Report from the Paraplanners Powwow Down South – 21 July 2015
22 July 2015
Illustrations and projections
A particular issue raised was in obtaining accurate illustrations and pension projections, from product providers and platforms. It was noted that some companies were unable to offer up-to-date illustrations because of the limitations of their systems and similar frustrations were expressed where they offered average figures. It was suggested that where illustrations were inaccurate or lacking, that a statement to that effect should be included in the report. Where pension projections produced negative performance, cashflow modelling was seen as a useful means to help explain to the client how the projections are calculated and what might happen in given scenarios. This was seen as better than trying to explain it in a paragraph in a report.
Returning to Rory Percival’s speech, in which he said that it was possible to “scrap” the whole section in a report on alternative products, this was challenged on the basis that clients need to know what was considered in order to get to the recommendation, if they are to fully understand the advice. It was counter argued that this could be included in the file and just the recommendation given in the actual report: “Does the client need to know you recommended collectives over a bond? Or does the client just need to know why you recommended collectives; not that you considered but did not recommend a bond, which just needs to be recorded on file?”
For outsourced companies where the paraplanner does not have access to the adviser’s files and where the adviser insists on short reports, it was recommended that the paraplanner include in a covering letter all the points and material of which the adviser would need to make the client aware.
How to get suitability reports read by clients
Looking at this from a pragmatic viewpoint, it was agreed that the essential part of any suitability report was an executive summary. It was suggested this should be set out under clear headings, which should be repeated in the body of the report itself, so that if the client wants to read about a particular section in more depth they can easily do so.
To test how accessible and client-friendly a report is, having non-financial services people read some mock-up reports can provide useful feedback.
Use of visuals to break up pages of text and colour-coded sections, in particular where a report is complex and/or long, was suggested also.
Pulling out important points or action points for the client in boxes, or similar page furniture, was also recommended to highlight key messages and, to make the report less imposing, use of white space and headings that were big enough to catch the eye.
These alongside explanations written in plain English that the client can understand and which avoid the use of jargon.
A further idea suggested was the use of diagrams to explain more complex issues – for example, trust set ups and drawdown arrangements, where a graphical representation of the process can help the client to better understand it.
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