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Should paraplanners be responsible for carrying out client fact finds?

5 December 2018

Your Questions Answered: In a recent parameters survey the question was posed by one of your peers whether paraplanners should conduct the fact finds rather than advisers, in order to ensure all the relevant information was obtained. Here’s how you responded.    

More than a quarter of paraplanners believe they should undertake fact finds rather than leave it to advisers.

Of the 26% of paraplanners who were in favour of carrying out the fact finding, there was a general consensus that it would ensure they had all the relevant information required.

One respondent commented: “I believe that paraplanners perhaps look at the bigger picture and would obtain more information that is useful for reports.”

Another pointed out: “Paraplanners should be guiding clients through cashflow. At the heart of this is a solid fact-find process.”

Those in support of paraplanners being involved in the fact-finding process argued that an adviser may forget to ask key information required for the report and paraplanners had a better understanding of the format of letters and the impact of missing key information.

However, there was an agreement that advisers should also be involved in the process, with one respondent noting: “I think it is a good idea for paraplanners to undertake initial gathering of information/ data, however, this should then be followed up and discussed further with the client by an adviser.”

Another respondent added: “I believe that both should undertake fact finds at some point in the process as this would highlight differences in thinking.”

Of those polled for the survey, 74% believed the fact finding process should be the role of the adviser, with many arguing that the face-to-face relationship between advisers and clients simply placed them in a better position to carry out an accurate fact find.

“Advisers know their clients best; unless the paraplanner is involved in every conversation which they obviously won’t be then they are not best placed to complete the fact find,” one commented.

Respondents also expressed concern that fact-finding would detract from a paraplanner’s workload and there isn’t enough time outside of report writing and research to focus on client relationships.

For one respondent, going through a fact-finding process with a client would be beyond the requirements of the role.

“My understanding of a paraplanner is the technical aspect of the financial advice process. I strongly disagree with those roles where they say the paraplanner should be client facing,” they said.

This sentiment was echoed by others, with one respondent explaining: “Part of the adviser’s job is to tease out information from the client – I see the paraplanner role as technical guidance and the adviser role as client relationship.”

Professional Paraplanner