We ask advisers for their tips on managing clients when they go on holiday...
Dennis Hall, managing director, Yellowtail Financial Planning:
"In my firm I am the main advice provider, but I decided to authorise my paraplanners a couple of years ago to help cope with this problem, as well as to enable them to deal with simple issues when I am otherwise out of the office or unable to immediately deal with client queries.
Prior to that I found that my paraplanners could only deal with administrative issues and for urgent queries I would have to maintain an eye on my e-mails even when on holiday in case I had an urgent situation to deal with.
Of course, with some of my more exotic travels (Tahiti, Samoa) I have not always had access to emails or internet, even with the travelling Blackberry, so a more robust solution was needed.
Using another firm acting as locum is a stop gap but is not the ideal solution. Having said that, I have not had anything crop up during a holiday that could not wait until I returned, but there will be a first time I’m sure.
Using my paraplanners appears to be the ideal solution; they are familiar with the client situation, and have been involved in the advice process so will have a good idea of the client’s situation.
I am of the opinion this is better than relying on a fellow adviser within the same firm.
The process to have a robust plan in place for when going on holiday is useful for trying to develop business plans that eventually remove the total reliance on a single individual.
Too many small IFA firms rely on the sole-practitioner, which isn’t a very good business plan - no visible succession planning for example. If you can cover the firm during periods of holiday it means you can begin to think about building up the firm ready for the time you want to sell it."
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