The benefits of a corporate training programme

As well as working with individuals who want to start a new career in Financial Advice, Simply Academy also offers a range of corporate solutions to meet the specific requirements of our corporate clients.

Corporate solutions are a very effective way to train your company’s employees, and we have delivered successful training programmes to large and small companies around the world.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the benefits of corporate training solutions and how to go about setting up a corporate training programme for your business.

What are corporate solutions?

Corporate solutions is a wide-reaching term that covers services put into place at a corporate level. They are based upon specialist knowledge, industry best practices and modern technologies, and can be used to serve both internal requirements and those of the company’s business partners.

This could include corporate finance solutions to address issues such as how a business can improve its financial efficiency and how to get financial support for a business. It can refer to corporate management solutions and, of course, it also covers corporate training solutions.

How do corporate training solutions work?

Our Corporate Client Team have designed and delivered corporate training solutions for many of the world’s leading banking and financial companies.

They take the time to know your business and your training goals so that you’ll receive a training solution that meets your exact needs. You can choose from our well-established range of financial services courses such as CeMAP or DipFA, or alternatively our team can create a tailored solution to suit your business’ specific requirements and circumstances.

You can contact our Corporate Client Team on Freephone 0808 208 0002 or by email at [email protected].

What are the benefits of corporate training solutions?

Of course, one of the major benefits of a corporate training programme is that you will receive training that precisely meets the training requirements of your business. But there are a number of other corporate training benefits as well:

More Efficient Training

Instead of sending your employees to study training courses individually, a corporate training programme allows you to train several of your staff at one time. The training can take place either at your own company premises or at one of our six training centres in city centre locations across England Wales. This is a much more efficient way to train your staff for the best possible results.

Increased Performance and Productivity

Effective training helps staff to improve their skills so that they can perform their role to a higher standard, but many employees feel that lack of training is stopping them from achieving their full potential. Investing in corporate training will lead to your employees feeling more enthusiastic and confident about their abilities. They’ll see better results in their work and your business will see improved productivity.

Boost Staff Morale and Motivation

Investing in training shows your employees that they are valued and helps to create a positive and supportive work environment. Employees who feel appreciated at work will have greater job satisfaction, leading to higher motivation and morale which then feeds back into better performance.

Better Staff Retention

Staff who receive poor training or no training at all often feel dissatisfied at work, and are more likely to look elsewhere for employment within their first year. Employees who receive excellent training opportunities are far less likely to leave their job so by providing high quality corporate training, you could see better staff retention rates. This will also have the effect of reducing your company’s recruitment costs.

Attract Top Talent

Training is viewed as a desirable employee benefit and ambitious candidates are likely to look more favourably upon employers who provide a strong training programme. An effective corporate training programme will enhance your company’s reputation as an employer, and make it easier for you to attract top talent to your business.

Simply Academy are the UK’s largest training provider for the banking and finance sector, and we have been providing high quality training programmes since 2006. Our courses are trusted by individuals and businesses of all sizes, and our experienced tutors and clear course materials give your employees their best opportunity to pass first time.

If you’d like to discuss corporate training solutions for your company, email our Corporate Client Team on [email protected] or call us on Freephone 0808 208 0002.

What qualifications do you need to be a financial planner?

Financial planners are professionals that are paid to help individuals and businesses alike create investment strategies with the ultimate aim of helping to meet long-term financial goals.

Specialising in everything from tax planning and risk management to asset allocation and retirement planning, financial planners typically operate by first consulting with their clients directly in order to get a firm understanding of their specific needs and wants. From this point, a suitable level of financial investments for their clients will be sourced, based on capital size, risk tolerance and goals. Finally, a programme will be set up to help the client understand their new financial plan.

But, how do you become a financial planner and what qualifications, if any, do you need? Additionally, are there any financial courses that can provide the perfect foundation? In this blog, we will answer these questions and more as we take a closer look at how to become a financial planner.

What do I need to be a financial planner?

While you can work within the financial industry as a junior employee without a special qualification, in order to become a professional financial planner in the UK, you need to be certified. Lower level qualifications will allow you to practice in other roles within the financial advisory industry, including paraplanning jobs, for example. However, to become a fully certified financial planner, you will need to attain a Level 7 Diploma which is awarded by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

Be under no illusions – obtaining Certified Financial Planner status is not easy and requires time, commitment and a lot of hard work. It’s also important to note that the globally recognised Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential is not financial planner training itself. It refers to the qualification needed to prove you have met key requirements in four major areas. These are education, experience, ethics, and examination.

