraplanning role in the meantime? What happens when your paraplanner is on holiday – are your other members of staff ready to take on the extra workload or will you do it yourself? Outsourcing mitigates all those risks. We have fully trained staff available at all times to help and support you when you need it.

You should look for another solution when…

You are not prepared to spend the time needed to select the outsourcing firm most suitable to meet your needs. This is a people business (excuse the cliche). If we don’t like each other, working together will be difficult and unproductive. We want you to love outsourcing and making it hard work for you and us is not the way we do things. 

You need reports and research at very short notice. While you will always be our most important client, so are all our clients. We work to realistic timescales and stick to agreed deadlines (barring a natural disaster or a life crisis), just not the ridiculous ones.

You are unable to provide good quality meeting notes, completed fact finds and any other key information to allow your outsourced paraplanner to produce a good quality piece of work.

You don’t need a paraplanner. If you’re looking for somebody to meet and greet your clients, fill in application forms, chase fee payments, pick up your drycleaning, or order some stationery, the chances are you will be better off looking for a personal assistant or an administrator (or potentially both).

When outsourcing works (and when it doesn’t)
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