Paraplanner job description

Andrew Fennell Andrew Fennell

Paraplanners support financial advisers in matching their clients to suitable financial products and plans, such as investments, pensions and mortgages.

They carry out research into financial products and create important documents and records to ensure their employers remain compliant with regulations.

This detailed guide includes a full paraplanner job description and everything else you need to know about paraplanners, including salaries, skills, qualifications, typical employers and more.

 

Guide contents

  • Paraplanner job description
  • How much do paraplanners earn?
  • What does a paraplanner do?
  • Requirements, skills, and qualifications
  • Who employs paraplanners?
  • Which junior jobs progress to paraplanner roles?

 

Paraplanner job description

Paraplanner |Griffiths Independent Financial Advisers

 

About Griffiths Independent Financial Advisers

Established in 1972, Griffiths Independent Financial Advisers are a well-known and respected firm specialising in the management of pensions and investments, based in the heart of Sheffield.

 

About the role

We are currently looking for an experienced paraplanner to join our existing team, providing technical research services to the team of financial advisers, and ensuring the preparation of client advice is of the highest quality and delivered efficiently; while mitigating any risks to the business and assisting the business to achieve its goals.

 

Responsibilities

  • Accurately prepare suitability reports and letters to target deadlines
  • Ensure all client work is compliant and supported with relevant paperwork
  • Undertake comparative research in preparation of client recommendations
  • Complete technical research as part of the existing arrangement review process
  • Understand clients overall financial position from IFA fact finds
  • Discuss client objectives with the relevant IFA, identifying and obtaining necessary client information to prepare the necessary suitability checks
  • Ensure all client queries are appropriately investigated and accurate responses given
  • Conduct annual reviews in line with SLA’s

 

Location & commitments

  • Permanent, full time position with some flexibility on start and finish times
  • Based at our Sheffield city centre office, with occasional travel to client sites
  • Overtime may be required during busy periods

 

Candidate requirements

  • Attained or working towards the Level 4 Paraplanning diploma
  • Strong understanding of financial products and services
  • Ability to assess suitability in line with client’s goals
  • Strong analytical skills, specifically analysing financial records and providing detailed technical commentary
  • Strong organisation skills with the ability to manage multiple caseloads at any one time

 

Contact us to apply

If you would like to join the growing team at Griffiths Independent Financial Advisers, email your CV and a brief cover letter detailing your experience to our HR Manager, Donna, at Donna@GriffithsIFA.co.uk.

 

How much do paraplanners earn?

Paraplanning is a well-paid profession with an average salary of £37,500.

 

Paraplanner salaries in the UK

  • Low: £32,5000
  • Average: £37,500
  • High: £42,500

Source: Total Jobs

 

Paraplanner salaries will vary depending on;

  • The type of the employer – e.g. does the paraplanner work for a financial advisory business, a bank, or an estate agent?
  • The level of financial qualifications – e.g. has the paraplanner achieved any significant financial paraplanning qualifications and to what level?
  • Whether employed or self-employed – e.g. is the paraplanner working directly for an external company, or are they working for a variety of clients on a self-employed basis?

For example, a senior paraplanner working for an established financial planning company with a level 4 paraplanner qualification is likely to earn a higher salary than a recent graduate with minimal paraplanning experience, working in the financial services department within a law firm.

Equally, accredited self-employed paraplanners tend to earn a higher average salary than their employed counterparts.

Remember, these are average figures taken from job advert samples, and they do not include extra benefits such as bonuses, overtime, and non-financial benefits such as healthcare.

 

What does a paraplanner do?

candidate requirements

Breaking down the job description jargon, here are the typical tasks and responsibilities that paraplanners will carry out;

  • Reviewing client information – Analysing financial information from clients to understand their financial needs and goals
  • Researching financial products – Identifying financial products in the market (savings, investments, pensions, mortgages etc.) and matching them with clients needs
  • Preparing suitability reports – Pulling together research and technical reports into a detailed suitability report for the financial adviser to review before it is forwarded to the client to suggest financial products for them.
  • Implementing recommendations – Facilitating the smooth processing of all agreed client recommendations, including making applications for financial products.
  • Data management – Preparing and maintaining detailed client files and records, while keeping to the company’s compliance and organisational standards and providing historical context to clients in relation to their ongoing financial advice.
  • Preparing annual reviews – Preparing yearly reviews to show clients an overview of their financial situation and performance of investments.
  • Compliance – Maintaining a detailed, up-to-date knowledge of all aspects of financial planning and ensuring all documentation remains compliant with the relevant legislation.
  • Client relationship management – Occasionally attending client meetings alongside the financial adviser, enhancing the client/business relationship and giving the paraplanner a better understanding of the client’s circumstances and objectives.

 

What do paraplanners need?

Paraplanners need a variety of skills, experience, knowledge, and qualifications to carry out their role effectively.

Exact requirements will depend on the specific requirements of each role, but generally this is what’s required.

 

Experience

Junior paraplanner roles will usually require the candidate to have had some experience within the financial sector, although some companies will hire candidates with no direct or relevant experience for apprenticeship or trainee roles.

