Do Paraplanners have enough experience with Financial Plans to really support Financial Planners?

by Kimberley Malin DipPFS Cert CII (MP)

Paraplanners now often pursue certifications and educational pathways that mirror or surpass those of Financial Planners. This commitment to professional development not only enhances their skills and knowledge but, I believe, also elevates the overall standard of service within the profession. Clients benefit from working with highly competent professionals who can provide comprehensive financial advice and solutions.

Paraplanners have almost become a sounding board for Financial Planners – the Financial Planner may know what they want to achieve with the client, but then it becomes the Paraplanner’s job to make sure that this can happen and carefully analyse the case to ensure that no stone is left unturned, whilst remaining within the compliance realms set out by the FCA.

Financial Plans can only be as good as the information that the Paraplanner has been given and, ultimately, the person writing the Financial Plan. I never guess when writing a Financial Plan!

The importance of avoiding guesswork cannot be overstated. Financial planning decisions have significant implications for an individual’s financial future, and they should be based on sound analysis and evidence rather than speculation. Guessing or making assumptions without adequate information can lead to inaccurate assumptions, recommendations and potentially detrimental outcomes for the client.

Therefore, a disciplined approach to gathering, verifying, and analysing information is essential in producing high-quality financial plans that meet the client’s objectives and align with their best interests. This commitment to thoroughness and precision is a hallmark of professional financial planning practice.

Paraplanners indeed possess a unique skill set that complements that of Financial Planners. Their penchant for diving deep into the technical aspects of a case, their analytical mindset, and their ability to process large volumes of data are all invaluable qualities in the financial-planning process.

Their focus on technical details ensures that all relevant information is thoroughly examined and considered in the development of a financial plan. This attention to detail helps uncover potential opportunities and risks that may impact the client’s financial wellbeing.

Moreover, their ability to effectively communicate complex financial concepts in simple terms is a vital aspect of their role. By presenting the financial plan in a format that is accessible and understandable to the client, Paraplanners facilitate meaningful discussions and ensure that clients are well-informed and empowered to make informed decisions about their financial future.

Paraplanners are a second pair of eyes on a case. This can be beneficial from both a compliance and advice perspective. A Paraplanner can interpret the case from the Financial Planner and look at all of the elements required to make a well-rounded financial plan. The Paraplanner can work collaboratively with the Financial Planner to cover off any areas of advice that have been overlooked or need to be considered further. The relationship between the Paraplanner and Financial Planner should be of a nature where they complement each other’s inputs in the client journey, and ultimately, this will enable the production of the best and highest-quality advice for the clients.

The absolute majority of Paraplanners are very passionate about what they do and why they do it. They are more than willing to take their learning, skills and knowledge to new levels as opportunities present themselves. Lots of Paraplanners work hard to raise the profile of not only the career choice but also of the profession as a whole. They want to work ever closer with Financial Planners to ensure the client is at the centre of all advice given.

Behind every awesome Financial Planner is an equally awesome Paraplanner. 😉

So, do I think that Paraplanners have enough experience with Financial Plans to really support Financial Planner? Yes, I absolutely do ,and that experience and collaboration is only getting greater every year! We don’t tend to see many Paraplanners getting involved with Financial Plans, however, and I’m interested to know why that is and how to make that change. That’s my next challenge…..!

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