Unlike registered investment advisers, many paraplanners are not authorised by the FCA to give advice and therefore do not naturally fall within CPD requirements. That does not mean to say that CPD is any less important. Having a well-thought-out training and competence plan for paraplanners, as well as advisers and planners, is a great place to start. It means identifying those areas where paraplanners need to maintain their existing competences, as well as where they need to build new competences in different areas. Once this is done, it is easier to decide what means the individual is going to use to achieve this.
Those firms using outsourced paraplanners may have an advantage in that these individuals have the responsibility to ensure that they keep their knowledge and skills up to date. Such training is therefore undertaken outside of their contracted times. Again, unlike authorised advisers who need an accredited body to provide their SPS, membership of professional bodies is optional for paraplanners. However, if they are to fully exploit the considerable advantages of being part of a growing professional community, it is an option that is likely to become more important for paraplanners too.
Sue Whitbread is communications director of the Institute of Financial Planning