Far from being just a quirky format (and it is that) this is an event where content – and the ability to contribute – is what sets it apart from others. Few events have resulted in people saying to me ‘all enthused for doing more now’ or ‘genuinely interesting and learnt loads’. This is an event that has something special for the very broad church that is Paraplanning.
I met people who are at the very start of their career. Some were looking for insights about sharing the value of Paraplanning within their firms. Others still, wanted to invest in others and gain fresh perspectives from a wider audience. The sessions had something for everyone and the time for chatting (networking sounds too formal) over lunch was just as useful.
So, what were the key lessons that I came away with. Firstly, there was a great session looking at how we explain what we do to other people. Joe Craig from Quietroom helped us use the Ghostbusters theme tune as a structure for taking people from high level purpose (what problem do we solve) down into more specific tasks (how do we solve it). It’s a spectrum rather than one or the other, so we need to think about who we are talking to about where we jump in and how we move up or down it. We were challenged about how we might help people understand what it is we do (purpose).
The other sessions combined open discussion about best practice with expert input. Mike Barrett from The Lang Cat shared how platforms are making progress towards ex-post charges disclosure and we saw how 7IM plan to crack this nut. We also talked and shared different approaches to how we present the cost disclosure under MiFID II rules. Helpfully the way regulators work across Europe makes it hard for the FCA to give specific guidance.
After our campfires and pick & mix sessions we gathered back together for our guru session and The Powwow. Chris Hewitt from the FCA did a great job of explaining the new DB transfer requirements and the intentions behind them. Lots of questions answered and I think a lot of people feeling more comfortable in their approach. If we are doing Financial Planning properly (and documenting it!) then we are already doing the Appropriate Pension Transfer Analysis (APTA).
The Powwow is always a wildcard. The agenda is set by the attendees and the floor is open for all to contribute. A key concern of the community is having better recognition from our professional bodies of what we do. They want to see paraplanning recognised more explicitly as a key part of the progress that the financial planning profession is making. The conversation also included discussion about Centralised Investment Propositions (their value and risks) and how we deal with Capacity for Loss.
All in all, another great success for the team. Many Paraplanners have once again been energised and equipped. Friendships have been renewed and connections across the Paraplanning family have been strengthened. I’m looking forward to doing it again (albeit on a smaller scale) at our Powwow Down South event on 27 November.