Your critical friend

With an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 paraplanners in the UK, there is insufficient supply to meet growing demand for them, according to Ms Bendall. Given that high level of demand, there has been a suggestion of making the practice more clearly defined. There have also been calls for practitioners to be more formally regulated to reflect their pivotal role in the advisory process.

Vehemently opposing these suggestions, James Eden, business development manager at Herefordshire-based paraplanning firm The Timebank, claimed that more regulation would be bad news for the practice.

“I would question whether the prospect of regulating the role would put off, or even force out, certain individuals who are in paraplanning as they do not want to hold a controlled function,” he said.

“I see paraplanning as a collegiate task rather than a specific role. Whether this is data harvest, data cleansing, analysis, research or report writing, the additional regulatory burden caused by regulating this would be unnecessary.”

Whatever the future holds, as the industry braces itself for more changes in legislation and policy, the value of paraplanners cannot be understated.

And with the proliferation of training workshops and seminars specifically for paraplanners, the growth of paraplanning is showing no signs of slowing down.

Myron Jobson is features writer at Financial Adviser

■ The IFP launched a certificate of financial planning in 2010, while the CII launched their equivalent the year after. Both are QCF level four qualifications.

■ Those who achieve the IFP’s qualification can then call themselves accredited paraplanners, whereas those who attain the CII qualification can append it to their names