Paraplanners support financial advisers and planners by researching financial products, drafting reports and keeping records. They don't generally give financial advice themselves.
Video: - Rachel: Paraplanner
Video: - Norman: Financial Planner
As a Paraplanner, you do not generally give financial advice yourself. A Financial Adviser speaks to the client, and finds out the client's needs and how much risk they want to take.
Then you and Financial Advisers discuss the types of products that need to be researched and the range of solutions that are appropriate to meet the client's needs.
Paraplanners carry out the research on financial products such as:
- life assurance and income protection policies
You search for information about financial products that match clients' needs. You might research solutions from different companies for a range of financial products. You write reports for Financial Advisers or Planners who then advise clients, providing recommendations on the most appropriate actions they could take.
Paraplanners make sure that all paperwork and procedures follow the rules and guidance set out by the regulating authority. You keep a separate file on each client, where notes of every meeting and copies of all correspondence must be kept. You must also keep a sub-set of files for each product the adviser recommends, as well as those bought by the client.
You might deal with clients by phone or email, to arrange meetings, answer basic questions and provide information. You might also go to some meetings with the Financial Adviser and the clients. You also deal with the providers of the financial products; you arrange for the clients' instructions to be carried out and make sure that policies are issued on time.
Some Paraplanners carry out regular reviews of clients' investment portfolios and arrange review meetings with clients.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Paraplanner, you'll need:
- to pay attention to detail
- good written and verbal communication skills
- to be able to analyse and compare information, some of which can be highly technical
- report-writing skills
- teamwork skills
- to be able to prioritise work and meet deadlines
- number skills
- IT skills
- to keep clear and accurate records
- to use your initiative
- customer service skills
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £26,500 - £29,000
- With experience: £32,000 - £38,500
- Senior Paraplanners earn £44,500 - £50,000
Hours of work
Paraplanners usually work 35-37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, you might need to work late or at weekends in order to meet deadlines.
Where could I work?
Employers are firms of Independent Financial Advisers, Financial Planners, Wealth Managers and some Insurance Brokers and Pension/Investment Consultants. Some Paraplanners work for paraplanning agencies that provide an outsourced service to small firms of Financial Planners and Advisers, and Sole Traders.
Opportunities for Paraplanners occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in the following places:
- local/national newspapers
- employers' websites
- Jobcentre Plus
- the Find a Job website
- job boards, such as ParaplannerJobs.co.uk and IFAonlineJobs.co.uk
Entry Routes and Training
You might start by gaining experience in a financial or insurance company as an Administrator. You can then study part-time for qualifications that will enable you to become a Paraplanner.
Some employers expect applicants to be partly or fully qualified Financial Planners.
Some entrants have a degree, often in a subject such as finance, economics or business.
A good place to start is studying for an Institute of Financial Services (IFS) level 3 diploma in financial studies. You will need to find a college that offers this subject.
A Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship is also great place to start. Take a look at our information article
Trainee Paraplanners need to sit a level 3 exam that is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority for people working with packaged financial products. Examples include the certificate in financial planning from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
Paraplanners don't generally give financial advice themselves and are therefore rarely authorised by the regulator.
The Institute of Financial Planning and the CII both offer a certificate in paraplanning at level 4.
Some Paraplanners take level 4 financial planning qualifications, such as the:
- diploma in regulated financial planning (Chartered Insurance Institute)
- diploma for financial advisers (ifs School of Finance)
- diploma in professional financial advice (SQA/Calibrand)
Many also take the level 6 certified financial planner qualification from the Institute of Financial Planning.
Previous experience within a financial environment will be really useful for this career.
Paraplanners can progress to senior paraplanning positions after gaining relevant skills and qualifications. Paraplanners with relevant approved level 4 qualifications and practical experience can become Financial Advisers or Financial Planners if they decide they would prefer a client-facing role.
Some trainee Paraplanners enter with A levels or equivalent. Others might have a degree.
For entry to a degree in financial services, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
- English and maths GCSEs at grade C/4 or above
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.
UCAS tariff points from the ifs certificate or diploma in financial studies might be accepted by some institutions in combination with other qualifications.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Some entrants have a background in other areas of financial work. This could be as a bank officer, or a customer adviser in a building society or insurance company, for example.
A Higher Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Advice might be available in your area.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (for example, Access to Business) could be the way in.
These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
The Open University offers a foundation degree in Financial Services. The University of South Wales (formerly Glamorgan) offers a part-time foundation degree in Finance (Financial Planning).
- 4% of people in occupations such as paraplanner work part-time.
- 11% have flexible hours.
- 4% of employees work on a temporary basis.
Publisher: Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 2573772
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
Skills for the financial, finance and accountancy sectors
Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 2573772
Open University (OU)
Tel: 0845 3006090
London Institute of Banking and Finance
Address: 8th Floor, Peninsular House, 36 Monument Street, London EC3R 8LJ
Tel: 020 7444 7111
Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)
Address: 42-48 High Road, South Woodford, London E18 2JP
Tel: 020 8989 8464
Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment
Address: Whitefriars Centre, Lewins Mead, Bristol BS1 2NT
Tel: 0117 9452470