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Is today the Golden Age for paraplanners? 

by Heat Recruitment

Behind every great financial advisor is an excellent paraplanner. They may not be the ‘frontmen’, but behind the scenes, skilled paraplanners act like the drummer of the band, keeping time and building a foundation for financial advisors to thrive.

While the role of a paraplanner is generally treated as a stepping stone for budding professionals to get their foot on the financial services career ladder, demand for talent in this area continues to grow at an unprecedented pace. What was once considered an administrative position has evolved to become increasingly technical: today, firms rely on paraplanners not only to support financial advisors but to lend their expertise to other client facing teams.

With demand for qualified paraplanners significantly outstripping supply, financial services firms enter a highly competitive landscape when seeking to secure talented paraplanners for their organisation. In turn, those boasting relevant experience in this field have fast become hot commodities in the market. Post-qualification, they can expect a wealth of benefits upon joining the profession, notably:

Earning potential

The rapid rise in demand for skilled paraplanners has naturally seen salary levels soar for this particular discipline. Not so long ago, new entrants to the profession could expect to start on £25,000 a year with incremental increases pushing them up towards the £30,000 bracket. Today, the average paraplanner tends to start on £35,000 a year, rising to £60,000+ for those working in top London firms.

While a level 3 qualified professional will typically command a salary between £28,000 and £40,000 in the capital, diploma-qualified candidates can expect to earn around £50,000, with chartered paraplanners attracting levels of £55,000 plus. Hungry for expertise and eager to fill empty desks, it’s clear that employers in this sector are willing to pay a high price for the right candidate, putting the power firmly in the hands of the paraplanner when it comes to salary negotiation.

A maturing profession

While the role may have been created to assist financial advisors with administrative duties, paraplanners now play a pivotal role in the analysis and development of appropriate client solutions, allowing advisors the freedom to increase the time spent with clients. Often is the case that paraplanners are every bit as qualified as FA’s; their specialist skills can be utilised across various functions of the business.

The best paraplanners are those who can provide specialist regulatory, legal and analysis to financial advisors themselves; they add value to client solutions by lending their expertise across a number of areas. What’s more, with the evolution of technology has come a new layer to the role: today, paraplanners must harness digital tools to facilitate and streamline communication between themselves and financial advisors; they must ensure that they have real-time access to information as and when they need it.

Career prospects

With only three to four years to qualify, paraplanners can quickly kick off a highly satisfying and lucrative career without delay. Once in the role, professionals in this sphere have several options in regard to their career progression. Of course, the natural transition is for them to move into the advisory role itself, but having refined their expertise across a number of areas, their journey is not limited to this path.

In fact, many paraplanners choose to move into risk and compliance departments, putting their well-developed knowledge of the ever-changing regulatory landscape to good use. On another note, many investment research firms seek investment analysts with a background in paraplanning as these candidates come equipped with extensive writing experience, a strong understanding of investment strategies and have benefited from exposure to different financial products.

No matter which direction they choose to take their careers, newly qualified paraplanners have a lot to look forward to. With demand for skilled professionals in this position growing by the day, paraplanners can expect a wave of interest the moment they enter the jobs market.

Please do not hesitate to contact a Heat Financial Services Consultant to discuss recruitment services for paraplanners

by Lucy Evans