In Focus: Profitable advice business  

'Paraplanning rewards in ways advice cannot match'

'Paraplanning rewards in ways advice cannot match'

Paraplanners are in high demand these days, but that does not mean there is a shortage of talent, says Damian Davies.

The founder of The Timebank says paraplanning is a "brilliant career" in its own right, as well as a good stepping stone for a future career in financial advice.

He tells FTAdviser In Focus why the beauty of the role is its variety, and why any efforts to standardise the role would be a mistake.

FTA: Paraplanners seem to be in high demand these days, is there a shortage of people?

DD: It’s an interesting position. Everyone wants paraplanners and firms often say they can’t find a good paraplanner to join their team, so something is askew.

I am not convinced there is a shortage, to be honest. I think that perception has arisen due to timing.

Paraplanning is a specialist role in a small profession, which is part of an industry that makes up a tiny percentage of the country’s population.  

Firms look for paraplanners when they need them. That in itself really limits the available field to any paraplanner that might happen to be looking for a job at that same moment in time.  

The fact that they can’t find a paraplanner doesn’t mean there is a shortage.

FTA: Is there such a thing as a professional paraplanner or is it just a stepping stone towards a career in advice?

DD: As a stepping stone, the paraplanning role can definitely help people who want to gain experience and get qualified and move into advice.  

It is a natural environment for learning. Also, in my experience the best ops people come from a paraplanning background, as it is a role that touches every part of an advice business.

At the same time, it is a brilliant career in its own right as it rewards in ways that roles like advice just cannot match. 

The beauty of the paraplanning role is just this variety. There was a movement a little while ago to try to standardise the role of the paraplanner, and I think that’s a mistake.

FTA: Why is paraplanning a viable career in itself?

DD: Paraplanning isn’t just a viable career, it’s a brilliant career.

It is such a varied role, you can follow whichever path suits you best. Whether that be specialist or generalist, working in an office or at home, a hardcore technician or an organised driver of business. Paraplanning does not have a rigid definition, thankfully, so you can build your own career.

Paraplanning sits as the hub of the business. There isn’t an area that a paraplanner will not be involved in, which means there is a very rich opportunity to grow and develop as part of the future of the business as a whole.