Paraplanner blog

By Dan Atkinson, IFP Paraplanner of the Year 2014. 

September is an exciting month for Paraplanners. For me, the highlight is definitely the Paraplanners PowWow but we also have events from The Personal Finance Society to look forward to. For some of those reading this post it will also be a potentially nervous few weeks with the final interviews taking place for the coveted IFP Paraplanner of the Year award – and then of course the wait until the result is announced at the awards dinner in October.

Last week, the team at The Paraplanners were talking about how people – in particular, undergraduates – find out about careers in paraplanning and what the profession involves. The Paraplanners MD Richard Allum explains below:

“ We concluded that, unless they already had connections, gaining experience and insight into a paraplanning career must be quite difficult.

The last few months have been filled with ‘new’ things for me.  Winning the Paraplanner Award was certainly a highlight, but my list of ‘newy newness’ (to quote the E4 adverts) has also included: a new paraplanner in our team, a new company name and a new company owner.  I’m pretty sure you can think of some ‘new’ things that have happened to you recently too (not just pension legislation!).

I have the pleasure of working with some incredibly intelligent people. These individuals have experience, knowledge, and willingness to share ideas. They are also very competitive! 

For the fourth consecutive year, IFP conducted its Paraplanner survey, designed to provide further insight into this important role in the Financial Planning profession.

This year’s survey attracted 79 responses, which is more than we’ve had in the past. It was open to all UK based Paraplanners, not just those Paraplanners who are IFP members.

Whilst being the only Paraplanner in a firm can be immensely rewarding, it can be quite a lonely life.  There is nothing quite like bouncing ideas, sharing experiences and (let’s face it) having a right old moan with your peers. Sometimes I miss that.

So where does the lonely Paraplanner go? I decided give the IFP Paraplanner Conference a bash for the first time.

When a colleague suggested attending the IFP Paraplanner Conference three years ago, I was not sure what to expect. I ended up spending a fantastic day filled with a perfectly balanced mixture of top quality technical and personal development sessions and came back to the office full of ideas and with a renewed passion for my job.

Paraplanners might sometimes appear to be the unsung heroes of the financial planning process. But how can they achieve the recognition they deserve while making sure they have the right knowledge, skills and all-round competence to support an excellent financial planning service to clients? Read the full article in FT Adviser

I have been honoured this year to have been asked to chair the IFP annual Paraplanner Conference. This fantastic event is one of the very few occasions when Paraplanners actually get to meet, interact, talk to, experience, share thoughts, gain insight from and generally just spend time with other Paraplanners.

There’s a lot of discussion amongst our profession lately surrounding “What makes a good Paraplanner?” I rarely shy away from a good debate – especially when it involves my own job description - but if you’re looking for a definitive answer on this one, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed.

Being a good Paraplanner isn’t about the tasks you do (or don’t do).

It’s not about how many suitability reports you can produce each month, or how well you can recite this year’s tax tables. It’s about being of value to the business you work in.

I want to be valuable.

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