The Ultimate Guide To Paraplanner Jobs
In the financial sector, Paraplanners are majorly important to how businesses grow and, is a job that is growing rapidly in the market. Working alongside Financial Planners, Paraplanners are a key aspect to advising and helping clients where needed. We take a detailed look into what is needed to become and establish yourself as a Paraplanner.
Paraplanners: The Introduction
What do they do?
The definition, as provided by Investopedia, states that a Paraplanner is ‘a relatively new position within the financial planning industry that involves the performance of the administrative duties of a Financial Planner. This function was created to allow financial planners to focus on the sell-side by working more closely with customers to identify their investing needs.’
The Paraplanner’s job role consists of four main parts:
- Preparing and maintaining quantitative data for the client file
- Preparing recommendations for the Financial Planner to go through with the client
- Implementing recommendations by preparing necessary paperwork and making changes to the clients’ investments as instructed by the financial planner
- Review investment portfolio, build relationships with clients and organise planning meetings with clients
How do you become a Paraplanner?
There’s no specifically defined route to becoming a Paraplanner. In most instances, however, the typical route to entry is via promotion as an IFA Administrator or an Adviser who is looking to take a step away from the client-facing side of financial planning.
A different route into Paraplanning is straight out of university, qualifications are helpful, but much of this job is experience based. A graduate has already proven that they are competent individuals and can be well on their way to becoming a great Paraplanner through on-the-job training and a healthy dose of experience.
There are a few routes open to you to improve technical competency and accreditation:
- CII Diploma
- Certificate in Paraplanning from the Chartered Institute of Insurers
- Certificate in Paraplanning from the Institute of Financial Planning
The creation of specialist qualifications demonstrates the industry’s growing recognition of the importance paraplanners play.
What employers are looking for?
There is no one answer for all Paraplanners as the requirements will change with each employer, but there are some core skills that are required by all Paraplanners. Due to the nature of the role, strong organisational skills are a must in this field. A Financial Planner will have deadlines that need to be met and being in a supportive role, a Paraplanner must be able to complete work in a timely matter to allow the financial planner to meet these goals.
Paraplanners: Skills and Qualifications
The following are a list of key and desired skills for Paraplanners:
- Understanding of the financial planning process
- Financial initiative – being able to achieve agreed outcomes without supervision
- Detailed and articulate
- Good report writing skills
- Good IT skills
- Strong organisations skills – being able to multitask and prioritise work effectively
- Ability to take a leading role in supporting financial planners and enabling them to focus on and build relationships with clients.
- Strong technical knowledge
- Broad knowledge of financial services sector
- Appropriate Examination for Advising on Packaged Products (Certificate in Financial Planning /Certificate for Financial Advisers)
- Taxation (J01)
- Trusts (J02)
- Investments (IMC)
- Other technical areas (Pensions, Long‐term Care)
- Certified Financial Planner Certification
- Paraplanning general concepts
- Preparing and maintaining the client file
- Preparing recommendations
- Review guidance
Paraplanners: Where can you go next?
Within the Paraplanner discipline there are generally three levels of seniority:
- ‘Support Paraplanner’, in most cases they will have one or two years’ experience.
- ‘Paraplanner’, people in this position will have three to five years’ experience and the qualifications to match.
- ‘Senior Paraplanner’, with five plus years’ experience, advanced diplomas and a certified financial planner.
There are currently around 35,000 Paraplanners employed in the finance sector in the UK, with the demand for Paraplanners still rising and predicted to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. As a paraplanner, you could find yourself working in all areas of finance, including mortgages, insurance and investment management.