Paraplanner Standard attracts overseas attention
20 June 2018
The Paraplanner Standard, launched on 1 May 2018 by Standards International, is receiving interest from paraplanners in countries across the globe.
“Word of the Standard has spread to places we hadn’t dreamed of,” says Michelle Hoskin, MD of Standards International. “We’ve had enquiries from an outsourced operation in India who want to put their 40 paraplanners through the Standard. We’re also talking to firms and paraplanners in Australia, South Africa and Canada.
“I’ve also been asked by the Million Dollar Roundtable organisers to attend their Top of Table group in October, which is their top 1% of advisers, to talk about the Standard and how paraplanning can help their businesses.
“It seems that the financial advice markets in countries around the world are recognising the value of paraplanning and want to have a means to benchmark themselves against excellence.”
On home turf, Hoskin is setting up meetings with recruitment consultants to talk through the paraplanner role. “Today, there are 1,892 paraplanner job vacancies being advertised in the UK. But if you go into the individual job specs you find they are not paraplanner roles at all. We need to change that, Likewise, there is a real need for advisers to know that when they advertise for a paraplanner they are going to get candidates who can match the quality, expertise and experience they need in their businesses.”
The first group of 35 applicants who registered in advance of the Paraplanner Standard going live are currently going through the first stages of the Standard.
Hoskin says, the intake process will be “slow and steady”, at around 25 candidates a month, as they are finding that while budding paraplanners want to improve themselves, that is not being reflected by support from their firms.
“We are getting people coming to us who are receiving no formal training and who receive no support from their firms with qualifications. Everything they are doing is under their own steam, paying their own way.
“It shows that there are good people out there who want to progress and be the best at what they do but they are not getting the backing they need from their firms. We are hand holding them in getting the right basic training before we will let them undertake the Standard.”
Standards International has linked with a Government funded Apprenticeship provider to enable those going through the Standard process to receive financial support for their exams and training to become assessed paraplanners.
“When a paraplanner purchases a copy of the Standard we ask them to complete a training and needs analysis. We can then see if they are ready to go through the Standard or whether they need some help in formulating a training programme for them so they are on the right foot from the outset.
“The Standard is not about ‘get them in and churn them out the back end’, it’s about making a difference to the industry. In many ways this has become much more than delivering a Standard.”
Hoskin says she has encountered some confusion about the Standard and how it works. “Some people think it’s an alternative to JO9 or to the CISI Certificate in Paraplanning. It’s not. This is not about qualifications. Qualifications don’t make an awesome paraplanner. That requires a combination of technical knowledge, experience, quality, skills and application.”
“The Standard is about helping people demonstrate they have those qualities.”
Giving Professional Paraplanner permission to use one of the Standard’s Appendices, Hoskin says the 5-step process maps out the process for achieving excellence (see below/click image to enlarge).
“You have to have a foundation of technical knowledge, which you can get from an academic awarding body. That’s level 1.
“Then you obtain applied knowledge and demonstrated understanding, which comes through third-party training. This could be the Professional Paraplanner Technical Insight Seminars, the Powwows or technical webinars, for example.
“Next you build your skills, abilities and experience, through your employee training and doing the job.
“Your essential attributes as well as your principles and behaviours are then assessed via membership of the Standard, it’s training assessment and certification. They are levels 4 and 5.
“So, this is where the Standard sits in a paraplanner’s overall progression. Paraplanners have to move up the steps in order to meet the requirement of the Paraplanning Standard.”
Further information can be found on the Paraplanner Standard at: http://standardsinternational.co.uk/certification/theparaplannerstandard/
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