Have you ever had a document reviewed and not have any idea on what the markers comments are even about? Feedback such as “fix this”, “change that”, “I don’t like this part” leave the receiver feeling more confused as they reread over the section for the 32nd time. Even to the point of having an SOA literally thrown across the desk at you (yes this actually happened).
The quality of the SOA has 3 contributing factors.
The Adviser (and advice)
The communication between 1 and 2
So, who’s responsible for what in the process? Well sorry to disappoint, but simple answer is, you’re both equally responsible.
Let’s say the adviser requests a SOA that doesn’t have strong notes on the basis for advice. The Paraplanner takes this request, puts together the SOA based on these notes and delivers it to the adviser for review.
Most likely outcome: the adviser is frustrated because the SOA has no substance and is ‘not customised’. The Paraplanner is confused because they have put together an SOA based on the notes.
If we go back to the scenario and make the following additions:
Paraplanner goes back to Adviser and asks for further detail on how they came to their advice.
Adviser provides more detail, including alternatives considered.
Result: a compliant and customised SOA
Surprisingly, this is actually a common issue in Paraplanning. Advisers don’t know what to provide, Paraplanners don’t know what the Adviser wants.
Do yourself a favour, when it comes to providing advice, don’t assume anything. If you’re unsure, ask questions to achieve clarity, because the SOA is not for the Paraplanner, nor the Adviser so the clearer you are on what is being communicated to the client, the higher the likelihood it will be signed with confidence.