Daily Newsletter Sign-up

Register for Financial Planning Today website for FREE to view more stories and get our daily newsletters. Click on 2 stories to see Registration pop up.

Georgiou: Why inhouse and out-house Paraplanning differ

Experienced Paraplanner Christina Georgiou explains why outsourced Paraplanning is not the cut-price budget option some see it as.

Being an in-house Paraplanner is such a privileged role – there’s a high demand for your skills and you can command a high salary and other benefits as a result.

I was an in-house Paraplanner for many years, even before Paraplanning was a word. I had some great roles, where I learned a tremendous amount and built up my experience. Even the not so good roles taught me a lot too.

I joined Argonaut Paraplanning, which provides outsourced Paraplanning, in July 2021. It’s been an adjustment and I had to question my preconceived biases about the quality of the work outsourced Paraplanners provide.

I found that Argonaut’s commitment to raising the standard of advice matched my own, and so, in two short years, I now find myself as co-director with Alan Gow.

What I have noticed is a perception that outsourced Paraplanning is much cheaper than in-house and this is a reason for outsourcing. However, there are significant differences.

Although Lockdown has made us all more flexible, it remains easier for in-house Paraplanners to attend client meetings and be integral to the advice process from the start.

They may also sit on Investment Committees and have compliance duties.

By contrast, many outsourced Paraplanners join the advice process part way through and there’s a wide variation in what they do. Some are report writers, some gather information, and some will do research, analysis, gap filling and help construct advice before writing the report.

I don’t believe that an advice firm should use an outsourced Paraplanner because it’s cheaper.

I believe in the right type of Paraplanner for each firm. If that’s an outsourcer, they can provide additional capacity, experience, a second pair of eyes and will complement a firm’s advice process, potentially saving time and some money too.


Christina Georgiou is a director of outsourced Paraplanning support firm Argonaut Paraplanning. She is a career Paraplanner with over 20 years’ experience.




Caroline Stuart: Top 5 Tips for Nervous Networkers

Leading Paraplanner and former President of the PFS Caroline Stuart shares her tips on networking at events for those a little apprehensive of meeting new people. A full version of this article, which has been inspired by a LinkedIn post, will appear in the Sept-Oct edition of Financial Planning Today magazine. 

September is the beginning of financial services Conference Season, but for many, the thought of going to an event, particularly alone, can be at best daunting and at worst, bring them out in a cold, terrifying sweat.

I’ve never been a natural networker and always seemed to feel like a peanut in a packet of crisps at events. I’d be the one in the corner pretending to read a hand-out or ‘checking emails’.

That was until I went to my very first Paraplanners' Assembly in 2013, which was filled with people just like me. They were also super friendly and easy to talk to. Striking up conversation with new people was still way out of my comfort zone but I forced myself to do it and I’m so glad I did.

As a result of that very first Assembly, I now have a great group of friends, peers and colleagues and I’ve gone on to do things in my career I'd never have done if not for the confidence I’ve built, starting from that very first event. So if getting out to events feels like a real challenge, here are some of my top tips I’ve learned over the years that have helped me:

  1. Get prepared – think about a few simple universal questions you could ask anyone – where are they from?, what has been their favourite session?, etc
  2. Get Involved - If there’s an app or social media chatter about the event, try and connect with people beforehand so you have a familiar face when you get there
  3.  Take a pal! – Things are always easier with some support, can you go with a colleague or peer?
  4.  Get Introduced – If it’s more comfortable, you could ask colleagues to introduce you to people to get the ball rolling.
  5.  Remember, you are not alone – Don’t forget, others may also be nervous – if there’s someone else on their own looking a bit unsure, why not buddy up with them

Failing all of those though, if you see me at an event, you can come and practice your networking skills on me – I’m always very happy to have a natter!  


Caroline Stuart APP Chartered MSCI Caroline Stuart is the founder of outsourced Paraplanning firm Sparrow Paraplanning in Melton Mowbray. She is a multi award winning Paraplanner providing Paraplanning, report writing and technical support to UK Financial Planners and advisers. She also runs Sparrow Solutions, providing training, workshops, CPD events and operational support to Financial Planning and Paraplanning businesses www.sparrowsols.co.uk




Sarah Lees: Paraplanners deserve a Big Day Out

In this guest column, Paraplanners’ Assembly Big Day Out co-host Sarah Lees looks forward to this year’s conference for Paraplanners. This article first appeared in Financial Planning Today magazine (July-Aug issue).

There’s something about the Paraplanners’ Assembly’s Big Day Out (and, before that, the national Powwow) that I’ve always found irresistible.

