Should I become a paraplanner?

6 May 2021

A paraplanner carrying out administrative tasks on behalf of a financial planner.

A career in paraplanning offers the opportunity to learn key skills, such as report writing, financial initiative and analytical ability. It also gives individuals the chance to develop their knowledge and experience of the finance industry and can be a great first rung on the financial career ladder.

If you want to find out whether a job as a paraplanner may be right for you, read on. We explain what a paraplanner is, before looking at why someone may consider a career in paraplanning. We also offer help and support on how to start a career in this role.

What is a paraplanner role?

A paraplanner is responsible for carrying out the administrative tasks that a financial professional doesn’t have the time to do. This may include advanced tasks such as compiling extensive reports, conducting research and sourcing important documents or simple duties like handling invoices.

Although the financial professional may be able to do these tasks themselves, they may be time consuming, making it difficult for them to find time while focusing on the client’s other needs. Instead, a member of the financial planning team will carry out these tasks in what’s known as paraplanning.

It will also include a range of duties to fulfil the needs of the financial professional and their client such as grasping an understanding of risk profiles and client objectives, analysing cash flow, identifying opportunities for effective recommendations such as investment strategies and asset allocation, preparing suitability letters, filling out extensive forms, leading review meetings and ensuring compliance is adhered to and all corresponding paperwork is completed.

Why do you want to be a paraplanner?

Whether you hold lifelong aspirations of moving into a higher position in the financial services industry or are considering a career change into finance but don’t know quite where to start, working as a paraplanner can offer multiple core benefits.

As previously stated, paraplanning is typically based around a specific member of the finance team and involves carrying out administrative or simply time consuming tasks that the financial planner is unable to do. Working in this role carries many benefits including giving entry-level professionals in the financial services industry the ability to learn fundamental skills first-hand.

For instance, operating as a paraplanner means gaining knowledge and experience of analytical and technical processes, such as preparing and reviewing client files and recommending impactful changes. It also allows them to keep up to date with the latest information on compliance within the finance industry and gives them the ability to shadow an experienced colleague.

Although some people work as paraplanners in order to progress into other roles, paraplanning isn’t solely designed as a stepping stone. Many people specialise in paraplanning, with the role developing in recent times to offer a more client-facing approach and the ability to grow skills without necessarily having to change roles. Not only that, but there’s a demand for paraplanners, and operating as a reliable, effective and skilled paraplanner is a valuable asset to clients and potential employers.

How to qualify to be a paraplanner

As with many roles in the financial services industry, prospective professionals aren’t required to complete a university degree and, in some cases, financial businesses may offer roles to entry-level paraplanners without any form of qualification. However, even in this scenario, they will be required to earn a qualification alongside gaining experience.

An effective way of qualifying as a professional paraplanner is through completing a course in finance. Simply Academy offers apprenticeships in financial advice that allow students to gain an industry recognised qualification while picking up first-hand experience.

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