Jobs in finance: what does a paraplanner do?

26 April, 2021Gordon Reid

The role of a paraplanner is rapidly changing, becoming more technical and an increasingly important part of financial services. If you’re detail focused, methodical, analytical and love research, a career in paraplanning could be for you.

Calculator and notebooksThis article covers everything you need to know about becoming a paraplanner and how to embark on a paraplanning career.

Paraplanning used to be an administrative role supporting financial advisers. But now paraplanners play a vital role in any financial planning team and paraplanning has become a career in its own right.

Where does a paraplanner work?

A paraplanner usually works within a team of financial planners or advisers at:

  • a financial advice firm
  • a wealth management company
  • a specialist paraplanning company, or
  • on a self-employed or freelance basis.

What do paraplanners do?

Paraplanners help develop and review customers’ financial plans, including preparing client reports and recommendations for financial advisers.

Report writing has become an increasingly important part of the financial planning process.

However, as a paraplanner you’re likely to find that you only spend half your time report writing. You’ll also be tasked with:

  • researching products, funds and providers
  • meeting with advisers and wealth managers
  • carrying out administrative tasks, including submitting for new business and follow-up tasks
  • completing your own training and continued professional development (CPD), and
  • occasionally meeting clients.

Why does paraplanning matter?

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

As a paraplanner, you’re providing a deeper level of knowledge and technical expertise in specific areas, such as:

  • taxation
  • legislation
  • regulation and compliance

That means you’re a key part of the process – ensuring that a financial advice company gives the sound advice and avoids the consequences of mis-selling.

By taking on so many of the non-customer facing responsibilities, you enable the adviser to see more people, meet more clients, and drum up more business.

You may also find yourself getting involved in:

  • identifying the best technology to support sourcing and business planning, and
  • helping to integrate new systems and processes.

How do you become a paraplanner?

There is no single set path to becoming a paraplanner. You may start off in an administrative role in a financial advice firm and move into paraplanning from there.

There are also graduate schemes, paraplanning academies, and even paraplanning apprenticeships. But you’re not required to hold a qualification to work as a paraplanner.

However, a qualification could give you the edge in a competitive jobs market.

Is there a paraplanning qualification?

Yes. Our Diploma in Paraplanning (DipPP) is an interactive course that you can fit around work and other commitments. And it only takes nine months to complete.

The course is delivered in a variety of formats – including videos, animated case studies mathematical exercises and knowledge quizzes – to help you learn and to suit all learning styles.

We consulted widely with the industry when we created this course, so we know it offers the learning employers want.

So, when you’ve completed DipPP you’ll have an industry recognised Level 4 qualification – giving you a solid foundation to start or advance your career in financial services.

Nicky Ayriss, a paraplanner at Ward Goodman, says, “I would definitely recommend the LIBF qualification to anyone in a paraplanner role.

“It is geared for the specific job and underpins all the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful paraplanner in the current environment.”

What’s the best thing about being a paraplanner?

“I would say being able to help our clients meet their goals by creating a plan in tandem with their adviser that is both understandable and achievable,” says Nicky.

“The adviser is the one with the concept. The paraplanner is the one who makes it possible by crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the ‘i’s.”

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Find out more about our Diploma in Paraplanning