But over recent years the role of a Paraplanner has become a career in its own right and there are now many different types of Paraplanner; be it pure report writers, client facing or technical – or indeed a mixture. In that way there is something for everyone, but it can be demanding at times.
“When is the report going to be ready so I can let the client know?” is one of my favourite questions. A simple review report where there are minimal changes can take as little as a few hours. However, more complicated reports with multiple areas of advice, cashflow planning and legacy products can take much longer. Additionally, along the way there can be some delays thrown in from third parties.
The biggest delay is usually the missing information. Product providers can be a real pain in the neck! Your administrator has sent off a letter of authority and asked a number of questions, but when the information eventually arrives back in the office a few weeks later there are gaps.
Then you or your administrator will give the product provider a “quick” telephone call to obtain the missing information, only to be told it will take another 10 to 15 working days. Some product providers are better than others, but there are an alarming number who have very slow turnaround times and are not seeking to improve them. Ultimately, this negatively impacts the clients as there is a delay to the advice given and therefore the implementation.
Increasing breadth and depth of legislation has largely been good for the industry, improving the reputation of the Financial Planning industry. However, this increased legislation also increases processes and procedures that Financial Planning businesses need to introduce. This can elongate the time it takes to produce a report for the client.
This constantly changing legislation has led to the various professional bodies continually creating new qualifications and exams to ensure Financial Planning professionals are up to speed. Whilst this is not compulsory, it is a good opportunity to learn the new rules and prove your knowledge.
Client facing Paraplanning can be a good opportunity to enhance your soft skills in preparation should you wish to go into an advice role. You may be able to present the cashflow section of the meeting to the client and change the inputs live, which makes a real difference to them.
Equally, you get to meet the clients you are writing the reports about which brings the whole advice process to life. Writing the reports can be much easier if you have actually met the client and even better if you get to ask questions that fill in the gaps on the fact find.
All the frustrations aside, Paraplanning can be an enjoyable long-term career, as well as a useful stepping stone to becoming a Financial Planner as you sweep up all the technical knowledge. I find it very interesting to sit with a financial planner and go through the client(s) circumstances and devise a holistic financial plan often with several moving parts and see the value that this adds to the clients and the difference it makes to their lives.
Chloe Moran APFS Chartered is a Senior Paraplanner at 1825 and a Chartered Financial Planner