As you may have read in our recent article about the importance of fact-finding, getting this stage of the planning process right can bring huge benefits from a productivity and compliance perspective.
To demonstrate this, here’s a recent example of how we worked with and helped a client to improve their processes, and the benefits it brought.
While providing paraplanning services to this client, we noticed we were spending a lot of time chasing its financial planners for information, making the process of writing suitability letters inefficient and more costly than it needed to be.
In a bid to help them, we agreed to work together to improve their fact-finds.
Working with the company’s compliance officer, we created a training manual and provided a two-and-a-half-hour workshop to help them understand best practice when it comes to fact-finds.
Read on to discover how this reduced costs, increased business, and helped ensure they were more robust against complaints going forward.
The information provided did not point to the recommendation being made
A major issue for us as paraplanners was that we could not see how the information contained in fact-finds led to the recommendations being made.
However, when we spoke with the financial planner, they were able to join the information together and demonstrate the recommendation was correct.
The issue was that because it was not included in the fact-find, it took time to get the necessary information. This meant the production of suitability letters was more costly than needed to be.
It also meant we were disturbing the financial planners when they were busy, which sometimes resulted in somewhat uncomfortable conversations.
We discussed the situation with the client’s operations director, as it was costing them money
As we were spending up to an hour and a half on every case chasing the financial planners, the cost of our service was more than it needed to be. Therefore, we raised the issue with our client’s operations director, who immediately saw the financial implications for them.
Additionally, the implications went further than the additional fees, as the delays in producing the suitability letters had the potential for sales to be lost.
Following on from our conversations with the operations director, the client’s compliance officer also raised concerns about information not being recorded properly, increasing the chances of a complaint being upheld.
We created a training manual and workshop for the client
As a result, we worked with the compliance officer and created a 20-page training manual for the 32-page fact-find the client was using.
Alongside that, we also delivered a two and a half hour training session, to help the financial planners understand why we need fact-finds to be filled out in their entirety, but also how we then use the information to write a suitability letter.
The training and manual were given an enthusiastic endorsement by the managing director, who said it provided common-sense reasoning and useful information that would improve efficiency and, therefore, service levels to clients.
Costs for our services went down dramatically
As a result of the training, the cost of our services dropped by around 30%.
We now write a third more suitability reports for clients, as the time taken to produce one has dropped by around an hour. This not only means costs are down, but more business is now being written as a direct result of using the fact-find more effectively.
We helped the client develop a system to ensure quality and consistency
While the work was aimed at helping the financial planners understand the importance of filling out the fact-find in its entirety, we also worked with the client to help them create a system that would make its recommendation process more efficient and effective.
Now the company uses the fact-find as part of its internal system, it has resulted in a consistent, high quality approach to its recommendation process. While the outcomes for each client are going to be different, the journey to the recommendation is the same for everyone.
This means a higher level of service for clients as the financial planners are more efficient and effective. At a time when the financial services sector is increasingly having to justify its charges, it could mean the difference between a happy client and a disgruntled one.
It also means the client can demonstrate a thorough, high quality system when gathering information and providing advice. This is likely to go in its favour should a complaint ever be raised in the future, or an FCA investigation take place.
The training resulted in an increase in revenue for our client’s business, as its planners are now writing new business as well as business they had previously missed.
Much of this has been protection, which is again something that will protect them from future complaints from clients who could otherwise have felt investing was put above ensuring their financial security.
The initiative means we now have a closer working partnership with the client
After working with other paraplanners in the past – which had created more problems than it solved – the client was initially sceptical about the training initiative.
Now, after working with us, the client sees the Paraplanning Hub as an “extension” of its team that has a deep understanding of its aims and processes. In a recent testimonial provided to us, the client explains:
“We have a valuable additional voice outside of our own company with whom we can consult on pretty much anything.
“This has helped us to refine and strengthen our own processes and procedures and raise standards internally. The input into our revamped Know Your Client process was especially valuable.”
Get in Touch
If you would like to discuss how your business could benefit from training in how to use fact-finds more effectively, please contact us online or call on 01472 728 030.