Do you need a licence to be a financial planner?

While you don’t require a ‘licence’ to practice as a financial planner in the UK, as discussed above, you do need to achieve CFP status by obtaining a Level 7 CISI Diploma in Financial Planning. Although this in itself could be considered a kind of financial planning licensure, a qualification is not the same as a license. However, the accreditation process involved in becoming a financial planner does ensure only fully-trained and qualified professionals are able to practice as a financial planner. This protects clients and their money, making sure only those with the correct training and experience can operate as financial planners.

Do you need a degree to be a financial planner?

Although it is not a formalised legal requirement, in order to qualify for the necessary further training needed to become an certified financial planner, holding a university degree in a relevant subject, such as business and finance, mathematics, economics or business accounting, will certainly strengthen your case to qualify, as well as make your studies easier.

Remember, the best career paths for financial planners is a structured one that slowly builds up skills and hones specialist knowledge, training and first-hand experience as you climb the qualifications ladder. A typical path for an aspiring financial planner may look like this:

  • Achieve three A to C A-Level grades in relevant subjects (maths, economics, business studies, etc).
  • Graduate with a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a relevant subject.
  • Complete an RDR-compliant course – this is a qualification recognised by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). For example, the Investment Advice Diploma or the Diploma for Financial Advisors.
  • Meet relevant work experience standards – typically one-year supervised experience is expected – maybe as part of a financial apprenticeship course – or a minimum of three years of unsupervised practice experience in the financial planning industry.
  • Achieve CFP certification by completing the CISI’s level 7 Diploma in Advanced Financial Planning.
  • Finally, gain CISI membership at MCSI Level or above, which shows your commitment to ethics and the financial planning Code of Conduct.

What does an insurance broker do?

Typically working for a third party insurance brokerage firm or financial advisors, it is the job of an insurance broker to find affordable yet financially logical insurance policies for their clients, using an in-depth knowledge of their specific market, current trends and possible risks. Ultimately, insurance brokers find, arrange and sell insurance to their clients, whether it’s to cover their home, pet, car or something else.

In this blog, we provide a quick introduction to the world of insurance brokers, looking at what their roles actually entail and how they deal with claims. Read on to find out more.

What is an insurance broker?

Acting as an intermediary, or ‘middle-man’, between a potential client and an insurance company, professional insurance brokers are paid to find their clients policies that provide the right level of cover they are looking for, at the best possible price. Despite many believing that brokers work for banks or insurance companies themselves, this is actually a common misconception. The truth is, insurance brokers represent their clients and not the insurance companies who provide the policies they sell. Instead, insurance brokers tend to work for third party brokerage firms with no associations to specific insurance providers.

Traditionally speaking, all insurance brokers fall into one of two categories. These are:

Retail insurance brokers:

The most common type of insurance broker, these brokers typically source and arrange insurance policies for private individuals or companies, dealing with them directly throughout the selling process. This could include to facilitate the sale of motor, travel, house or pet insurance to an individual, or policies which cover damage to property and business disruption for corporate clients. As a rule, these brokers are also responsible for facilitating an employer’s liability cover relating to work-based injuries and products liability insurance to protect against faulty consumer products.

Commercial insurance brokers:

Typically dealing with more high-value and complex insurance deals, commercial brokers source and arrange cover for private sector and public sector organisations. This involves dealing with everything from aviation and marine companies to building contractors, government projects and gas and oil companies.

What insurance brokers do

Although we have looked at the different types of insurance brokers and provided a brief overview of the role, we are yet to look into the specific day-to-day duties of an insurance broker. Naturally, this is the key information you’ll want to know if you are looking to start a career in this role.

Varying brokerages and financial advice firms all operate differently, and what an insurance broker actually does each day will depend on their specialism. However, common responsibilities in the role includes the following:

  • Building and maintaining client relationships
  • Researching specialist market trends, as well as new insurance policies and products
  • Negotiating better policy terms and deals with insurance providers
  • Discussing clients’ current and future needs in relation to their cover
  • Advising clients on when and how to make claims on their policies when needed
  • Collaborating with insurance underwriters and agents on reports and contract formation
  • Ensuring insurance premiums are collected
  • Renewing, upgrading and amending existing insurance policies for clients.