Intermediate to senior paraplanner roles will usually require candidates to have several years’ experience supporting financial advisers in a relevant financial specialism, such as insurance or mortgages, alongside an accredited paraplanning qualification.

 

Paraplanner skills

Paraplanners need a combination of skills to support financial advisers to give accurate and unbiased financial advice, including:

  • Communication: Written and verbal communication with colleagues and clients
  • Customer service: Being a primary point of contact for external clients, maintaining a positive, professional, friendly, and helpful manner
  • IT: Using a variety of computer software programs which can vary depending on financial specialism and industry
  • Organisation: Juggling a variety of cases and meeting strict deadlines
  • Research and analysis: Completing extensive research and analysis of a wide range of financial plans to support the financial advisor to provide recommendations

And the more industry specific “hard skills” include:

  • Financial services knowledge: Extensive knowledge of the broad financial services industry and products such as mortgages and pensions, and market factors such as interest rates and inflation.
  • Legislation/taxation knowledge: Detailed knowledge of all key product and business areas, including taxation, regulation, legislation, and compliance.
  • Recommendations: The ability to understand clients’ financial needs and match them with suitable products accordingly.
  • Technical report writing: Creating detailed reports to assist the financial adviser to find an appropriate solution for their clients’ needs.

 

Paraplanner qualifications

Although there are no essential professional qualifications required to work under the title of paraplanner, more and more financial planning companies are looking for paraplanners who have one of the below qualifications to evidence their technical competence.

 

Paraplanning apprenticeship

A structured apprenticeship providing academic and practical paraplanning experience, leading to Cert PFS (Paraplanning) status with the Chartered Institute of Insurers.

CII Level 3 Certificate in Financial Services

Provides the fundamental knowledge and understanding of the financial services sector, including its customers, its products and practices, regulations, and legislation.

CII Level 4 Certificate in Paraplanning

Designed to develop paraplanning skills, expertise, and advanced technical knowledge in several key financial advisory areas. The qualification is suitable for both experienced paraplanners and graduates looking to enter the industry.

London Institute of Banking and Finance Level 4 Diploma in Paraplanning (DipPP)

A newly established qualification that covers the UK financial services industry in both a European and global context, UK regulation, risk, the impact of taxation, as well as providing the skills needed to produce suitability reports.

 

RQF Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning

Develops the core technical knowledge and financial planning capabilities of paraplanners, including the practical applications of knowledge and planning skills.

 

What is expected of paraplanners?

Typically, paraplanners are expected to commit to the following;

  • Full time hours Typically 35 – 40 hours per week, although some employers may offer part time hours
  • Overtime – Occasional overtime is required during busy periods or to meet deadlines
  • Location – Normally based at the employer’s office
  • Travel – as paraplanners have become increasingly involved in client meetings there may be some local travel to client sites

 

Paraplanner benefits

As paraplanners tend to work for larger companies, they will usually receive a good benefits package, including things like:

  • Bonuses – based on company/client success and individual performance
  • Pension
  • Healthcare
  • Study support – including covering the cost of exams, study materials, memberships, and study leave

 

Who employs paraplanners?

Employers

Paraplanners are usually employed by financial services business who provide financial advice to personal customers, matching them with suitable financial products like savings accounts, investments and mortgages.

Typical paraplanner employers include:

  • Financial planners
  • Banks and building societies
  • Firms of independent financial advisers (IFAs)
  • Life assurance and pensions companies
  • Accountants
  • IFA support organisations – providing administrative marketing support to smaller companies or self-employed IFAs
  • Estate agencies
  • Law firms

 

 

Which junior jobs progress to paraplanner roles?

As paraplanners are in high demand across the UK, many finance companies will employ trainee paraplanners, targeting school leavers and graduates and providing them with a structured path into an established paraplanner position. Aside from these trainee programs, there are several jobs which see employees naturally progress into paraplanner roles. These include:

 

Financial planning administrator

Junior administrative role, providing direct support to a team of paraplanners and financial advisers.

Support paraplanner

Junior paraplanner, supporting the established paraplanning team with simple cases and enquiries.

 

Which senior jobs do paraplanners progress to?

Even though paraplanning is a lucrative and desirable career choice, it can also be a springboard into more senior and higher paid positions, such as:

 

Senior paraplanner

Directing a small team of paraplanners and acting as the SME for all technical enquiries, alongside leading a variety of technical cases to support the financial planner. This is the most common next step on the career ladder for most paraplanners.

Paraplanning manager

Managing the paraplanning team, ensuring they deliver high quality, accurate and concise reports which meet client and business expectations. This is the first step into line management for a paraplanner.

Financial adviser

Financial advisers work face-to-face with clients and provide specialist advice in investments, savings, and money management. They may specialise in specific financial products, such as selling employee pension schemes to companies or offering mortgage, pension, or investment advice. To give financial advice, advisers must have attained accredited professional qualifications and follow strict financial industry rules.

 

Paraplanner job description – conclusion

Paraplanning is a highly skilled job with increasing demand and recognition across the UK. It offers significant job satisfaction; supporting clients to achieve their personal goals such as owning a home, paying school fees, taking the holiday of a lifetime, or living a comfortable retirement.

It pays above the national average salary, offers rewarding work, and several attractive career progression opportunities.