Patrick Canion, the CEO of ipac Western Australia, outsourced paraplanning to an Australian service for a number of years.

But last year he decided to outsource back office administration and paraplanning to an offshore service provider, Intiger, which has offices in India and the Philippines.

His decision is part of a growing trend among both small and big adviser groups, including ipac, Fortnum, Countplus and AMP, to outsource and offshore paraplanning to reduce costs and free advisers for client work.

Canion says that financial planning firms are all facing additional compliance and documentation requirements.

“Clients don’t want to pay for it,” he says.

“You’ve got to find ways of making it work out some way.”

Ipac Western Australia spent six months performing due diligence on the Intiger service and started by giving them a simple administration process through Xplan.

No walk in the park

Canion says international outsourcing requires significant work. Ipac ramped up its documentation of work processes, which delivered additional efficiencies.

“It takes time,” he says.

“I don’t want to make it sound like a walk in the park.”

Part of the due diligence was covering ethical aspects of outsourcing.

“I didn’t want to be involved in supporting a sweatshop somewhere,” Canion says.

He is comforted by the fact the staff in India and Manila are some of the best paid people in their community.

“That was really important for me personally,” he says.