Do insurance brokers help with claims?

To put it simply, yes – insurance brokers can help with insurance claims. As previously discussed, insurance brokers work for third party companies and do not represent your provider. This means, when you make a claim, they can help you decipher the questions your insurance provider is asking you to ensure you give the right answers to help your claim. Remember, brokers sell you on a policy. For this reason they are likely to want to make sure your insurance provider fulfils its obligations to you, as this will also protect their reputation. With this in mind, when a broker presents a claim to your insurer, it’s not uncommon to see a quicker and more efficient settlement than you might otherwise expect.

Thinking about a career as an insurance broker or just looking to kickstart your professional life starting with a course in finance? Simply Academy offers apprenticeships in financial advice that allow students to attain industry-recognised qualifications while also picking up invaluable on-the-job experience.

What is corporate training?

Corporate training is the process of providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully carry out their jobs. This might mean learning the company’s own internal processes or it could involve studying towards external industry-recognised qualifications.

In larger companies, a specific Training and Development team might manage corporate learning or it may come under the remit of the Human Resources department in smaller organisations. Whoever is responsible for corporate training will need to identify training requirements, develop and deliver corporate training programmes or engage a corporate training provider like Simply Academy.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the importance of corporate training programs, how corporate training works and how to measure how effective it is.

Why corporate training is important

Employees who don’t receive sufficient training often feel that they aren’t reaching their full potential. So it’s important to provide corporate training to ensure that your staff are able to perform their job successfully.

Staff training and development will help your staff to address any weaknesses, strengthen their existing talents and learn new skills that can help them progress in their career. As a result, they’ll be more confident in their job and produce a higher standard of work.

Staff who receive appropriate training tend to feel more valued and more enthusiastic about their work. And the benefits of training will be felt throughout the company by increasing productivity, boosting morale and improving staff retention rates.

Ultimately this will help to increase income and efficiency, and reflect positively on the company’s bottom line.

How corporate training works

There are different ways that you can implement your corporate training programme. Which one you choose will depend on your own company’s requirements.

In-house training

If you have the necessary resources, you can deliver workplace training in-house without the services of a specialist training provider. In company training is generally used for high specific training geared around the processes of the individual company. It wouldn’t be suitable if you want your employees to undertake training courses such as the Certificate in  Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) or Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA).

Instructor led classroom training

If your staff need to study for external qualifications, you may decide to engage a corporate training provider. Classroom-based courses are the most established way to study for this type of qualification and are still very popular.

You could hire a trainer to deliver the course to a group of employees at your company premises, or alternatively send one or more employees to an external training centre.

Live Webinar training

Live Webinars are a more modern way to study. They take the classroom online to deliver seminars across the Internet, and also allow the trainer and learners to discuss the content using their microphones and chat boxes. If Webinar sessions are recorded, this will allow them to be used to review the course content later.

Online self-paced study

The use of online learning for corporate training has grown massively over the last two decades. It is a useful way to deliver corporate training in a way that is very accessible to learners and can be used to fit training around the learners’ work.

What is corporate training and efficiency?

When you are planning your training strategy, it’s important to make sure that the programme justifies the expenditure on it. This can be demonstrated by setting and tracking Key Performance Indicators to evaluate the Return on Investment.

There are various KPIs that you might want to track, which come under three general headings:

Bottom line KPIs will measure the company’s improvement in productivity. This may be evaluated by measuring the increase in the number of clients signed or the value of closed deals.

Performance KPIs look at how processes are improved following the training. This may be demonstrated by a reduction in time spent prospecting each lead or a decrease in the number of revisions needed when preparing quotes.

Quality KPIs will look at improvements in the standard of customer service. This can be seen through a reduction in customer complaints or order cancellations, or an improvement in positive reviews and referrals.

Is corporate training effective?

The effectiveness of corporate training will depend on your training manager or team correctly identifying your employees’ needs and then successfully delivering the required courses.

Working with a specialist training provider like Simply Academy will help to boost the effectiveness of your corporate training programme. We have over 14 years’ experience of providing training to the Financial Services industry, and our in-depth knowledge means that we understand your company’s needs.

We can offer training sessions at your company premises, at one of our 6 UK training centres or via the Internet, and can design and deliver a corporate training programme to meet your company’s requirements.

