Paraplanners key post-RDR, but recruiting is a ‘nightmare’

Paraplanners hold the key to bridging the ‘advice gap’ created by the Retail Distribution Review, but recruiting them in the current climate is “an absolute nightmare”, according to one IFA.

In an interview with FTAdviser, to be published later today (26 July), Caroline Anstee, managing director of Kettering-based Anstee & Co Ltd, dismissed the idea that the Money Advice Service can provide a solution for disenfranchised consumers, arguing people need face-to-face advice.

However, Ms Anstee said that while paraplanners can work with lower value clients to deliver a service there is not enough new blood coming in, as there is a lack of incentive to work within the financial services industry at the moment.

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She said: “I don’t like bringing in lower levels like the internet because people want people and that’s why we need more good people in the industry and make it more attractive and bring them in as paraplanners.

“Trying to recruit a paraplanner is an absolute nightmare – you try and find good paraplanners – there is no incentive to come in. But unless we bring those paraplanners in we won’t have good advisers for the future either.

“Paraplanners can work with lower value clients as you can have different levels in the firm and not everybody has to see the adviser. You can take it to a certain level with the knowledge that you’ve got.”

“When we launched I brought in a graduate from university and I am paying for his exams. He is doing his administration exams at the moment and then he will move onto become a paraplanner. I fully support that and think there should be more incentives for people to come into the industry.”

Ms Anstee also hit out at those advisers that have stated they will only deal with wealthier clients as they deem lower-value clients not to be economically viable, expressing “concern” over the consequences for advice provision among mainstream consumers.

Earlier in the week, FTAdviser revealed 31 per cent of advisers set a floor level of £100,000 of investible assets, a level often cited as a key threshold over which clients become viable. The data from adviser review website revealed that 46 per cent will deal with any level of wealth.

Ms Anstee is in the latter bracket.

She said: “I don’t put any criteria over who I see because I like to try and help everybody, but there is a certain amount of people that just will not get good advice as the banks have stopped.

“It really annoys me when advisers put limits and say I only see people who have £100,000 to invest because actually everybody has needs. It’s a concern.”

The full interview with Ms Anstee will be published later today.