Parameters – How well does your firm communicate the value of advice?

24 April 2024

Nearly three quarters (72%) of paraplanners believe their firm fully communicates the value of advice to clients, according to the results of Professional Paraplanner’s latest Parameters Survey.

With the Consumer Duty aiming to ensure that firms consistently demonstrate best practice around good outcomes for consumers, paraplanners believe firms are growing better at informing clients of the value of advice.

One respondent told Professional Paraplanner: “We constantly work in the background to what the clients see to ensure that their planning is on track but do make them aware that work has been done and if there is further action needed. The clients understand the benefits of being able to discuss tax arrangements with us, and sometimes will come to us regarding a suspected scam communication.

“We make it clear to clients that we are here for more than just looking after their money and will happily provide a support service whenever this is needed,” they added.

A fellow paraplanner commented: “I have been fully involved in our responsibilities under Consumer Duty so I am happy that clients are fully informed and supported and are aware of the value to themselves personally.”

Respondents pointed out that clients are growing savvier and the value of financial advice doesn’t simply hinge on liking the adviser, but facts and figures and finding a firm that understands their needs.

However, 14% of paraplanners said they do not believe their firm communicates the value of advice to clients and a further 14% said they were unsure.

One paraplanner told Professional Paraplanner that quantifying value was challenging.

“I think we provide a lot of value but don’t always communicate this to our clients effectively. While it is easy to say I saved you £4,000 in tax, it is more complex to assess value on giving peace of mind for example,” they explained.

Another said: “We are certainly communicating a lot more now about the ongoing value of the advice we present as well as just covering the technical nitty gritty. However, I am sure there is more we can do and that this will progress in the future.”

The results of the survey revealed that paraplanners believe having more time to focus on client communication rather than compliance would help them to highlight their value. There is also a desire for more guidance on how to define value and a need for more client examples to share what good advice looks like.

When asked if paraplanners can / should get more involved in promoting the value of advice, the overwhelming majority (55%) agreed. This figure was nearly double the 31% who were unsure. In contrast, just 13% of paraplanners said they should not be more involved.

Among those who felt they should have more involvement, many said their deep understanding of the client would enable firms to ensure that any communication is explained in a way that clients understand.

Paraplanners agree that attending meetings and showing more of what goes into providing advice would help to demonstrate the firm’s value, with respondents pointing out that by speaking to clients more often, they would be better positioned to set out the work they do for clients.

One paraplanner said: “We should have a similar role to advisers in terms of talking to clients and doing the initial conversations.”

Another respondent called for a greater focus on education.

“We can help with the education side and discussing additional services, which can be communicated to clients and wider audiences. This could be done through a social media campaign or by discussing it directly with clients when they have contact.”

One paraplanner suggested including the value element in client communications, for example providing summaries of value over the year as part of the annual review process.

Attending more events, advice fairs and speaking to youngsters still in education also emerged as key ways to increase awareness around the value of advice.

As one paraplanner added: “We could volunteer with financial education initiatives with our professional bodies, schools and colleges where possible.”

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Professional Paraplanner