So if you would like to investigate the different corporate training options on offer, email [email protected] or give us a call on 0808 208 0002 to discuss your requirements.

How do online courses work?

Ever since the Internet became a major part of our daily life, online courses have been growing in popularity. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made them even more popular, as people have been using their additional time at home to gain new skills or undertake some Continuing Professional Development.

So you may be considering signing up for an online course, whether you want to learn a new skill, consolidate your knowledge in your current role or to take your first step towards a new career.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the different types of online courses that are available, how online courses work and how to get started with an online course.

What is an online course?

As you’d expect, an online course is one that you study over the internet instead of travelling to a college or training centre or taking part in training at your workplace.

The advantages of online learning include being able to study at times that suit you and not having to take time off work to travel to the course location.

There is a vast range of courses available so you could choose to study for a professional or academic qualification, learn a new skill or study a subject purely for your own enjoyment.

How does an online course work?

There are two main types of online courses: live webinar training courses and e-learning courses.

Live webinar courses provide you with one or more scheduled webinars. These are live seminars held over the Internet and you can read more about webinars here. You’ll usually be able to communicate with the course tutor and with other students using your microphone or a chat box, and the webinar may be recorded so that you can watch it again later.

With an e-learning course, you will usually be given access to a web portal where you can access the online learning materials. These may include texts to read, videos to watch and presentations which you can work through at your own pace. This is very useful if you want to be able to study at irregular times or around your work hours.

With both styles of online course, you will usually submit any assignments online and have online access to a tutor who can answer your queries. If your course is presented via a web portal and online materials, there may be a set time limit on your access to these.

How long should an online course be?

The length of an online course will vary depending on the complexity of the course. For example, if you have signed up for an online introduction to a piece of software, this may just involve a single webinar.

But webinar training that leads to an academic or professional qualification such as the Level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) or Level 4 Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) may involve a week or more of scheduled webinars leading up to an exam.

Likewise, if you choose to take an e-learning course, this could involve several months of study.

How to start an online course

Getting started on your Simply Academy online course is very straightforward. Once you’ve chosen your course, you can either sign up online or you can call our friendly support team on Freephone 0808 208 0002.

If you choose one of our Live Webinar courses, you’ll be given full details of how to sign in for your scheduled webinar sessions. All of our webinar sessions are recorded, so you can use them for revision or to catch up on any sessions you might have missed. And you’ll also receive high quality course materials to make your learning as simple as possible.

If you sign up to study CeMAP through our self-guided e-learning course, you’ll get 12 months’ access to the online learning portal. There’s also a comprehensive online FAQ section and a mock exam to help you prepare for the real thing.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will assist you throughout your studies. All of our expert trainers are highly experienced and have a wealth of industry knowledge that will help you get the most out of your online course. You can also call our support desk for any additional assistance you may need.

Now all you need to do is to choose which online course you’d like to study next!

What does a financial planner do?

If you’re considering a career in finance, you may have looked at a number of different roles. But have you thought about becoming a financial planner? In this blog, we look at the responsibilities that come with this role, how financial planners operate and how they can add value to a business.

Who is a financial planner?

A financial planner is a qualified professional that provides expert assistance to both individuals and businesses that need help with setting out and meeting financial targets. Targets, for example, may be decided with the intention of reducing spending, getting out of debt, saving money or budgeting for a specific goal such as applying for a mortgage or opening a savings account. People in this role may choose to offer advice on a selection of different areas involved with financial planning or specialise on a dedicated area such as investments or pensions.

What do financial planners do?

In simple terms, a financial planner offers support and advice to clients around their finances and financial decisions. However, as finance can extend to a number of different areas, financial planners may be required to advise clients in several ways. For instance, It is common for a financial planner to advise a business on how best to manage their finances in future months or evaluate and review an individual’s financial situation, offer effective options and set out a plan for how they can reach their goals. A financial planner may also offer support for matters such as education, investments, loans, mortgages, pensions, tax and wills.

How do financial planners work?

With a view to assisting the individual or business requesting help with financial planning, financial planning will typically be carried out as follows:

  1. It will start with the financial planner asking an extensive series of questions to understand the client’s circumstances.
  2. At this point, the financial planner can explain the range of financial services they provide and answer any questions the client may have.
  3. Between the information the client has given them and any supporting evidence of their financial situation they’ve provided, the financial planner will work with the client to formulate a financial plan.
  4. Using their knowledge, the financial planner can consider other areas that could be beneficial to the client. For example, if the client was interested in investments, the financial planner could explain the potential risks and benefits to investing and offer a selection of investment opportunities. Alternatively, they may help with other financial matters such as expenses, pensions or retirement.
  5. As the financial plan comes into action, the financial planner will monitor performance, check that it’s working correctly and, if needed, implement changes. The financial planner may also suggest making alterations to the plan if the client has a change in circumstances such as getting married or having children.

What does a financial planner do for a business?

Although setting out a financial plan will often unfold in a universal way, a financial planner will be able to offer a different set of benefits and services to a business. Not only that, but a business may decide to maintain an ongoing relationship with a financial planner as a way of ensuring a stable financial roadmap.

For example, a business may hire a financial planner to:

  • Allocate budget accordingly
  • Bridge the gap between directors and investors
  • Formulate a crisis management plan
  • Increase profitability
  • Organise relevant insurance plans
  • Manage cash flow
  • Monitor business finances
  • Reach specific goals
  • Reduce unnecessary costs
  • Remove risk attached to finances
  • Set up pension plans.

Additionally, a financial planner could work with a business to provide expert advice on daily processes and offer support on any future endeavours that require financial expertise.

How to study finance at home

If you’re keen to embark upon a new career in financial advice or mortgage advice, you’ll first need to study for the necessary qualification.

You could travel to a training centre for a course or look for finance education evening classes that will fit in around your working hours. However it is also possible to study finance online, either through self-paced study or through scheduled live webinars.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the type of online finance courses you can study from home and what is involved in a home study course. We’ll also give you some simple tips to help you get ready to study online.

What courses can I study at home?

All of Simply Academy’s range of online finance courses can now be studied from home as well as from our training centres in city centre locations nationwide.

This includes CeMAP (Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice) which is the benchmark FCA-approved qualification for aspiring Mortgage Advisers. Once you hold this qualification, you can also study CeRER (Certificate in Regulated Equity Release) from home, allowing you to add Equity Release advice to your portfolio of services.

You can also study the Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) qualification from home and passing this course will qualify you to work as a Financial Adviser.

And our AdviserSkills course complements all of the above courses, helping you to develop the soft skills that you will need for a successful career in Financial Services.

What is involved in home study?

Our Live Webinar courses combine the structure of traditional classroom study with the freedom to study from your chosen location. Our experienced tutors deliver the course through scheduled webinars, and our small class sizes mean that you can easily interact with both your tutor and fellow students.

The webinars are all recorded so you can rewatch them at any time to catch up on any sections you may have missed or to consolidate your learning. You’ll also receive high quality course materials which make learning simple and provide a great point of reference when you want to revisit the course.

You can study CeMAP, CeRER, DipFA and AdviserSkills via Live Webinar.

On the other hand, if you want CeMAP training that allows you to study at your own pace and at times that suit you, our self-paced e-learning course is ideal. You’ll receive 12 months’ online access to the same high quality course materials that our classroom and webinar students use. Our online study portal is iPad and tablet-friendly which means that you can study wherever and whenever you choose.

You’ll be assigned your own personal tutor to help guide you through your studies, as well as access to our online helpdesk where our experienced tutors are ready to answer your queries. And online FAQs and a mock exam will help you prepare to take your CeMAP exams.

How to study at home

Once you’ve booked your home study finance course, you may be feeling a little apprehensive about starting your studies. Here are a few tips to help you get ready to study at home.

Establish a study area

It can be hard to set aside a dedicated space for your studies, but you are likely to be more productive if you’re sitting at a desk or table rather than trying to study from your bed or sofa.

Before you start a study session, clear your study space and make sure that you have everything that you will need close at hand. This may include your laptop and charger, course materials, stationery and a drink.

Plan your study time

It’s all too easy to put your study off until another day, especially if you’re tired at the end of the working day. So it’s really important to schedule your study sessions if you want to make your home study a success.

Set a realistic schedule for when you will be able to study and then try to make sure that you stick to it. If you really don’t feel like studying, try committing to just doing 30 minutes or so. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll probably find that you’re able to complete your scheduled session.

Give yourself rewards

As well as planning study sessions, it’s also a good idea to plan small rewards for when you complete blocks of study. This doesn’t need to be anything big, but it can really help to keep your motivation levels up.

