So, you think you need a Paraplanner?

Sure, as do so many financial services firms. It seemed to take so long for a lot of advisers to switch on to the idea of employing a paraplanner; the loss of control and cost vs the need to relieve the pressure on Advisers who were trying to grow their business whilst meeting the demands of the FCA.

Now almost every firm I work with is looking for a paraplanner and the ever increasing demand has seen the salaries of paraplanners increase significantly. In London, Senior Paraplanners are now able to demand circa £50,000 + per annum and employing a team of paraplanners within a business is a large cost that has to be weighed up. The candidate driven market requires firms to have a fairly unique proposition to attract the candidates and without that ‘golden carrot’, how does your paraplanner vacancy stand out from everyone else’s and where is the incentive for the candidate to leave their existing company and job role? You must question, as do I, do you really need a paraplanner?

In most circumstances, you most likely do, but it is worth considering what responsibilities the paraplanner in your company will have. It is a really good idea to identify what the business needs in terms of experience, knowledge and support; you can then draw up a list of the likely jobs the new hire will be doing and from there you can discuss what transferable skills and knowledge are required. It’s also worth considering if the company has the capacity to help develop someone who isn’t currently performing the paraplanner role into a paraplanner. Vacancies that offer opportunities for development are always popular and generally result in a successful recruitment process.

I’m seeing several trends in the market currently that may be a viable option for you and your business.

More recently, I am regularly seeing the introduction of the ‘Report Writer’. Generally carried out by a senior administrator who is part qualified with enough knowledge to complete template reports around key/generic areas of financial advice. Employing a report writer can be a cost effective and efficient way of getting lots of standard reports typed and sent out. It can be seen as a step up for the administrator and if they work alongside paraplanners who take care of the more technical and complex research and report writing, they can begin to learn a lot.

Last year I saw a large amount of employers hiring life and pension administrators who have spent their career working in the ‘provider’ space. Their ability to carry out manual calculations and understand complex pension advice, as well as understand different historical schemes has proved useful since the changes in pension legislation and auto enrolment. The ‘Golden Carrot’ for the life and pension administrator is the opportunity to sit on the other side of the fence. My clients have enjoyed converting that life and pension administrator into a paraplanner, that is purely focused on pension cases and transfers.

Finally, start thinking about (if you haven’t already) 3-5 years’ time. Ok, you may need an experienced paraplanner now, but what will you need to do to retain your candidate in 3-5 years? Think about graduates who are looking to work in the financial services industry who would relish an opportunity to work for you and learn as they go. Train and develop them into a paraplanner and they will be more committed to you than the experienced hire you made from a small pool of candidates today. I’ve worked with several firms that have successfully employed math and economics graduates who have a great capacity to learn and who are ambitious to develop their career

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