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Q&A: 5 minutes with…

31 January 2018

In a quick-fire Q&A, Brooks Macdonald’s Director of Business Development, Andrew Denham-Davis, tells Rob Kingsbury how the discretionary fund manager sees the paraplanning profession developing and why the firm is keen to provide support resources for paraplanners.

How do you see the role of paraplanners in the financial planning market now and going forward? 

The necessity for both administrative and technical support for professional advisers resulted in the introduction of mainstream paraplanning services in recent times. Subsequently, I would say the paraplanner community has diverged into those who operate on a purely technical level and those who will be involved in relationship management as well.

While paraplanning is now established as a career in its own right, there is also the opportunity for it to be a stepping-stone in one’s career development, allowing for the in-house cultivation of advisers.

As industry standards become better documented and responsibilities become clearer, the paraplanner role is becoming increasingly important in the post RDR financial planning world. The ability to adapt reports and contribute to the advice offered to clients according to their needs and nuances are skills for which demand will only increase.

What do you see paraplanners delivering for clients? 

If a financial advisory firm is to adhere to the concept of the Economics of Specialisation whilst accommodating the requirements of the Retail Distribution Review, then regulated individuals (RIs) should, in my mind, spend as much time as possible with their clients demonstrating the fee-paying service they provide. If RIs are spending time meeting clients then they have limited time to evaluate suitable client services, a task which is increasingly undertaken by paraplanners. Thus, the role of the paraplanner is crucial in the context of client service in as far as they assist in providing the foundations for sound, ongoing financial advice.

‘Relationship’ paraplanners, those with aspirations to gain regulatory approval, can still provide a day-to-day technical point of contact for clients. The more technically-focussed paraplanner, on the other hand, may solely take on the behind-the-scenes duties to free-up the adviser’s time to undertake client interaction.

Importantly, paraplanners also have the opportunity to potentially critique an adviser’s actions to help ensure clients continue to receive the best possible advice.

Why is it important to Brooks Macdonald to get involved and support paraplanners?

Paraplanners are the life-blood of financial planning organisations. In working with them, we aim to provide market-leading services while also being able to demonstrate their position and appropriateness. For Brooks Macdonald to continue to serve the professional adviser community and mutual clients, we have to ensure that our offering remains not only fit for purpose but responsive to the evolving marketplace.

What are you doing to support paraplanners?

At Brooks Macdonald, we support the paraplanning community in a number of different ways. We offer impartial supporting documentation to demonstrate the positioning of the services we provide and, while we acknowledge that this intelligence must be corroborated independently, we assist with the due diligence role that firms must take responsibility for. For example, we have recently published the 7th edition of the suggested DFM guide to due diligence which is based on four ‘pillars’ of independent research. We also recently commissioned a third-party report, ‘Building the digital heart of your business’, which extolls the virtues of creating a single, digital CRM ‘heart’ to businesses.

Recognising the scope of the recently implemented MiFID II legislation and the challenge it presented to the UK wealth management industry, we provided an initial overview of the legislation in early 2017. This was followed by a series of articles delving into specific areas of the legislation, such as depreciation reporting, client agreements and Legal Entity Identifiers, as part of our ongoing commitment to advisers and paraplanners.

Furthermore, Brooks Macdonald strives to assist firms to leverage off efficiencies that will, in the longer term, naturally benefit their clients and their staff. We have recently hired our second CRM support consultant to assist firms to maximise the use of their back-office CRM, in addition to the launch of online proposal generator tools and a readily available investment critique facility.

Why you are supporting the Professional Paraplanner Technical Insight Seminars. (CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AND FIND OUT MORE)

Professional Paraplanner magazine provides Brooks Macdonald with an extremely efficient means of accessing this important element of our market. Historically, we have focussed on the adviser community and it is now time to recognise the positioning and important role that paraplanners play in supporting advisers. By supporting both the advisers and their paraplanners, we are hopefully better supporting the adviser community: the core of BM’s continued success.

What topics will you be covering in the seminars?

We’ll be covering the technical elements of undertaking discretionary fund management due diligence.

Paraplanners wanting a copy of Brooks Macdonald’s guide to DFM due diligence or the whitepaper ‘CRM Systems: Building the digital heart

of your business’, can download the documents here.

Seven Steps to DFM Due Diligence: https://brooks-macdonald.com/p/9TF-3WI/seven-steps

CRM whitepaper: https://brooks-macdonald.com/p/9TF-6WC/your-digital-heart

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