I am somewhat biased, but paraplanning is a great profession to be involved in – particul arly now. A large part of the role of the paraplanner is to produce excellent written documents that explain the advice that is being given. This allows the adviser to focus their time and energy on client relationships. However, this is just the start of where value can be added.
Spreading the word
Many paraplanners have developed specialisms and play a pivotal part in the planning process. Others use their knowledge and written communication skills to assist in marketing communications.
In the financial planning profession, paraplanners are now established and generally recognised as having an important part to play. However, speaking to people from other parts of the wider financial services sector, many are yet to hear about paraplanning, or indeed financial planning. This is an area that the relevant professional bodies are looking to develop.
Raising awareness of our profession, and the positive impact it can have, is key for the future. I recently had the pleasure of meeting work experience students at two Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) Get Into Finance days.
They have been taking entry-level exams as part of their studies. I helped provide an insight into the wide range of careers that are possible in financial services. Alongside representatives from the world of compliance, operational risk, and operations, I helped share my thoughts and experiences about financial planning and paraplanning.
The students I spoke to had not heard of financial planning and were really interested to explore it further. Indeed, paraplanning was extremely attractive to several who found that it combined a wide range of skills both number based and word based.
It was an honour to be able to sow the seeds of financial planning as a potential career for these young people. If people do not know about our profession, they are not going to enter it. We need to be prepared to invest in the future and take the time to share why we do what we do. The concept that we help people to achieve their desires (and work out what they are) is very attractive.
Schools and colleges are a good place to start because students are more open to considering other career options at this age. Both the Personal Finance Society and CISI have people focused on doing this, but it brings the theory to life if a practitioner can be involved. Why not speak to your professional body and see what you could do? If we don’t make the effort, how will the profession continue?
Dan Atkinson is senior technical consultant at EQ Wealth