It might help explain why, when Sam Tonks and I welcome the 2023 Assembly to our national gathering at 10am on 14 September, it will be the seventh time I’ve taken part in the national event in a 10-year Paraplanning career.

Looking back, it would be easy to think that the unconventional staging of a financial services event in teepees on a farm was the big draw.

Yes, the teepees were great, but the Big Day Out’s post-lockdown home, FarmED, is simply stunning. Set on a hillside in the heart of the Cotswolds, the RIBA award-winning venue has given the event a new vibe: an annual retreat where you can reset, revive and thrive.

I think what makes the Big Day Out - and the Assembly more generally - so distinctive is that it’s only for Paraplanners. To quote the blurb from the website: “You’ll feel you belong at an Assembly because the Assembly belongs to you.”

Paraplanners host the day. There are Paraplanners leading each group. We make sure the breaks are long enough for people to catch up or meet for the first time. It’s never been about numbers but quality of experience (participant numbers are set at 100.)

The food matters. So do the sweets. And the ticket price is affordable for all Paraplanners.

At the heart of it all is the Assembly’s original idea - informal gatherings where Paraplanners can exchange views, learn things, fix things and share things. That’s as true today as it was 10 years ago. 

To find out more about the Big Day visit: https://paraplannersassembly.co.uk/event/the-big-day-out-2023/


Sarah Lees FPFS, STEP Affiliate, works as a senior Paraplanner at Mazars. She is the CISI Paraplanner of the Year 2021 and co-host of the Big Day Out.

Paraplanner Assembly:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Tessa Lee: Can ChatGPT replace a human planner?

Fintech entrepreneur Tessa Lee of Moneyinfo looks at why AI and the latest tech are valuable tools for Financial Planners but are no replacement for human interaction.

I wondered what ChatGPT would think about replacing a human Financial Planner so I asked it. Its response was that while it could offer insights and guidance, it cannot replace the expertise and personalised advice offered by a human.

When I said I was anxious about having enough money in retirement it suggested that I consult with a qualified Financial Planner who could provide valuable guidance, personalised advice and peace of mind.

If AI doesn’t think it can replace the human planner then why should we? 

Technology and humans possess fundamentally different abilities. Computers are good at automation. They are faster and more accurate than us.

They complete repetitive tasks without making mistakes or getting bored, but they are not emotional or empathetic.

Where computers act based on the inputs or data they receive, humans possess a very different type of intelligence. Often what people say is not what they actually feel. Humans sense emotion and vulnerability. They understand nuances of behaviour or cultural differences. They make judgements and adapt to changing circumstances. This is why computers, even the artificially intelligent ones, cannot replace a real-life Financial Planner.

Instead, technology’s role is to enhance what we do. In Financial Planning this means outsourcing tasks to technology to allow planners to focus on what clients really value; the conversations they have with their planner and the peace of mind that this brings.

Today’s clients, young or old, expects access to information and service in a digital way because this is what they get in all other aspects of their lives. In today’s world it is also critical that firms can communicate securely with their clients but in a way that is easy for them.

Every firm I speak to is looking to improve efficiency throughout their business and remove friction and cost from key processes like on-boarding and client reviews. It’s precisely these processes that technology can enhance, removing paperwork and driving greater efficiency. We call this digital relationship management and it’s changing the way Financial Planning firms do business for the better.

Imagine that a client gets a push notification through your app to update their digital fact find when their review is due, or to nudge them to review a financial plan report or accept your client agreement.

Through tailored workflow processes to perform key tasks, such as getting clients to book meetings or sending out documents, business processes can be speeded up. When tasks can be completed in minutes rather than days your business becomes more profitable.

Instead of replacing human interaction, technology frees up time for everyone to focus on more rewarding and valuable tasks. Planners can then spend more quality time talking to clients and nurturing new relationships.

Technology is far from becoming the next super-planner. In reality, it’s an ally not an enemy and it’s there to help you do business in a more efficient and profitable way. Clients will always value and want the human relationship in Financial Planning…just ask ChatGPT!


Tessa Lee is managing director of Moneyinfo, a fintech firm based in Henley in Arden, Warwickshire, specialising in client portals and mobile apps for the wealth management industry. Ms Lee has more than 20 years’ experience working in financial advice and fintech and holds several CII Financial Planning qualifications.






 Promote your vacancy to thousands of professionals on Financial Planning Jobs  
Our specialist jobs service Financial Planning Jobs can help you reach nearly 12,000 financial professionals. You can set up an Employer Profile and post your job the same day on Financial Planning Jobs (terms apply). Dozens of Financial Planning and Paraplanning firms have used our affordable service to recruit new talent.
Offer: Use code 'FPJSaver10' on checkout to save 10% on your listing. Click for details: