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Member Spotlight: JG Paraplanning

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6 March 2024

Our members spotlight series returns, this time we caught up with Flint Glass Works members JG Paraplanning who have recently expanded their team here at Colony.

JG Paraplanning

Behind every good Financial Advisor is a bloody good Paraplanner!

Founded in 2022 by Jacob Graham, an industry veteran with a passion for providing top-notch paraplanning and admin support, JG Paraplanning has swiftly made its mark in the financial services sector.

With a commitment to excellence, this biz has quickly become a trusted partner for Financial Planners and Advisory firms in the North West and beyond.

Join us as we delve into the story behind this buzzing startup and the unique benefits of being part of the Colony Coworking community.

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

JG Paraplanning provides quality Paraplanning and Admin support to Financial Planners and Advisory firms.

In November 2022, after working as an employed Paraplanner for SJP and Quilter practices, Jacob (our founder) started JG Paraplanning. A huge part of that decision was his dedication to providing quality paraplanning support for financial advisors, and the autonomy that self-employment has to.

In 2023, we incorporated into an LLP and Aaron (Jacob’s partner) also joined the business, bringing a ton of Process Optimization and Admin Support expertise with him.

Earlier this year, we hired our first two employees (Ollie and Sarah). So, whilst we’re a fledgling business, we’re small but mighty! If you want to know more about us, feel free to visit our website.

JG Paraplanning sitting in the Co-lounge

JG Paraplanning in the Flint Glass Works Co-Lounge

I’m an alien – What is Paraplanning?

Paraplanners are an essential part of any Financial Advisory service – not only from an efficiency perspective but also from a customer service and compliance viewpoint too.

Just like how a paralegal or an associate helps support a lawyer with a case, a paraplanner's role is to help financial advisors deliver comprehensive, well-informed financial advice to their clients by handling the intricate details and technical aspects of financial planning.

We typically enjoy handling the more technical aspects of financial planning, like creating cash flow projections, researching investment opportunities, and ensuring that all regulatory requirements are met. Supporting our clients in this way allows them to focus more on their own customer interactions, strategic planning, and delivering a great service.

How we conduct our business each day varies, depending on what our clients need (you can find a full list of our services here), but for example:

In one day, we could be conducting fund and platform research for one client; writing suitability reports for another; and improving the efficiency of the next firm’s operations by introducing new systems and processes.

Paraplanning has evolved over the last few years, becoming an independent subject in its own right.

Now there’s a growing number of folks offering it as a standalone service, why would someone choose to work with JG Paraplanning over another provider? Or hiring in-house?

Aside from being incredibly thorough in our work, one bit of feedback we keep getting – and something we really pride ourselves on – is our personable approach.

We’re transparent and attentive with all of our clients from the start, taking the time to really understand their needs, and working collaboratively to deliver on them.

Our open communication style and our attention to detail often result in us becoming a close extension of our clients’ teams. It instills a sense of camaraderie, trust, and easiness – which, for someone working in the financial services sector, is a really great thing to have.

We’re also very good at what we do!

Plus, by outsourcing their Paraplanning work, our clients benefit from more flexibility and cost savings than they would if they hired a permanent employee Paraplanner. Our clients have the flexibility to scale-up-or-down the work as their needs evolve and we save them money on salaries, onboarding & training costs, pensions, sick leave, and annual leave.

What’s one of your favorite things about working (and/or living) in Manchester?

The business community here!

The pool of professionals in Manchester is so vibrant, and everyone seems to share the same worker bee attitude that we were brought up with. There’s definitely something to be said about surrounding yourself with movers and shakers who do their work well.

Pair that communal energy with the rich cultural and industrial heritage that Ancoats has to offer, and you’re never short of inspiration.

The transport links in Manchester are also brilliant. Nothing is ever too far away, which makes commuting, and arranging social activities is usually pretty easy.

Stepping into 2024, what are some of the challenges facing your industry today?

To protect consumers and ensure they’re operating legally and ethically, all Financial Service providers need to keep themselves up to date with the latest from the Financial Conduct Authority and other regulatory bodies. One of the biggest challenges facing us today, however, is the volume of regulatory updates and introductions being made.

These changes are all being made for the right reasons, but they do create extra work for our clients (and our own practice). Covering everything from Consumer Duty to Cyber Security, these regulations mean we need to stay ahead of the curve and remain agile if we want to continue offering the top-tier service we’ve become known for.

How do you expect your industry to evolve in the coming years, and what skills and expertise will be most valuable for your business to possess?

The Financial Services industry is already becoming digitalized and we expect this trend to continue. We anticipate a greater emphasis on automation and system integration, to help things run more smoothly, and using tech to better utilize our data - leading to an improved service for those in need of financial advice.

However, because advisers are regulated by the FCA, we see modern technology – like AI - being used as a tool to help improve processes, but it won’t replace advisers, paraplanners, or admin staff.

Why? Because the buck ultimately stops with the adviser. They are responsible for the advice they provide. It’s their name and signature on any advice letter or report, not the tech’s.

In summary, digital literacy, skills and expertise in data analysis, digital tools, and compliance will be most valuable for our business to possess. We're also keen to see the industry help close the advice gap, ensuring that younger people have access to financial advice.

A mural by the artist VOYDER in the workspace

Colony Flint Glass Works Coworking Space

What made you choose to use a serviced workspace instead of a traditional office?

What we love about serviced offices and coworking in general is the flexibility it offers.

For any business, especially a new one, hunting for office space and all that’s involved (comparing prices per square meter, requesting costs, and exploring business rates) can be really daunting and sometimes demotivating. This, in turn, can prevent small businesses from finding a space that works for them.

With a serviced workspace though, we can:

  • Scale our workspace according to our needs
  • Access the amazing amenities at Flint Glass Works, 24/7
  • Benefit from a collaborative community environment without the hassle of managing a dedicated office space

The Colony spaces themselves are also a lovely benefit. Flint Glass Works has a really modern, vibrant feel, and we love working under the awesome mural near the floating desk area – it’s gorgeous!

Not only that, but we love working alongside other freelancers and SME’s. It gives us energy - being surrounded by people who are here because they want to be here; and they want to succeed, just like us.

In a nutshell, we see Colony as a vital component of our employment offering, and long may that continue.

We love to hear it! And regarding Colony specifically, how would you say being a part of our community has impacted you and your business so far?

Being part of the Colony Coworking community has been great. Despite only being here a short while it’s already given us networking opportunities, collaboration potential with other businesses, and access to amenities and support services that enhance our productivity and overall work experience.

Employee engagement is also really important to us. Colony helps us make sure we can offer as much value to our employees as is possible for a small company like ours:

  • Desk member networking lets us get to know those we work alongside and what they do.
  • Quiz nights let us collaborate in another fun and exciting way (who doesn't love a bit of healthy competitive fun?
  • Brunch sessions are always an awesome pick-me-up midweek.
  • Additionally, the sense of belonging to a community fosters a supportive and dynamic work environment for all of us

In a nutshell, we see Colony Coworking as a vital component of our employment offering, and long may that continue.

We certainly hope so! Thank you guys for choosing us to be your workspace provider. We love having you here. See you at Brunch!

If you’re looking for a vibrant, friendly serviced workspace in Manchester, that all offers the benefits discussed in this article and more, drop us a note. We’d love to chat.

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