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Jobs in finance: What is a paraplanner?

16 January, 2020Juno Baker

The role of a paraplanner is rapidly changing, becoming more technical and an increasingly important part of financial services. This article looks at the role and how to embark on a career in paraplanning.

Phone and computer screen

A paraplanner is a vital part of any financial planning team. Paraplanners carry out several tasks that are necessary for developing and reviewing customers’ financial plans, including preparing client reports and recommendations for financial advisers.

Paraplanning evolved out of an administrative role. In the past, it was often a ‘steppingstone’ to becoming a financial adviser, but now it’s a career in its own right.

Where does a paraplanner work?

Usually at a financial advice company or for a financial planner, but they may work at a specialist paraplanning company or on a third-party basis.

Paraplanners support financial advisers, whose role is to manage relationships with clients. Financial advisers meet clients to determine the detail of their financial circumstances, such as:

  • expenses
  • income
  • insurance coverage
  • financial objectives
  • tax status
  • risk tolerance.

They take this information, share it with the paraplanner who will create a report with recommendations and strategies for the customer.

Paraplanners don’t need to be in face-to-face contact with advisers they work with. So they can work remotely from anywhere in the country, which makes paraplanning an ideal job for both office and home workers.

What does a paraplanner do?

Paraplanners put together thoroughly researched recommendations for customers about their financial circumstances. It’s an analytical and research-based role, which requires a skillset that is increasingly valued and recognised in the financial sector.

As well as making recommendations, paraplanners review customers’ finances on an annual basis. For example, they look at:

  • the recommendations the customer received a year previously
  • their exposure to financial risk
  • their asset allocation
  • how their financial strategy should be updated.

Paraplanners make sure the adviser is up to date with that information before meeting the customer.

Why does paraplanning matter?

Financial advisers and clients rely on paraplanners to ensure the long-term success of their businesses.

Without paraplanners, financial advisers would find it difficult to provide the best possible service to their customers.

The role of the financial adviser is also growing more complex and it’s time-consuming to prepare client recommendations. Financial advisers simply can’t  fit the research, analysis and report writing part of the service into their day and visit customers as well.

This would impact the success of financial advice companies and, more seriously, could affect the quality of advice given to customers.

What do you need to become a paraplanner?

If you're looking for a career in paraplanning you will need:

  • an interest in personal finance
  • good organisational skills
  • an ability to meet deadlines.

Many people join financial advice firms and become paraplanners that way, but it’s always a good idea to get qualified.

Is there a paraplanner qualification?

Paraplanning is becoming more technical and more important to the industry.

At The London Institute of Banking & Finance, we thought it was time create a qualification that helps paraplanners get the recognition they deserve.

We’ve spoken to lots of people in the industry – brokers, networks, professional paraplanning agencies – and looked at the latest research and consultations with the industry. We wanted to make sure the industry was getting what they told us they needed. So we’ve come up with a new, more advanced, qualification for paraplanners.

Our new Diploma in Paraplanning (DipPP) is an interactive course that you can fit around work and the rest of your life. It features video and animation to fit with individual learning styles. Tutor support is also available at a small extra cost.

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Find out about our Diploma in Paraplanning (DipPP)