Featured in Financial Adviser.

My favourite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, once told me that there is nothing to fear but fear itself, though psychology tells us that (pre-Covid) the greatest worry shared among people was often money and job security, with health coming slightly further down the list. 

I imagine Covid-19 bumped health up the rankings, but it became obvious that finance worries had not been replaced by health worries; in many cases, they were exacerbated.

Through lockdown, being aware that we could not do much about the virus, or therefore people’s health worries, we focused on what we as paraplanners could do to help educate people about finance as well as help advisers alleviate their wealth worries.

As soon as lockdown hit, we spoke to as many advisers as we could, to find out what they were doing, how they were dealing with it and what we could do to help.

Finding new ways to communicate with clients, both existing and prospective, was high up the list for most.

We helped to support the servicing of their existing clients by introducing a virtual paraplanning service, whereby we would provide the video conferencing software, along with a trained client-facing paraplanner within the meeting to help smooth over adapting to a new process.

The market uncertainty was impacting hugely on people and cash flow modelling was a way to make the impact more tangible and reduce the level of fear.

We therefore rolled out a new cash flow initiative, modelling scenarios for clients – factoring in furlough, redundancy, and potentially a sooner than previously anticipated death.

These were the real fears being caused by Covid-19, and turning that into a practical model to discuss with their clients really helped advisers to reassure them.

We provided a business owner’s pack to provide hints and tips for advisers who were business owners, or who had some as clients, to help provide some clarity.

We also engaged with our community to see what we could do as a group to help the wider world throughout these unprecedented times, knowing advisers still had to service their clients, pandemic or not.

However, with many with many paraplanners busier than ever, annual suitability reports quickly became at risk of being delayed or missed altogether. We therefore offered free templates and guides to other paraplanners and advisers to streamline the process.

With everyone’s income taking a sudden and severe dip, we looked at what resources we had that we could give away, at no cost, to help others. We collated all our guides, templates, documents and white papers and put them on our website for free.

We believe now is a time for more people to get advice, and protect themselves from the volatility, but meeting a new adviser can be intimidating at the best of times, let alone when it has to be via Zoom.

So we made a video to help educate the public about how to find an adviser, why they should see one, what to expect, and how to avoid getting scammed.

It is in times of crisis that we need to look after our whole community and not just ourselves.

Supporting advice companies means helping them hopefully ride out the challenges and a stronger financial services profession for us all, and our clients, in coming years.

Now we are now in another national lockdown, I will once again be looking to see what we can do to help and support those around us. If you need help in any way, please feel free to get in touch.

Featured in Money Marketing.

I write this as England rides out its second lockdown. It feels different this time. I won’t go into the sociology or politics of why, but just from speaking to advisers and clients, it really does have a different vibe this time around.

In the first lockdown, there was a lot of furlough and hibernation, and attitudes of “Let’s sit this out and see how it goes”. This time, I think we’ve all realised the new normal is here to stay in some way or another.

So, what does this mean for financial planning?

We know that clients are more worried than ever about their finances and, therefore, need more support than ever. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we can improve our service as paraplanners.

A major part of this is communication and how we can get more from a client meeting in a safe environment. With more of us going to be stuck in the house for longer, now is the time to really embrace tech in a way you never have before.

I recently launched a virtual paraplanner service, where the paraplanner can attend a client-adviser meeting through their favoured video conferencing software. This is something I recommend for in-house and outsourced paraplanners alike. Indeed, it is helpful for all three parties involved.

From the client’s perspective, they are provided with the confidence that you have really understood what they want and how they can achieve it, plus they can take comfort in what a forward thinking, tech-savvy firm they are dealing with.

Meanwhile, the adviser is pleased they don’t have to provide meeting notes and field questions about what they meant by “plan to sell Sarah’s Dream in five years’ time”, where they had omitted the fact it was the name of a boat and not a way for the husband to hurt his wife in the future.

And for paraplaners? Well, just imagine the benefits of dealing with the client in real time. Instead of all the to-ing and fro-ing of calling, and missing them and them calling back at 6pm when you are long logged off, you’ve got them where you want them, to ask all of the questions you need.

This helps achieve a deep insight into their thought process, objectives and needs, which makes for a compliant and personal file, and robust research and report process.

Why do the majority of people say they ‘fell into finance’? Our Director, Jo, explores the two main reasons, as well as why she loves working in finance!

Click here to read the article with Generation Tribe.

We’re still celebrating the fact that we won Paraplanner Team of the Year at the Professional Paraplanner Awards!

In this recent article from Professional Paraplanner, you can find out why we were deemed worthy of this award. Plus, you’ll gain some insight into the blood, sweat and tears that has gone into our work lately!

You may have heard we have been working on a little something called #Project2030. When the world went into lockdown, we knew we had to start looking at our services across The Verve Group differently, ensuring that they are fully future-proofed for our clients. And so, #Project2030 was born and the outcome saw the launch of many brand new services.

But what was the thinking behind #Project2030? Catch up on this article from our Founder & Director and CEO of The Verve Group, Cathi Harrison as she caught up with Nucleus.

PS Blog Header

International Women’s Day this year was a good chance to discuss women in finance, on both sides of the coin.

Our Director, Jo Campbell, did just this in an article for Money Marketing, where she considers how treating people equally does not always mean treating them the same.

Click here to read the full article.

PS Blog Header

MiFID II has been in force for over two years and still, we find there is a lot of debate as to how best to approach Periodic Suitability Reviews. There are enough articles and blogs covering this topic in general, and we aren’t looking to rehash old territory. However, we still see discussions on the best approach to cover certain aspects, one of the main ones being costs disclosure. Read more on this from our Lead Paraplanner, Kate Hall in this article from Nucleus. 

As part of our business planning, we’ve considered what aspects of the business we might change and what areas we should focus our investment on.

With that in mind, we took a look at main priorities for the year which our Director, Jo Campbell discussed with Nucleus in this article.

Just how does our Director, Jo Campbell, manage our growing team of paraplanners? She spoke to Professional Paraplanner to explain all… 

Click here for the article.

After speaking at a seminar recently, it became scarily apparent to our Founder and Director, Cathi Harrison, how little notice adviser firms had taken of the FCA’s PROD (Product Intervention and Product Governance) regime. 

She spoke to Money Marketing about the issue in this article.