Why is it so difficult to find a great Paraplanner?

A blog that explore why it's so hard to recruit paraplanners and what can be done about it, from Sian Davies Cole at Plan Works.

Anyone that has been involved in trying to recruit a Paraplanner in the last five years will know that it’s a task that is more difficult than it should be.

Part of my role is to build and manage our Paraplanning team, and recruitment on its own requires a lot of time and effort, even for someone who has considerable experience of the role itself.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why it’s so difficult and some of the wins we can take forward to try and deal with this problem.

Look after your flock

Looking after the Paraplanners you already have in your team is good for them and ultimately good for you. If you treat them well, they are unlikely to look elsewhere, and you can ultimately avoid having to try and find a replacement.

Looking after Paraplanners should look like this:

1. Working as a partnership – there should be no hierarchy whereby a Financial Planner is more important than a Paraplanner.

2. Understanding their career path – take time to talk to the team about their needs, desires and development potential. This will foster an open dialogue and reduce conflict and surprises along the way.

3. Regular 1:1 meetings – these should be as regular as the business and the Paraplanner needs them. For a less experienced Paraplanner, this will be more regular. These meetings should cover how they are coping with work, life and everything in between. It’s a chance to address trends and put together a development plan if needed.

4. Pay rises before you are asked – always be reviewing what your team are being paid, the difference between what each of them is paid and whether that reflects their experience, the value they add and the market rates.

Understand the differences

Paraplanners tend to be a different personality type to Financial Planners. This is a huge generalisation, but Paraplanners tend to be on the introverted side whereas Financial Planners tend to be on the extroverted side.

This is really important when it comes to managing a paraplanning team but also recruiting them too.

This might look like someone being more quiet or reserved in an interview, so it’s important to have a conversation about what makes them comfortable.

This extends into communication styles too – when working with a Paraplanner, it’s important to understand how they like to be communicated with and, equally, tell them your preferred style.

The role that looks different the world over

There is no universal definition of the Paraplanner role, which makes it super difficult to understand whether a potential recruit would be great for your firm.

Getting under the skin of their experience as well as technical understanding and knowledge is key.

It’s commonplace to put potential recruits through a case study and/or technical assessments, so don’t be scared to use this. Set the bar high, as the lack of great Paraplanners available has pushed salaries up, even for those that are less experienced.

Share your experience

Every great Paraplanner and Financial Planner has been mentored at some point in their career. Share your experience and knowledge with your Paraplanners and/or introduce them to people that might be able to mentor them.

Mentoring has a special place in my heart, and I started a free-to-access mentoring scheme for anyone who wants to be an awesome Paraplanner 3.5 years ago.

We currently support over 75 mentees and have over 26 experienced mentors supporting them.

Through our 1:1 private and confidential conversations with our mentees, we help them to build their confidence, experience and, ultimately, help them to achieve their professional goals.

We see a number of great individuals coming to us for support with studying for their exams, gaining experience, moving into a team manager role and moving to our profession as a career change.

Every great individual needs a great mentor. Please introduce anyone you know that wants to be an awesome Paraplanner to us at The Paraplanner Club. You and they will not regret it.

Although mentoring does not solve the problem of how to find a great Paraplanner – by supporting and empowering individuals to become awesome Paraplanners this certainly has a great chance of helping.

Download the brochure for The Paraplanner Club by clicking on the image above.

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