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  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at a computer screen.

    Paraplanners mainly do desk-based research. Good IT skills and attention to detail are needed.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at a computer screen.  There is a graph on the screen.

    Paraplanners carry out research on financial products, on behalf of independent financial advisers.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, reading a magazine.

    Information on investments also comes from journals and brochures.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at a computer screen.

    Doing research on a range of financial products from different companies, to find the ones that best suit their clients' needs.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at a computer screen. He is on the phone.

    On the phone to a client. Paraplanners can organise meetings and answer questions but don't give advice to clients.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at a woman who is standing next to him.  She is looking at a printed document on the desk.

    Discussing the suitability of a financial product with a colleague. Paraplanners need teamwork skills.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, writing on a printed document.

    Checking a report before passing it to the financial adviser.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, looking at a folder that a man standing next to her is holding.

    Checking some information that a client has queried with a colleague.

  • Paraplanner

Paraplanner

Introduction

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

Work Activities

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:

  • pensions
  • life assurance and income protection policies
  • mortgages
  • savings
  • investments

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

Pay

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

Entry routes

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 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Training

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.

Work Experience

Previous experience within a financial environment will be really useful for this career.

Progression

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.

Qualifications

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.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

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.

Entry

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.

Access courses

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.

Distance learning

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).

Statistics

  • 4% of people in occupations such as paraplanner work part-time.
  • 11% have flexible hours.
  • 4% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Recruit.co.uk

Publisher: Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)

Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ

Tel: 0845 2573772

Email: directions@financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Website: www.directions.org.uk/careers

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)

Skills for the financial, finance and accountancy sectors

Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ

Tel: 0845 2573772

Email: info@financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Website: www.financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Open University (OU)

Tel: 0845 3006090

Website: www.open.ac.uk

London Institute of Banking and Finance

Address: 8th Floor, Peninsular House, 36 Monument Street, London EC3R 8LJ

Tel: 020 7444 7111

Email: customerservices@ifslearning.ac.uk

Website: www.ifslearning.ac.uk

Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

Address: 42-48 High Road, South Woodford, London E18 2JP

Tel: 020 8989 8464

Email: customer.serv@cii.co.uk

Website: www.cii.co.uk

Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment

Address: Whitefriars Centre, Lewins Mead, Bristol BS1 2NT

Tel: 0117 9452470

Email: enquiries@financialplanning.org.uk

Website: www.financialplanning.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

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