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Para-Sols launches virtual paraplanning services

4 June 2020

Para-Sols, part of the Verve Group of companies headed by Cathi Harrison, has gone live with a new tranche of services designed to serve financial advice firms during the current crisis and into the future.

Jo Campbell, director of Operations and Quality, Para-Sols (pictured), says the Group was seeking to fill the gaps advisers may have in their advisory businesses – paraplanning support, administration, compliance, and training – with a range of new services, under the Para-Sols, Apricity Compliance and Art of Finance brands.

Verve has taken advantage of the current crisis “to build out the service” and increase the offering to adviser firms, says Campbell. “We were aware that we were only giving our clients part of the journey and we wanted to provide more.”

In respect of paraplanning, the Para-Sols virtual service was designed with the lockdown situation in mind, but also looking ahead to the potential growth in virtual meetings post lockdown, resulting from clients being more comfortable with video conferencing, and the efficiencies and cost savings for advice firms if they hold client meetings virtually rather than travel to meet clients face-to-face.

Commenting further, Campbell says: “We are very fortunate in that Covid didn’t have as big an impact on our business as some firms. We have always been able to do everything online, as being remote and at the forefront of technology is at the heart of Para-Sols and outsourcing in general.

“One of our frustrations and limitations were that we couldn’t attend the meeting with the adviser and help in that regard, as it wasn’t logistically possible. However, with more and more clients and planners embracing video calling software, we felt that now is the perfect time to introduce a paraplanner to the process. They can be on hand in the meeting to help with live cashflow, technical queries and to take notes and do research.

“I do think that although the world will bounce back after C19, there are a lot of efficiencies and cost saving processes that have been unearthed through the crisis, that will continue afterwards, and virtual meetings is ones of these.”

The expanded paraplanning services now includes a dedicated support team, or hub, of executive assistant, technical paraplanner, associate paraplanner, two paraplanners and a financial administrator, serving the adviser.

The executive assistant undertakes diary management, booking appointments, liaising with clients and managing workflow. Administrators update back-office systems, send out and chase paperwork, liaise with every member of the hub and external providers and platforms, etc., put together review packs, create newsletters and send out client gifts and cards. Paraplanners can attend client meetings virtually, carry out research and recommendations, produce traditional or interactive reports, and be a sounding board for technical queries.

“The new service is designed to no longer be disparate services offering admin, or paraplanning, or help with client relations. It’s an all-encompassing service, providing all of the back office work, allowing advisers to just concentrate on what they do best, giving advice,” Campbell adds.

The service includes:

Client Support Service: An ad hoc service designed to help advisers become more efficient, for example in a first client meeting ensuring there is a signed IDD on file, hard facts factfind compiled and AML undertaken, so the adviser can focus on the relationship building and soft facts obtaining.

A secure client portal: myadviser.online – enabling Para-Sols staff to deal with the adviser’s clients remotely and secure sending and signing of documents.

Interactive suitability reports: digital reports presented to adviser clients with use of graphics covering key areas such as a summary of the advice, the client’s objectives, agreed actions, risk, the client’s existing plans, asset allocation and charges, and recommended actions and what they mean for the client and links to the appropriate documentation. The reports can contain interactive graphics, charts, and embedded videos, to help engage the client in the information.

Virtual paraplanning service: An ad hoc service enabling advisers to meet with their clients virtually, with Para-Sols’ virtual support service alongside. It includes the executive assistant setting up the meeting, co-ordinating diaries and sending out all attendance information. A 15 minute pre-meeting catch up with the paraplanner, to agree the key objectives for the meeting, and ensuring the meeting attendance happens smoothly, including communicating with clients to ensure they have no technology challenges.

The paraplanner can attend the meeting, being as involved as required, and taking full meeting notes, with a subsequent follow up debrief, agreeing next steps. The client records are then updated, plus meeting notes uploaded and any required research or paraplanning, undertaken.

Para-Sols has produced a series of animated videos to explain the new range of virtual services.

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