The journey of the paraplanner – from office administrator to fully qualified professional – has been fantastic to watch over the last few years.
There’s been increasing interest in the role which has now become a profession in its own right.
So, what does a paraplanner do?
Professional paraplanning started to evolve when report writing became an important part of a financial adviser’s business. When advisers worked in smaller firms, outsourcing report writing to a firm of paraplanners became a vital part of the day-to-day running of a financial services business.
However, paraplanners are capable of, and do, so much more than write reports.
Less than half of a paraplanner’s week is taken up with report writing. The rest of their time is taken up with:
- fund and provider research
- administrative tasks
- meetings with advisers
- their own training and continued professional development (CPD)
- occasionally meeting clients and other responsibilities.
When you look at what a paraplanner achieves during their working week, it is no wonder paraplanning has become a profession in its own right.
It is a job that is based on technical and highly skilled tasks for deadlines that must be achieved in time for an adviser’s meeting with clients.
Some might say the paraplanner is the adviser and that the adviser’s role is evolving into client relationship management. This is clearly the direction that some firms are going in. The roles of paraplanner and financial adviser have become symbiotic. One cannot exist without the other.
There are even paraplanner firms recruiting advisers to work for them, instead of the other way round as it was traditionally.
However you look at it, one thing is clear: paraplanners have moved from a support function into partnership with the advisers they work with. And reflecting their growing importance, paraplanning is becoming extremely well rewarded as a profession.
What is the value of a paraplanner?
The efficiencies that a paraplanner brings to an advice firm are well documented, but their value is far greater than many are given credit for.
The most obvious measurement has always been that if cases are completed by the paraplanner, the adviser can see more people, meet more clients, and drum up new business.
We have also seen that advice firms struggle to grow when the paraplanning process either does not exist or is not working well. There are several factors that influence the success of a business, but administration and paraplanning are critical to ensuring that growth is achievable. Because no matter how good your teams are, there is only so much they can do in a working day.
Paraplanners provide not only support, but a deeper level of expertise. They are a key line of defence that protects your business from bad advice and the consequences of mis-selling. That’s why so many firms have become more reliant on them.