During the last few years, we’ve seen an abundance of changes to the financial market whether that be an increase in mortgage rates, stock share variations or a decrease in business loans.

With this, we’ve seen the adaptation and creation of many new financial roles, with one role, in particular, that has seen an increase in demand: the paraplanner. 

In what used to be seen as more of an administrative role, or a stepping stone into financial advising, a career in paraplanning is now one that is becoming increasingly client-facing and offers great potential for career growth. 

A vital cog of any financial planning team, this blog explores the role of a paraplanner, the benefits, how it differentiates from a financial adviser and the skills needed to excel in the finance industry. 

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What is a paraplanner?

Put simply, paraplanners are essential members within any financial services team. As a paraplanner, you will work closely with financial planners and financial advisers, supporting them to provide a high-quality service to their clients.

Paraplanners work to ensure financial processes run smoothly and that information is not only readily available, but correctly presented. They are also crucial when it comes to completing essential research, undertaking financial analysis, and documenting business conversations.

Much like paralegals are the backbone of practising lawyers, paraplanners fill the same role to financial advisers.

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The benefits of becoming a paraplanner

A career in paraplanning became widely popular over the last decade, due to its creative but stable nature and many hidden advantages.

1) Career and development opportunities

Paraplanners are immersed in all things financial advice. With the need to learn everything there is about products, services and processes that filter under the financial planning umbrella, paraplanners are exposed to a wide range of knowledge, skills and experiences.

This means paraplanners become highly knowledgeable in conducting both primary and secondary industry research, keeping up to date with relevant regulatory changes and drawing up relevant financial reports. 

Paraplanners also gain an abundance of first hand experience from working closely with financial advisers and financial planners, and are often exposed to clients' financial situations, objectives and goals. 

Additionally, the evolution of the role and the fact that finances will always be a fundamental part of our day to day lives, means that the demand for those working in financial services will only continue to grow. 

2) Endless variety

With paraplanning, no two days are the same. With a combination of administrative and client-facing tasks, paraplanners work to make life easier for financial advisers, ensuring processes are not only highly efficient but cost effective. 

Paraplanners are involved in everything from overseeing due diligence and keeping up to date with regulatory changes through to completing high quality research and analysis. With lists of responsibilities and endless opportunities, you certainly won’t ever be bored. 

3) Great earning potential

Financial firms today know the benefits of having talented paraplanners working for them, and because of this, they’re happy to pay competitive salaries, and provide their teams with plenty of employee benefits.

The average paraplanner in the UK earns between £31,000 to £46,000 per annum - not bad at all. That said, however, with paraplanners taking on more technical, demanding and client-facing tasks, earning potential within this role is likely to rise in the near future.

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4) Work satisfaction and purpose

As a paraplanner, the work that you do in conjunction with a financial adviser will have a direct impact on those you are working for. Being able to offer a tailored and personalised service to your clients creates a sense of purpose and direction with the added benefit of knowing that you’re helping them on their journey to financial freedom can be really rewarding.

Additionally, knowing that you can give undivided attention to each client, based on their expressed needs and wants, offers the opportunity to build experience, form new working relationships and learn new skills.

5) A solid work-life balance

With 88% of UK employees having experienced burnout in the last two years, the demand for a career that provides good boundaries and structure for a healthy work-life balance in 2023, is non-negotiable.

So much so, Marlena Eltringham, a paraplanner at BRI Wealth Management, spoke out about what she enjoys most about her role, commenting on the fact that one of her favourite things about her job is not having to take the work home. 

Thoroughly enjoying and recommending her role as a paraplanner, Marlena opens up about the two reasons as to why she became a paraplanner, noting that she believes the financial benefits and successful work-life balance have a huge part to play in her overall happiness.

Marlena additionally states that the opportunity within the role is vast, and that you can become a financial adviser in the future if you so choose, which offers many similar benefits to the work-life balance enjoyed by paraplanners in today’s world of work. 

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How to become a paraplanner

There are a few ways in which you can become a paraplanner, however, there are no concrete qualification requirements, and firms and organisations will vary in their preferences. 

If you are, however, interested in undertaking a qualification, available through LIBF is the Diploma in Paraplanning (DipPP). This qualification covers financial services regulation and ethics, as well as paraplanning in depth, including research, analysis and writing skills. 

Additionally, many individuals apply for entry level paraplanner roles, and work their way up in said business. An essential part of the role as a paraplanner is learning on the job, so an entry-level position would be a great opportunity to learn how to write financial reports, undertake appropriate industry research and assist financial advisers and planners with both client records and meetings.  

As well as becoming industry experts, successful paraplanners are often skilled in:

Professional writing: as someone who often writes financial reports, a high standard of professional writing is vital.

Communicating clearly and confidently: paraplanners often have to communicate complex and detailed information daily in their roles, and to correctly discuss their findings and research, they must be able to communicate effectively.

Being a team player: paraplanners and financial advisers work closely together and many of their responsibilities overlap. Paraplanners must be good team players, be able to work well with others and take accountability. 

An attention to detail: dealing with numbers such as tax, salary and investment, it’s fair to say that accuracy is critical when it comes to working in finance. Close attention to detail is vital to any paraplanner in order to mitigate risks and reduce any negative impact towards clients.

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Paraplanner vs. Financial Adviser: What’s the Difference? 

While vital to each other's workload, financial advisers will spend more time with clients and will work front facing, whereas, a large volume of a paraplanners role consists of behind the scenes work. As previously mentioned though, this is slowly changing.

Furthermore, financial advisers will hold a licence, present plans for approval, and are the representatives of the project. Paraplanners, on the other hand, will gather client information for financial proposals, undertake appropriate research and present potential findings and analysis to financial advisers, with the client’s needs clearly accounted for.

However, with the fundamental parts of each role usually quite consistent across the board, it’s important to remember that responsibilities and duties can and may differ between various firms and practices.

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Looking to become a financial adviser? 

If you’re someone who prefers working directly with clients, a role as a financial adviser could be the next step in your career. 

After gaining first hand experience of what it is to work in the finance industry, it's a popular and fulfilling career progression option for many paraplanners. 

The Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) is a professional course accredited by the London Institute of Banking and Finance that will set you on the right path to become a financial adviser. Covering topics such as risk effect, rules and regulation and creating and managing financial plans, the DipFA will provide you with the critical skills and knowledge needed to excel in the finance industry. 

In what is an extremely rewarding and varied role in today’s current financial market, paraplanners, as well as financial advisers, are and will continue to be in high demand.  


Become a financial adviser and study a 100% online DipFA today. 

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