Tax year end is out of the way and so is CII/PFS exam season.
Exams are an important way of proving that you know what you know.
However, they aren’t the only way in which advisers and paraplanners should be seeking to develop themselves.
Over the last few years it’s been exciting to see a proliferation of events aiming directly at paraplanners.
One of my team at EQ Investors asked me for ‘deets’ and in the next few months we have events from the likes of:
• The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments (CISI)
• The Personal Finance Society
• Paraplanner PowWows (I’m hosting another London gathering on 22 May https://paraplannerspowwow.co.uk/events/powwow-down-south-2018/)
• Professional Paraplanner
• Not to mention the product providers who are offering support through their own events/webinars (and those I’ve clearly forgotten)!
So why should you invest your time (and in some cases money) to attend one of these events.
How does your business stand to benefit from sending paraplanners to be a part of them? What should you be looking for?
In many ways this is just as personal as your personal development plan.
Whilst many people are in a race to Chartered (far from a bad thing), it’s important to be a rounded paraplanner. Communicating the technical knowledge to clients clearly and efficiently is key.
Getting exposed to new ideas and ways of doing things is also a great benefit. Sharing is an important part of the paraplanner community and it’s how best practice will propagate through the Financial Planning profession.
Having lots of high quality events is great for our team as we can’t all go to everything. It’s important that our clients are not affected by our absence.
So how do you choose which events to go to? The key is relevance to your personal development plan in the context of the business needs.
So, look at the agenda. Let’s take a look at the CISI Paraplanner Conference on 12-13 June (http://www.cisi.org/paraconf) as an example.
I’ve enjoyed attending over the last few years, and as it has a cost associated with it (incidentally the early bird pricing has been extended to 30 April), as well as time out of the office, it needs to be justified to the business.
So, what did I pick out to my manager?
1) Interpersonal skills. Understanding how to understand other people is crucial to getting things done together. The workshop day will be great investment especially about interpreting body language and understanding what makes us tick.
2) Dealing with conflict. It’s inevitable that there will be misunderstandings in business. We spend more time with our colleagues than our significant others. There’s a session especially about this very practical subject!
3) Technical updates. There are aspects of financial advice that are specialised and not necessarily taught in exam syllabuses. We advisers working in Later Life Planning so I’m looking forward to having a STEP practitioner bring me up to date.
Attending an event and leaving the learning there is pointless.
What you learn needs to be applied and shared.
People might ask ‘how was the event’ and you might say ‘it was really good’, but this isn’t enough.
We need to be intentional and have a plan to write up notes and formally share.
This needs to be done soon after the event - whilst it’s fresh. Share, debate, apply and implement where appropriate.
Make sure that the investment doesn’t end when the event does.