The Role of Paraplanners at BpH Wealth

The Paraplanning team at BpH Wealth has grown over the past few years. Paraplanning is a relatively new profession in financial services and you may or may not have come across the term before. So, what do Paraplanners actually do? Why are they important to the financial advice process?

Whilst we are a new team at BpH Wealth, collectively we have more than 15 years’ Paraplanning experience between us all. Proudly, we all hold the qualifications necessary to be Financial Planners (also known as Financial Advisers) in our own right. In addition, we are all studying towards our Chartered Financial Planning, level 6, qualification, which all our Financial Planners hold.

One of the most important aspects of financial advice is the creation of a personal financial plan. This financial plan allows you to live your life without having to worry about money. It should give you confidence that your chances of achieving what you want in life are the best they can be. After reading this article, you will understand how instrumental Paraplanners are in the processes we go through for every client, both new and existing.

How Paraplanners came to be

The Financial services industry has rapidly become among the most heavily regulated sectors. What started as little more than a slim volume of rules in 1988 by a body known as ‘The Financial Intermediaries, Managers and Brokers Association’, has grown into an enormous set of regulations currently governed by the ‘Financial Conduct Authority’, or FCA.

Financial Planners found they were able to spend less and less time talking to clients due to the ever-growing burden of administration, research and report writing caused by the new regulations. They needed people who were well trained in Financial Planning, the new regulations and able to write reports with as much or even more rigour than they could. Paraplanning was the role created to fill this growing gap as early as the mid 1990s.

In many firms Paraplanners are simply there to save advisers time for doing what they do best, talking to clients. However, at BpH Wealth and some other Financial Advice firms, the role of the Paraplanner has become much more. Rather than being seen as the route to Financial Planner, Paraplanning is quickly becoming a profession in its own right.

The BpH Wealth process and the Paraplanner’s role

At BpH Wealth, our service to clients is delivered by a collaboration of team members. Paraplanners work beside our Financial Planners to ensure every client receives a bespoke, holistic and maximally beneficial service. Our Financial Planners focus on the client-facing aspects of the role, including discussing and setting strategies with clients. On the other hand, Paraplanners focus on the more technical parts of the advice process.

At BpH Wealth, financial plans for clients are designed to balance risk and return in a way that you are comfortable with, and to maximise your chances of reaching your goals. We have a process for preparing our client recommendation reports in which the Paraplanning team plays an instrumental role, shown in the chart below:

The BpH Wealth report process

1: Review

In both initial meetings with new or prospective clients and in annual review meetings with existing clients, your Financial Planner will determine your overall financial position.

They will also focus on what they know or find out about you, your values, your behaviour around money and your aspirations. Once these are fully understood, and the implications to your financial position are discussed, some initial solutions will be proposed.

Your Financial Planner will use their extensive library of knowledge and experience to explore different investment options, tax efficient investment vehicles and protection products that will meet your needs.

A Paraplanner may also attend these meetings or will receive detailed brief afterwards. This helps the Paraplanner have a better overview of your current position and future aspirations, aiding their formulation of the scope of the formal recommendations for when they write up your financial plan.

2: Collect client data

After your initial or annual review meeting, your Financial Planner and a Paraplanner will discuss the content of the meeting and the action plan as to what was agreed upon. The Paraplanner acts as a second pair of eyes to the Financial Planner, they will identify any additional information they need in order to construct a financial plan for you. Sometimes this will mean obtaining further information from you and/or your existing financial product providers, which is collated by our Administration Team. There are also instances where Paraplanners will liaise with your Accountant or Tax Adviser, to ensure our advice considers all aspects of your financial affairs.

3: Draft report

Once they have gathered all the relevant information, Paraplanners undertake a comprehensive review of your existing plans and investment portfolios, building and stress testing your lifetime cash flow model, scenario planning and undertaking technical analysis and tax computations. Paraplanners are also responsible for researching alternative plans/strategies that may be new to the market and more suited to meeting your goals and objectives. The Paraplanner will discuss their research with your Financial Planner, assisting them in deciding a plan of action. This ensures your financial plan is up to date and therefore optimises its chance of success.

The Paraplanner will then draft a full and detailed recommendation report. This is completely personal and in line with our regulator’s requirements. Recommendation reports are a combined effort with your Financial Planner and in some cases, our compliance officer. It will contain a detailed plan of your Financial Planner’s recommendations are going to help achieve your aims, including analysis of the level of risk you will take and the tax implications of each decision.

4: Finalise report

Once a report has been drafted it is rigorously checked. This is not only to ensure that all the calculations add up, but that the report is fully compliant with the FCA’s regulations. Our external compliance service will review a sample of reports on a periodic basis and mark these out of 100, and grade this on a suitability scale. A score of anything less 100 will be discussed and the appropriate changes made.

5: Issue report

Only once every step of this process has been completed does your report get submitted to you. Even after your plan has been implemented, Paraplanners work hand in hand with Financial Planners to continually it continues to work for you.

Additional functions

As well as their role in collaborating with your Financial Planner in the creation of and checking your financial plan with your cash flow model, and in producing your recommendation report, our Paraplanners have additional functions that directly impact the service you receive. The world of financial advice is fast moving, new funds, platforms, tools and software are released all the time. It falls to the Paraplanners to evaluate these, ensuring that the platforms/products BpH Wealth recommend are best suited for meeting your objectives and are in line with our standards and criteria.

In a fairly short amount of time, Paraplanners have gone from being relatively unheard of to being instrumental in the financial advice process. Just as a lawyer could not function without paralegals, our Paraplanners are crucial in the provision of our high service standards to our clients at BpH Wealth.

Paraplanners at BpH Wealth don’t just make sure boxes are ticked. They are an important part of ensuring your financial plan is constructed to the highest technical standards and that the newest techniques and technology are always considered. I hope you have gained an insight into the role that Paraplanners play in ensuring that your bespoke and holistic plan is worthy of the confidence that it should instil in you.

Our Paraplanning team:

Tamnna Jethwa- Technical Paraplanning Manager
Charlotte Collier
Charlotte Collier- Paraplanner
Jordan Wiadrowski- Technical Paraplanner
Saiffa Shams- Paraplanner

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