And try to keep in mind why you are doing this course. Reminding yourself of your ultimate goal will help to drive you towards the finish line.

Ask for support when you need it

It’s really important to ask for support if you run into difficulties or don’t understand something on your course.

Every Simply Academy student has access to their own personal tutor as well as the experienced and friendly staff on our helpdesk. They are all ready to answer your queries and help you on your way to achieving your qualification.

If you have any queries on how to study finance at home, choosing from our range of online finance courses or the best study option for you, you can email us or call Freephone 0808 208 0002.

What is the role of an insurance broker?

In the financial services industry, there are many different career routes to choose from. If you’re looking for more information on the role of an insurance broker, we can help. In this blog, we explain exactly what they do and look at different variants of this profession.

What exactly does an insurance broker do?

An insurance broker acts as the middleman between clients and insurance providers. Using extensive knowledge of each insurance company, the benefits they offer and the policies they provide, they can help clients to find the best option for them.

Although the role of insurance broker is based around the sole aim of finding suitable insurance packages for individuals and companies, there are other tasks that they are required to carry out too. These include:

  • advising clients on how they can become eligible for certain insurance packages
  • building an understanding of a client’s wants and needs
  • carry out administrative tasks
  • conducting extensive research into insurers and their packages
  • helping clients make insurance claims
  • identifying key opportunities for offering different types of advice and adding policies onto existing insurance packages
  • maintaining an understanding of current insurance standards
  • offering expert to clients
  • working alongside other professionals on the behalf of clients.

As there are different types of insurance, some insurance brokers may choose to specialise in certain areas while others may provide knowledgeable, expert guidance on a range of products such as life, car, pet or travel insurance and much more. Below, we’ve outlined some of the roles of an insurance broker to explain exactly what they mean and how they differ:

What is a commercial insurance broker?

For businesses, insurance brokers can offer two services: retail insurance brokerage and commercial insurance brokerage. While retail insurance brokerage offers the necessary coverage for a retail business such as general liability and commercial property insurance, commercial insurance – also known as wholesale insurance – applies to businesses that need coverage that applies to their entire franchise. For example, if a company had multiple potential risks to employees, the insurance would be broken down to cover every member of staff but within an overarching package from a single insurance provider.

What is an independent insurance broker?

In some cases, an insurance broker could work on behalf of a specific company, bank or building society or hold relationships with certain insurance providers. However, an independent insurance broker isn’t tied to any company or insurance provider. Not only does this mean that they’re able to act in an unbiased way, but it also gives them the opportunity to choose from a wider range of insurers.

What is a car insurance broker?

A car insurance broker can offer suitable options to clients looking for the right car insurance deals for them. Sometimes confused with a car insurance agent, the key difference between the two is that a car insurance agent will work on behalf of a car insurance company whereas a car insurance broker will be independent and look to find a package that suits the client based on a wide range of options on the market.

What is a health insurance broker?

Just as a car insurance broker helps clients to find a car insurance provider and package that is right for them, a health insurance broker does the same but with life insurance. Health insurance brokers often help individuals with finding life insurance and other forms of health insurance, but they may also help companies identify similar types of insurance for business reasons. As with many forms of insurance brokers, health insurance brokers work independently and offer options from a selection of insurance providers.

What does a paraplanner do?

The financial services industry offers a selection of different career roles, but while you may be aware of what a financial advisor does, the role of a paraplanner may not be quite as clear. In this blog, we explain exactly what the job entails, look at the different types of paraplanner roles and how you could kickstart your career in paraplanning.

What is a paraplanner?

A paraplanner is responsible for carrying out a lot of the background work required for clients who want help with financial planning. Often operating alongside a financial planner and a financial administrator, the paraplanner will create, implement and review a client’s financial plan. They will also carry out other tasks including conducting thorough research, facilitating compliance checks, creating suitability reports and answering any technical queries put forward by the client.

What a paraplanner does

What a paraplanner does will depend on exactly what area they work in. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the different types of paraplanners and the jobs they do:

What is an insurance paraplanner?

With expertise and experience in the insurance industry, an insurance paraplanner specialises in helping clients that require insight and guidance on picking an insurance provider and a package that is suitable for them.

