What is a paraplanner?
A paraplanner is a financial planning support professional who assists financial advisers in the development and management of financial plans for clients.
Paraplanners typically have a strong background in finance and are responsible for conducting research, analysing financial products and strategies, preparing reports and recommendations, and supporting financial advisers in their practice.
Paraplanners play a crucial role in helping financial advisers across Australia provide high-quality financial planning services to their clients.
Responsibilities of a paraplanner
Researching and analysing financial products and strategies:
A paraplanner will often be responsible for gathering information about different financial products and strategies, such as investments, insurance policies, and retirement plans. They will then analyse this information to determine which options may be suitable for a particular client based on their financial goals and circumstances.
Preparation of financial plans and recommendations:
Using the information gathered through research and analysis, a paraplanner will help the financial adviser create financial plans and recommendations for clients. These plans may include detailed recommendations for investments, insurance coverage, and other financial strategies.
Writing reports and summaries:
A paraplanner may also be responsible for writing reports and summaries for financial advisers and clients. These documents may include summaries of a client’s financial situation, recommendations for financial strategies, and explanations of the reasoning behind these recommendations.
Skills and qualifications required of a paraplanner
Many paraplanners in Australia have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to finance or economics, such as accounting, business, or commerce. A higher level degree, such as a master’s degree or a PhD, may also be beneficial for paraplanners who are seeking to advance in their careers or take on more complex responsibilities.
There are several professional certifications that can be useful for paraplanners in Australia. For example, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) offers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, which is a widely recognised credential in the financial planning industry. The Association of Professional Researchers and Analysts (APRA) also offers the Accredited Financial Planner (AFP) certification, which is designed specifically for paraplanners and other financial planning support professionals.
Paraplanners should have strong technical skills, including proficiency with financial planning software and tools, as well as knowledge of relevant regulations and compliance issues. They should also be comfortable working with numbers and analysing financial data.
Strong communication and writing skills
Paraplanners need to be able to effectively communicate their recommendations and findings to financial advisers and clients, both in writing and in person. As such, strong writing and communication skills are important for paraplanners to have.
Attention to detail
Paraplanners need to be very detail-oriented, as they are responsible for gathering and analysing complex financial information and making recommendations based on this data. They should be able to pay close attention to detail and ensure that their work is accurate and thorough.
How paraplanners help financial advisors
The preparation of financial plans and recommendations, as well as the writing of reports and summaries, may be considered the creation of “statements of advice” or “records of advice” in the financial planning industry.
In Australia, a “statement of advice” (SOA) is a document that outlines the financial planning recommendations made by a financial advisor to a client. An SOA must include certain information, such as the client’s objectives and financial situation, the financial products and strategies being recommended, and the reasoning behind the recommendations. An SOA is typically provided to a client when the financial advisor is recommending a course of action that will result in a change to the client’s financial affairs, such as the recommendation to buy a particular investment product.
A “record of advice” (ROA) is similar to an SOA, but it is typically used when the financial advisor is not recommending a specific course of action that will result in a change to the client’s financial affairs. Instead, an ROA is used to document the financial advice that has been provided to the client, even if no specific recommendations are being made.
Paraplanners may be involved in the preparation of both SOAs and ROAs, depending on the specific responsibilities assigned to them within their practice. They may conduct research and analysis to gather the necessary information for the document, and may also assist in the writing and formatting of the final document.
Benefits of working with paraplanners
Improved client service and satisfaction:
By working with a paraplanner, financial advisors can provide a higher level of service to their clients. Paraplanners can handle many of the detailed tasks involved in financial planning, such as research and analysis, allowing the financial advisor to focus on more high-level tasks and spend more time with clients. This can help improve client satisfaction and strengthen the advisor-client relationship.
Greater accuracy and thoroughness:
Paraplanners are trained to handle complex financial tasks and pay close attention to detail. As a result, they can help ensure that financial plans are accurate and comprehensive and that all relevant information has been taken into consideration. This can lead to better outcomes for clients and increased confidence in the financial planning process.
Opportunities for financial advisors to focus on the bigger picture, and more high-value tasks:
By outsourcing some of the more time-consuming tasks involved in financial planning to a paraplanner, financial advisors can free up more time to focus on higher-value tasks such as building relationships with clients, developing new businesses, and providing more personalised financial advice. This can help financial advisors to be more productive and effective in their roles.
Can paraplanners help you or your business?
A paraplanner is a financial planning support professional who assists financial advisors in the development and management of financial plans for clients. Some of the specific responsibilities of a paraplanner may include conducting research and analysis on financial products and strategies, preparing financial plans and recommendations, and writing reports and summaries for financial advisors and clients.
Working with a paraplanner can help financial advisors provide a higher level of service to their clients, ensure that financial plans are accurate and comprehensive, and free up more time to focus on high-value tasks. Overall, a paraplanner plays a crucial role in helping financial advisors provide high-quality financial planning services to their clients.
If you’re interested in learning more about paraplanners and how they can help your Australian financial advisory, please contact us to get started.