How to become a Paraplanner

The Financial Services market was left largely unscathed by the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures. Many opportunities rose from certain measures introduced such as the stamp duty holiday and roaring house prices.

Recently, Finance Digest stated, in regard to the future of Paraplanning; “Firms are fast realising the importance of attracting, incentivising and retaining top-quality Paraplanner talent. Additionally, for candidates, paraplanning roles are opening more doors than ever…staying in a Paraplanner role also offers great long-term remunerative rewards. There has never been a better time to start a career as a Paraplanner and with the market likely to continue in its candidate-driven nature, hard-working individuals should make the most of job security and the many progression opportunities on offer.”

What does a Paraplanner do?

The Personal Finance Society defines the Paraplanner as “An individual who, along with the Financial Planner creates, prepares, implements and reviews a client’s Financial Plan and Advice.” This is a very brief description and, in the future, we will have more in-depth content coming out regarding the profession of paraplanning.

Experience needed to become a Paraplanner

Below are examples taken from our live vacancies of experience needed at every level as a guide:

Trainee Paraplanner:

  • You should have 1 – 3 years’ experience within financial planning as either a Senior Administrator or Trainee Paraplanner
  • You should have good overall knowledge of financial planning
  • Industry qualifications would be beneficial but not essential

Paraplanner:

  • You should have experience as a Paraplanner and previously prepared suitability reports
  • You should have good knowledge of financial planning, pensions and investments
  • Financial services qualifications are beneficial but not essential

Senior Paraplanner:

  • You should have 3+ years’ experience as a Paraplanner
  • You should be Level 4 Diploma qualified (DipFA or DipPFS)
  • You should have a strong understanding of investments, pensions and taxation

Personal qualities of a Paraplanner

Adaptable: There may be many scenarios where aspects of your role change. Whether that be client circumstance or even volume in workload; you must remain adaptable!

Knowledgeable: This one may be obvious, but you need to have a high level of knowledge and understanding in this role to effectively complete your duties.

Dependable: The Financial Advisor will want to trust that you are consistently making the right recommendations for clients and will hopefully come to a point where they can depend on you without question.

Self-motivated: An un-motivated Paraplanner is unlikely to fulfil their duty effectively, and would be constantly prompted by colleagues to complete tasks. A good Paraplanner is self-motivated and therefore can be trusted by the Financial Advisor and other colleagues.

Analytical: Discretion will often have to be applied in the role of a Paraplanner making analysis skills even more important, you may have to sift through an array of options to ultimately determine the most suitable option for clients.

Concise: In your role, you will often be faced with a vast amount of information. You will need to relay this back to the Financial Advisors in a summarised and concise way to save time whilst still driving the point home.

Qualifications

To become a Paraplanner, many roles will require you to obtain one of the two main Diplomas in Financial Planning, something we have extensively covered on our Blog and YouTube channel, these are:

DipFA: The Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) is a Level 4 FCA approved qualification that is required to provide professional advice on retail investment(s).

DipPFS: The RQF Level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning develops core technical understanding across a broad range of key financial planning areas.

Differences between DipFA and DipPFS: In the long term, there are no differences between the two qualifications, ultimately, they should get you to the same destination.

Ways of entering Paraplanning

Career progression: Financial Services Administrator to Trainee Paraplanner to Paraplanner to Senior Paraplanner

Apprenticeship: In September 2015 a Paraplanner apprenticeship was introduced meaning that young professionals could start their Paraplanning careers at school leaver age. This takes typically 24-36 months to complete.

Trainee Paraplanner: Some jobs will allow you to enter at Trainee Paraplanner level with little to no experience, these can be a great way of entering the market.

How to look for Paraplanner jobs

Job boards: One obvious way to look for a new job is through job boards, sites like Total JobsReed and CV Library are all great sites to look for vacancies and you can sort vacancies by location, salary and entry requirements to fit your career needs. Some employers will advertise vacancies themselves through their own websites, so make sure you use other methods on your job hunt!

However, there are other downsides to exclusively using job boards. The main drawback being the lack of response to job applications. Unfortunately, around 15% of job applicants never even get a response for their application and a massive 48% of respondents said that waiting to hear back from employers is “highly frustrating”.

Your network: Finally, another way to look for new opportunities is by reaching out to your network both in person and on your social networking sites. This can be a valuable process as they may have insider knowledge or access to their own network which could bring out unique opportunities. However, this can be hit and miss, and quite time consuming.

Specialist Recruiter: On our dedicated Paraplanner section on our website it says “Finding your next Paraplanner job requires the right research to be undertaken. Not every Paraplanner job is the same. To name a few differences: type of responsibilities undertaken, level of involvement with clients, effectiveness of systems being used and complexity of financial planning typically required. It is important a methodical approach is applied, that focuses on listening to your current needs and future aspirations. Working with a specialist Financial Services Recruiter increases your prospect of achieving your desired Paraplanner job. With over 400 clients, ranging from small IFA firms to FTSE businesses and every size and shape organisation in-between, we consistently have a breadth of jobs available and able to present you with the most appropriate Paraplanner jobs. Furthermore, as over 70% of our team have prior Financial Services experience, we are able to apply our industry knowledge to navigate you throughout the process. From start to finish, we will be focused on achieving the right move in your career as a Paraplanner.”

Tips on becoming a Paraplanner

Below is some advice from our Recruitment Consultants here at Premier Jobs UK when it comes to kicking off your career as a Paraplanner.

Adrian: “For someone who is wanting to become a Paraplanner the things that I would advise them to do is:

  1. Get back-office financial services administration experience
  2. Undertake professional qualifications by working towards / completing Level 4 Diploma through CII, London Institute of Banking & Finance (or other bodies)
  3. Question what it is about the job that really appeals to you
  4. Have a long term view of your future career goals (i.e where do you want this to take you, if anywhere)
  5. Work alongside a quality Paraplanner and see how they work; what makes them exceptional at what they do

Steve: “Paraplanners are the research and hard work behind the recommendation!

Qualifications and a strong understanding of what the Financial Advisor wants from their Paraplanner is the key. The investigation and research followed by the Suitability Letter / Report is, as far as the Client is involved, the work of the Financial Advisor so it has to be as they would want it to scan, read and come over.

Paraplanners are usually Highly Technical and Qualified individuals who prefer to support Financial Advisors by delivering their end product.”

David: “I think the three most important things when looking to become a Paraplanner are:

  1. Attention to detail
  2. The ability to interpret data
  3. The ability to talk to Financial Advisors in a way they understand what is being said.”

If you are new to Financial Services, it is important to get some real grounding experience in administration, processes, FS language etc”

Conclusion

Becoming a Paraplanner can be a great career option for many Financial Services individuals and this is something we are more than happy to discuss on an individual basis with our readers. Our contact information is:

Email: enquiries@premierjobsuk.com

Telephone: 0208 0044 154

To view our Paraplanner ‘hub’ with useful Paraplanner content, Paraplanner vacancies and more click HERE