I’ve had numerous conversations with Paraplanners who are working for companies that fail to recognise a career path for them, leaving them with an overwhelming sense of ambiguity around their job role. It begs the question, should the term paraplanner be broken down into multiple role types, and should each of these role types have a competency framework associated with it based on the individual’s level of experience?
The paraplanning profession has come a long way in the past decade. What was once viewed as a supporting role within financial planning has now become integral to the process. This shift has been driven by an increased recognition of paraplanners as highly skilled specialists, with plenty of opportunity for career progression and recognition.
Technology has also played a part in revolutionising the industry as a whole, with automation and software allowing paraplanners to quickly and accurately produce complex financial plans, enabling them to become more efficient and better serve their clients. The increasing complexity of the financial planning landscape has also had a significant impact, as Paraplanners now need a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory environment, and the ability to interpret and implement changes quickly.
The profession has also largely diversified, with different specialisms emerging. Paraplanners are now increasingly sought after for their specialist knowledge and expertise in a particular area, such as tax planning or estate planning, or those that are confident in client facing meetings, leading some Financial Planning firms to seek individuals with specialist qualifications and experience to provide a higher quality of service to their clients.
Continuing professional development (CPD) has become an integral part of a paraplanners career, with firms encouraging individuals to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. In relation to this, creating a career framework for paraplanners is essential, both providing potential paraplanners a clear career path, and motivating existing paraplanners to progress within a business that has their best interests in mind. This can also help nurture a positive working environment, resulting in improved wellbeing in the workplace. Paraplanners are an invaluable asset to any financial planning organisation, and it’s important that firms recognise this and create a career framework to ensure that paraplanners are able to reach their full potential.
In the most recent episode of the Financial Planner Life podcast, we spoke with career paraplanner and CEO at E-Paraplan Connect, Michelle Wilson-Stimson, about how her outsourced paraplanning business is viewing the profession in a new light. Michelle breaks down how they have devised bespoke roles for specialist areas based around a standard adviser process, such as technical researcher, client servicing researcher, technical paraplanner, client servicing paraplanner and more.
This has been designed with the intention of catering to specific skillsets that those within their business possess, and coupled with regular reflective discussions with her team, this has not only fostered an improvement in employee satisfaction, but also helps give paraplanners an opportunity to analyse their existing skillset and identify areas within which they would like to grow and develop.
The opportunities for paraplanners are greater than ever and it’s an exciting time to be in the profession. With the right attitude and dedication, paraplanners can take their career to new heights. It’s up to financial planning firms to provide the right environment and career framework for paraplanners to reach their full potential.
Watch Michelle Wilson-Stimson’s full episode here: