The last fifteen years has seen the role of the Paraplanner evolve in new and remarkable ways. Paraplanners are a vital part of Financial Planning firms these professionals are ambitious, technically skilled and highly qualified- and competition to get them is tough.
With 40% of respondents in a recent Financial Planning survey saying that the role of the Paraplanner is set to grow in importance over the next few years, now’s the perfect time to take the leap and start working towards that promotion. If you’re an ambitious professional looking to do just that, it’s time to lay the groundwork and prepare for success.
Here’s how to do it.
1) Know your stuff
The first thing you should do if you want to convince the board that you need a promotion is gain a good understanding of the Financial Services industry, and the financial planning processes that make up a good deal of your role as a Paraplanner. This includes areas such as Pensions and Investment Funds, Retirement Planning, Tax and Risk Analysis. If you have an interest in a product take the exams and become a specialist in your firm.
2) Just do it
Eight out of ten employers rate attitude and a good work ethic over skillset when it comes to entering the workplace, and this holds true no matter how far up the ladder you climb. Having a good work ethic will stand you in good stead no matter where you work, as it signals that you’re enthusiastic, keen to learn and willing to do what’s best for the company. Indeed, if you want to prove that you’re the person best suited to take on the increased responsibility that comes with a promotion, getting your head down and working hard is the best thing you can do.
3) Qualifications are key
The majority of Paraplanners in the UK now-that is, 62%- possess a Level 4/ Diploma in Paraplanning. However, as a Paraplanner there’s a lot of variety out there if you’re looking to specialise, or to gain another qualification in the competitive market. For instance, you can sit the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, progress to do an Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning, and even branch out into specific niches with certain exams. Look to the Chartered Insurance Institute or the London Institute of Banking and Finance for more information and inspiration, and see which options might further your career prospects.
4) Build soft skills
Having soft skills can be just as important as having the right qualifications if you want to advance in your career: in fact, this is a view held by57% of business leaders. For Paraplanners, whose job revolves around building strong, lasting relationships with both clients and colleagues, you should work on cultivating strong communication skills, as well as the ability to work in a team and problem solve. Not only will they help you stand out in the workplace, they’ll equip you with the skills you need to manage a team, or take on more senior clients, further down the line.
5) Build a network
Everybody needs connections, so make sure you’ve invested time and energy into building yours, especially as85% of jobs are filled through networking. Whether you connect with fellow Paraplanners, or individuals within the market with whom you can debate best practice and gather advice on development ideas, being able to call on friends and connections for help when you need it will undoubtedly stand you in good stead going forward. Start with joining groups like the CISI Paraplanner Interest Group, or the Paraplanners Powwow, where you can share ideas and industry insights with like-minded people.
6) Know your endgame
Where do you want to end up? Any ambitious professional needs a solid five- or ten-year plan in place to measure yourself against, set goals and provide a roadmap of where you eventually want to end up. Decide how you want to progress, and work towards that: if you want to become a manager, invest in leadership courses to develop your skillset; if you want to eventually become an IFA, then ask to sit in on Financial Planning meetings where possible
7) Talk to IDEX Consulting
If you’re looking to take the next step in your career as a Paraplanner- or need some advice about how to do it- it’s time to talk to an expert recruitment consultant. Let’s chat: contact me, Emma Murray, to start your journey with IDEX or take a look at our blog for more insights into the world of Financial Planning.