Being part of the Paraplanning Standard
24 May 2017
Christina Georgiou is a member of the Paraplanning Standard Committee set up by Standards International to oversee the principles and design of the Standard, which is due to launched in the summer. Rob Kingsbury asked Christina about her involvement and what she believes the Standard will offer paraplanners.
Rob Kingsbury: Why and how did you get involved in the Standard?
Christina Georgiou: There has been a long and ongoing debate about developing a paraplanning standard and I have always been in favour of having something that acknowledges the experience and skills that a paraplanner has over and above the academic qualifications that you can achieve.
It came to the point where people were hoping that the professional bodies would take it on and develop it but I couldn’t see how they would because they are academic bodies and if even they did take it on I couldn’t see it happening any time soon.
So, I was encouraged when Michelle Hoskin stood up and said, ‘I’ll do it and I’ll get it up and running quickly’. I like that attitude and I thought I’d go with it and see what happens.
Also, I’d spoken out about a standard so many times that I felt with the opportunity to create one sitting there, I would have been a let down and a bit of a hypocrite not to get involved. As I see it there is nothing to lose and a hell of a lot to gain.”
Rob Kingsbury: It has been suggested that to achieve the Standard people should have Level 4 as a minimum qualification. What’s your view on this?
Christina Georgiou: I’ve always felt strongly that there should not be any barriers to someone who wants to be part of the Standard. We need to encourage more people to come into paraplanning and I didn’t think setting an academic entry point was right at all.
I’m pleased to say that people are going to be able to be part of the Standard pre-diploma, as well as at Level 4 and above.
There are people who are doing paraplanning work who are seen as administrators in the firm they work for and what we want is for people to be able to progress from administrator to paraplanner as a career within a defined structure. It means people can come in from outside the industry and have a structure to work to while they are achieving the standard and taking the exams for the diploma.
And for more senior paraplanners like me, if I want to go for the advanced level of the standard then I’m going to need to be chartered or certified.
I think that is fair all round. It acknowledges how people have developed their experience and expertise and skills and having something in place that recognises that, because there is nothing out there at the moment that does.
We all do CPD and that is recorded but nothing is acknowledged formally. Which is why I’ve always been in favour of the standard.
Rob Kingsbury: How is the Standard going to be structured and what does it offer paraplanners?
Christina Georgiou: The standard is based on ISO 22222, as an underlying structure and the committee has been writing the content of the standard at the various levels, what you have to achieve in order to be signed off at each level. We’re putting the meat on the bones so to speak.
It’s not easy, as there is such a wide range of jobs being done under the term ‘paraplanning’.
What’s great about the committee is that there is a spread of people all of whom are involved in paraplanning, so in-house and outsourced paraplanners, financial advisers and business owners, all of whom want the Standard to work and are able to contribute constructively to it.
We are at the stage now where most of the work is done and we just have to finalise the last few elements.
Many people are keen to follow the academic route and want to be as or more qualified than their advisers. But for people who aren’t as academically inclined or maybe at this point in their life aren’t able to commit the time, the Standard will ensure their experience, skills and expertise in certain areas will be recognised. That is extremely important. There are so many paraplanner out there who are unsung heroes. They don’t engage on Twitter and they don’t get to seminars and this is for them, recognising what they do on a daily basis and their professionalism.
Advisers have been told what they need to do. Paraplanners are driving for professionalism themselves and I can see administrative staff doing the same.
See pages 20-21 of the June issue of Professional Paraplanner – published tomorrow – in which we provide an exclusive update on the Paraplanning Standard from Michelle Hoskin, who presented at our Technical Insight Seminar in Birmingham.
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