Forum Discussion

MKitselaar's avatar
Social Sightseer
8 months ago

Advice Request Best Practice

What is seen as the best practice for advisors sending through a request for advice to be prepared to the paraplanning team? I can think of some ways using cases to have a task where the advisor completes templated notes, but most businesses that I've seen the requests are still sent via email to the paraplanning manager/senior paraplanner who then delegates the work. I imagine a wizard could be used too, but ideally we want the process to be straight forward, including detail on strategy and product recs (or considerations). I'm curious as to what works well for both new advice requests as well as SoAA/RoA processes.

7 Replies

  • Jessica-Lamb's avatar
    Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner

    Hi MKitselaar 

    I have seen a variety of ways Advisers and Paraplanners communicate for Advice production.

    What I have found the most important things to consider are:

    • What is the information needed by the Paraplanner to produce the advice document?
    • What information is already in XPLAN at the time of the request?
    • What activity is being completed by the adviser in XPLAN before sending the request to the paraplanner?

    Based on these items, the solution created in XPLAN should:

    • Minimise double data entry;
    • Ensure a visual overview of where things are at in the process;
    • Ensure data is shared securely;
    • Maximise the tools you have available to you now (i.e. XPLAN). 

    Options I have seen work in the past (in order of preference) are:

    A Paraplanning Request Wizard:
    A wizard is one way. It is a favorite of mine. The benefit of a wizard is that the Paraplanning Request wizard and the SOA production wizard can share data entry. So your process might be:

    • 1. Complete the Paraplanning request wizard
    • 2. Create a file note with an attached merge report with the instructions as per the wizard
    • 3. Activate a Task / Thread to the paraplanner
    • 4. Link the wizard, the file note and the task to an active Case.

    Once the Paraplanner completes their work and starts the Advice Wizard, any data entry like Scope of Advice, Fees, and Strategy, would already be there saving them time from re-entering this data. A workflow process helps the adviser see what stages the Paraplanner is at. The file note provides a secure way to communicate back and forth between the adviser and the paraplanner. 

    A Merge Report
    If there were barriers to creating a wizard (This might be based on the XPLAN site you are on, the expertise of the end user, or the cost to create a wizard), then a Merge Report would be my next suggestion. This merge report could bring through data stored within XPLAN in a Form Format for the adviser to complete. The data already entered in XPLAN can come through so there is no double entry on things such as objectives and planned retirement dates etc. I would still recommend using File Notes, Tasks, Cases etc. to minimise client personal data being sent by email. 

    A File Note Template
    Assuming there were barriers with a Merge Report, then a File Note Template could also work. The File Note Template could be in a table format, ensuring the Adviser enters all the relevant information required by the Paraplanner. They can link attachments to the file note (Reverse Fact Finds, Statements from Providers, Other notes) to assist the paraplanner in completing their work. 

    All of the above solutions are ways to get the message to the paraplanner. In all three of these suggestions, a Workflow process built within Cases, and secure communication via File Notes is needed in conjunction with the initial request. XPLANs Opportunity area would also be recommended to track the client's progress through the advice journey. I hope this provides some initial insights and if you have any additional questions or need more in-depth information on one of the above solutions, please let me know.  


  • Tamara-Morey's avatar
    Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner

    Hi MKitselaar

    Great question.  The pre-paraplanning work is one of the biggest bottle necks in advice practices today.  I'd challenge you to consider the best use of the adviser's time in this part of the process.  Our research tells us that the average adviser takes 2-5 hours to prepare a file for paraplanning.  That is time that could be better spent seeing their clients. 

    Our philosophy is that this process needs to sit with the paraplanner - not the adviser - which is exactly how many of practices we work with are operating.  This model involves the adviser completing only the fact find and file note and having a brief 10-15 minute conversation with the paraplanner to convey their strategy ideas and desired outcomes.  All plan requests, working papers, product comparisons etc are then completed by the paraplanner.  This approach substantially increases adviser capacity, which is key for sustainable practice growth and our profession's impact into the future.

    • MKitselaar's avatar
      Social Sightseer

      Thanks for that. That's a great perspective, I would be curious if this results in an increase of rework on advice documents due to lack of documentation from the source of the advice? But as you say it is certainly time efficient from the adviser perspective and drives down some of that prep time. I think it is a good reminder that sometimes a short conversation can save everyone a lot of time when we get caught up in developing systems for efficiencies. It does certainly still need surrounding systems to be robust, especially with file noting and perhaps even providing an early executive summary from the paraplanner to the adviser for sign off prior to the full development of the advice, but I like this more, the more I think about it.

      • Tamara-Morey's avatar
        Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner

        Yes - you're spot on.  We'd recommend a strategy brief is always confirmed by the adviser before the plan is produced.  And we find there is much LESS rework of advice docs.  This is an outcome of the paraplanner being involved in the process earlier and therefore part of the strategy formulation as well as more conversation in the process than in a traditional model, so there's less need for interpretation. 

    • AndrewM's avatar
      Social Sightseer

      Hi Tamara-Morey I agree that more pre-SOA work needs to sit with the paraplanner and I think with the QAR changes this will be a more core part of their role, but how do you balance this with the trade-off of ensuring due care is taken in formulating recommendations, particular replacement advice?

      Do you find that this requires robust firm level product research to be completed? How does the adviser adequately link back directly to goals and objectives for a client if the research is done by another staff member after the adviser has formulated the advice?

      I've toyed with the idea that for advice documents, administration staff could complete a product report (could just be an extract from WealthSolver) that the adviser can use in the discussion with the paraplanning team to formulate the advice. Can easily be done at the same as authorities are sent off maybe.

      Appreciate your thoughts.

      • Tamara-Morey's avatar
        Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner

        Hi AndrewM 

        It's really about making sure you're working with the right paraplanner that has a solid understanding of your licensee's compliance framework and policies.  Too many advisers are still taking on this responsibility themselves.  The role of the paraplanner and the adviser really need to be reframed with the paraplanner being the expert in compliance policies and advice production and the adviser working as the client advocate.  This is the only way that advice can be produced efficiently.  Now, the ultimate legal responsibility as to the appropriateness of advice will fall to the adviser and so this is why a trusted relationship with a skilled paraplanner is key.

        I think the product advice is simply the outcome of a good strategy.  If the strategy requires a product that meets the client's goals of X, Y and Z and a handful of platforms are suggested to the paraplanner for research (or an APSL provides limitations), then the paraplanner's research will result in the product recommendation.  When this model is adopted, the research AND strategy sits with the paraplanner and so the recommendation is formulated concurrently.  

  • Great question MKitselaar – streamlining advice production and advice servicing processes is key for operational efficiency. Keen to hear some best practice tips from our experts!