Cathi talks to Professional Adviser about the future of Paraplanning

This week Para-Sols director Cathi, has been meeting Paraplanners nationwide at a series of Purely Paraplanning events beginning in London & Bournemouth. These events have been a great chance to focus solely on the profession and give it more exposure, rather than adviser focused events. As it becomes an increasingly popular and in demand career, Cathi has been discussing her thoughts on the matter in the latest issue of Professional Adviser…


I have wracked my brains but genuinely cannot think of any other profession that is in the same boat as paraplanning. It is both relatively new (in the grand scheme of careers) and steeped in tradition (being part of the financial services industry, similar to financial advisor nyc and based elsewhere).

This puts it in a unique position – fresh enough to be in charge of its own destiny, but part of something bigger, meaning that its destiny actually needs mapping. Or does it?

If we think of other new roles that have emerged in the last 10 years – digital marketing consultants, app developers, Zumba instructors – these are all roles that have emerged or developed substantially in recent years, but don’t seem to have the structure of paraplanning.

So what does paraplanning have already?

  • Its own monthly paraplanning magazine
  • A variety of paraplanning specific awards
  • Its own forum (the shiny new Paraplanners Powwow)
  • Its own apprenticeship
  • Its own events – both national ones supported by PFS and CISI, and smaller ones supported by providers

And – 100% speculation on my part – what might it have in the future?

  • Its own industry wide standard (currently being discussed)
  • A compulsory minimum qualification (has been discussed on and off)
  • Its own qualification titles – for example, Chartered paraplanner rather than Chartered financial planner (has been raised several times)
  • An element of regulation or liability (not been discussed as far as I know, and hopefully stays that way)

I’ve had a search and Zumba instructors definitely have none of these things.

Two questions then:

1. If paraplanning has so much more infrastructure, why is it still so little known outside of the industry? (I’m sure more people on the streets have heard of our Zumba friend than a paraplanner!)

2. Do we need more “stuff” in the industry? Or is there such a thing as too much?

I would urge all paraplanners to get involved in shaping their profession and make sure their voices are heard

As paraplanners, we do not have the regulatory burden of financial planners. And given that the regulatory burden is the one thing I have heard advisers complain about more than anything, I can only conclude that is a good thing.

But is the paraplanning profession naturally developing along the lines of the financial planning profession, simply by virtue of being within the same overarching industry?

I am genuinely excited to be in an industry where we can shape its future, but are we in danger of shaping it too much, of creating unnecessary rules, structure and limitations that currently are not there?

In terms of how much is too much, I do not know the answer. But I do think it is extremely important that all those affected – that is to say, all current and potential future paraplanners – are involved in working it out.

I would urge all paraplanners to get involved in shaping their profession and make sure their voices are heard.

The Powwows organised by Richard Allum are a great place to start – and they do not even require you to leave your office!

There are also Linkedin groups to join and the aforementioned forum to voice your opinion.

Finally, I would urge paraplanners, where possible, to get along to paraplanner events, meet their peers and get involved.

The future is definitely exciting for us and we should all be part of designing its path.


Taken from the latest edition of Professional Adviser.

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