They have a deep understanding of the different policies available, and with this information, can offer the best possible options to clients. Within this role, the paraplanner can help clients with a range of different types of insurance based on their own knowledge and experience. The types of insurance they may be able to help a client with include life, home, car and business.

What is a mortgage paraplanner?

With an emphasis on mortgages and the types of insurance that relate to buying a home, such as life, house and contents insurance, a mortgage paraplanner helps clients pick the best options when choosing a mortgage provider.

Mortgage paraplanners can guide clients by providing the information they need in order to choose the right mortgage provider and package for them. They also keep in close communication with lenders, maintain client records, adhere to compliance regulations, update clients with progress of their applications, produce reports on potential mortgage and life insurance packages to choose from and other technical duties.

Which paraplanner role is the best for career development?

For anyone considering a career in paraplanning, specialising in a certain area such as insurance or mortgages can seem like a good way of being able to kickstart a career within a specific area. However, while some paraplanners will have a stronger knowledge of certain areas, you could also choose to help clients with multiple solutions. As such, working as a paraplanner allows the opportunity to avoid being limited to any one particular area.

If you want more information on becoming a paraplanner, Simply Academy offers apprenticeships that allow you to earn the qualification and knowledge you need to become a qualified paraplanner.

How to learn a new skill

From teenagers that recently completed their GCSEs and college students to  people well into their professional adult lives, learning new skills is something that can be done at any age. It also could relate to any form of skill, whether it’s general life skills, a specific vocational or academic area you want to advance your knowledge in or a recognised qualification that can be earned through a form of further education.

Choosing to learn a new skill can benefit your personal development and boost your career opportunities by enhancing your knowledge and experience. But if you’re unsure of where to start, it may help to understand how you can approach learning new skills. In this blog, we offer tips on learning new skills, explain why it’s an important process and provide help with getting started.

How do we learn new skills?

If you want to learn new skills as part of your own personal development or to benefit your professional performance, it could help to use a few important techniques. For example, when it comes to learning a new skill, you should:

  • Explain the new information you’ve learned to someone else
  • Find and utilise effective learning styles
  • Identify a learning programme that works for you
  • Maintain an open mind to new information, approaches and subject areas
  • Research and learn from experts in the field you’re studying
  • Spend additional time improving on areas you’re struggling with
  • Step out of your comfort zone
  • Take part in hands-on learning at every opportunity
  • Test yourself in unfamiliar areas
  • Understand the reasoning behind how aspects of what you’re learning works
  • Allow for regular breaks

How long does it take to learn new skills?

The time it takes to learn a new skill is likely to be dependent on the type of skill you’re learning and your own personal learning style. For example, if you’re undertaking a course as part of an  apprenticeship, between learning the course material, taking exams and getting hands-on experience at a placement, it could realistically take several months to complete your course. Alternatively, picking up a more basic skill is likely to take significantly less time.

Interestingly, Florida State University famously carried out a study that concluded that it could take the average person 10,000 hours of practice to completely master a skill. However, skill acquisition expert Josh Kaufman claims that it shouldn’t take anywhere near 10,000 hours to learn a new skill and that, with deliberate practice, learning a new skill could take as little as 20 hours.

Why is learning new skills important?

Learning new skills carries many benefits and it speaks volumes of the person who is willing to do it. For example, if someone decides to learn a new role in a totally different industry to the one they’re currently in, potential employers are likely to see the determination and initiative they’ve taken to learn new skills while maintaining other commitments such as working in a different role or raising a family.

Along with broadening career opportunities and increasing employability, learning new skills also benefits the individual in many ways on a personal level. By learning new skills, people are able to improve their:

  • Adaptability
  • Brain chemistry
  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Connections
  • Engagement
  • Knowledge
  • Learning speed
  • Mental and physical health
  • Relevancy
  • Usefulness.

What new skills can I learn?

For anyone that is interested in learning a new skill, there is a vast array of options, both in terms of qualifications and life skills that could be learned independently. With developing technology, you can learn just about anything from the comfort of your own home. This is a concept that has become even more evident during the COVID-19pandemic, where many people have been forced to learn new skills and earn recognised qualifications online due to traditional methods of learning being unavailable.

In terms of earning a qualification through online learning and hands-on work experience, you may want to consider one of the financial services courses we offer. Through Simply Academy, you can kickstart your career in finance, become accredited with a recognised qualification, learn on the job and gain everything you need to secure employment within the financial services industry.

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