Paraplanners fulfil a “unique” role within the financial services sector, Keith Richards, chief executive of the The Personal Finance Society, has claimed.
According to figures from the PFS, an estimated 3,000 of the society’s 36,000 members are paraplanners, and their importance has grown significantly over the past few years.
Mr Richards said: “The importance of paraplanning has grown significantly in the past few years and is no longer regarded purely as admin or technical support.
“Post-RDR, it has evolved into a recognised profession in its own right, and with the guidance of a practitioner panel we shall be introducing a broad range of more specialist support to aid and enhance that development.”
His comments came as the first series of dedicated paraplanning events organised by the PFS was sold out, with a waiting list of more than 40 delegates for the last of the three, in London later this month.
The new programme began with three events organised in association with Cathi Harrison, PFS board member and founder of paraplanning outsourcing firm Parasols and the expert Paraplanner Practitioner panel.
The first event took place in Bristol on 1 September, focusing specifically on paraplanning issues and best practice. The events feature guidance from the FCA and Fos, alongside detailed examinations of behavioural finance, retirement considerations, the latest technology and driving better consumer outcomes. The last event will be in London on 29 September.
“Paraplanning offers terrific career development opportunities, as there is no stereotypical mould. Every adviser and client is different. It is not surprising, therefore, that, it is such a rapidly expanding discipline and one which is highly regarded and in demand,” Mr Richards added.
Richard Allum, managing director of Oxfordshire-based The Paraplanners, said: “A paraplanner can mean so many things to so many people, as there is no definitive measure of what a paraplanner is – it could mean a report writer or an admin staff.
“There are roughly 1,500 paraplanners based on my definition of what they are, which is someone who is technically as qualified and skilled as the advisers with whom they work, someone who can analyse research, question it, build a strategic financial plan and who understands the client’s desired goals.
“While the Institute of Financial Planning was the first to do dedicated paraplanner events, followed by the Powwows, the fact the PFS is now doing these is good news. These are all different kinds of events and these all complement each other. “