Horizon Scanning. How will digital innovation impact the paraplanner

Financial Advisory

25 May 2023

complianceDigitalFinancial AdvisoryInnovationMeeting of MindsPrivate Banking

Expert: Joe Harris, Alpha FMC


  1. While automation technology is prevalent in banking and general insurance, the advice process is still considered quite manual
  2. It is crucial to ensure that technological advancements do not negatively impact the client or customer
  3. Automation can assist with documentation, particularly review and recommendation reports
  4. Whilst technology can be used to better the paraplanners activities & experience, this can only be done through good quality data
  5. Although the digital innovation is going to support clients, advisers & paraplanners, this is only one “channel” that a client can be onboarded and serviced through

Discussion points:

Resistance to Automation
The resistance to automation in advice can be attributed to several factors, such as clients' preference for face-to-face interaction, concerns about compliance and effectiveness, the change curve/journey to move and reluctance to change when things are going well.

Client-Centric Approach
Offering options like document signing via platforms like DocuSign allows clients to embrace change while retaining the option to revert to familiar processes. While technology is valuable, it is not meant to replace the role of advisors or paraplanners. The digital experience can be viewed as an additional proposition with a different service level, which would come at a cost for the client.

Improving Processing Efficiency
AI-generated reports are currently seen as generic, but there is a general consensus that they can become more personable in the future. However, a human filter may still be required to further fine-tune and proofread the reports that are produced, ensuring they align with individual client needs.

Technology such as AI transcription can support paraplanners in immediately receiving the right information post adviser client meeting, and advanced workflow capabilities can use this input to assign the next best action to enhance the paraplanner journey.

Poor data equals poor outputs
Firms need to spend more time assessing the data they have, the data they need, and how this data flows around their technologies to ensure consistency in quality & process. 

Digital First but not Digital Only
Ensuring that there is a consistent “foundational process” which utilises digital and automation at its core, but allows for paper-based processes if the client wishes will be key to a successful implementation of digital to take on their behalf.) 

Key takeaways:

  • Paraplanners to identify what technology they are using today & how it can be optimised to support their process
  • Horizon scanning of future technology and their capabilities
  • Push your incumbent technology providers on their future roadmap and how
  • Review how the entire “advice process” is handled by technology, including how data will flow through their systems and be surfaced to clients & advise – to ensure that you have “golden sources” of data and a “right first time” approach to data entry