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Dan Atkinson – 3 top tips for paraplanners in 2019

21 January 2019

Dan Atkinson, chartered financial planner and head of technical at EQ Investors, gives his top three tips for paraplanners in 2019.

1. Don’t forget the big picture, but don’t forget the detail either

Atkinson says paraplanners often get stuck into the “nitty gritty” of their job, but this can often make it easy to “miss the wood for the trees” and distract from the actual job they are doing.

He says: “The big picture is that our clients are real people with real goals and aspirations. They want to know where they stand on these, so don’t forget to connect what you do back to them.”

Equally, as the saying goes, the devil is in the detail and paraplanners need to make sure they are accurate and clients can trust that they are doing a good job.

“We need to give them comfort that we know what we are doing, but we aren’t preparing them for a Level 6 exam either. Balance is key,” he adds.

2. Stretch yourself and others

According to Atkinson, it can become all too easy for paraplanners to stay where they are and become stagnant.

“We work in a changing environments and there are big challenges ahead, especially Brexit. We need to keep learning both in exams and in our wider reading,” he says.

Atkinson advises paraplanners to not only challenge themselves but to challenge their colleagues too.

“Share ideas and encourage each other to be the best you can. Learn from others in the profession and from other professionals – a great way to do this is attending conferences and events,” he says.

3. Read more

With paraplanning a diverse, multi-skilled profession, paraplanners are expected to do some writing in their job and their audience can range from clients, advisers at the firm, peers or the file. As such, developing the skill of writing clearly and precisely is an important for paraplanners and according to Atkinson, a good writer is often an avid reader.

He says: “Reading good quality books will expose you to this type of writing. Reading can also help develop our non technical skills such as communication and time management.”

Atkinson says Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is on his re-reading list for 2019 and he highly recommends it.