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Paraplanners key to recruitment and apprenticeship plans as advice firms look to grow

28 October 2019

The majority of advice firms will be looking to recruit next year with 60% specifically looking to recruit paraplanners, while around a third of firms running apprenticeships will be looking to take on paraplanner apprentices, according to a new white paper by New Model Business Academy, part of The SimplyBiz Group.

The paper, entitled Insight into the future growth of the financial advice sector, explores advisers’ intentions around succession planning, recruitment, technology, acquisition and growth, as well as qualifications and training.

It found 76% of the 300 respondents who took part are planning to take on an apprentice over the next 12-18 months. Of that number over a quarter (27%) planned to take on a paraplanner, while another 26% plan to take on a paraplanner and adviser apprentice.

Further research found that 36% of firms already had someone in the business earmarked for an apprenticeship.

Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority (90%) of respondents also said they plan to recruit more staff in the next 5-10 years. Around two thirds (60%) said they were planning to take on paraplanners, while 70% said they would be looking to bring in additional advisers.

The research also discovered a desire among advisers to improve their own credentials, with 60% stating they planned to take on further qualifications over the next year.

Richard Ardron, joint managing director, NMBA, said: “I was delighted to see that respondents were so positive and focused around both the recruitment of apprentices and additional advice and administration staff, as well as the prospect of undertaking future qualifications.”

Interestingly, the white paper also found that there were more firms with a succession plan in place that were not looking to retire in the next five to ten years (50%), compared to those planning on retiring over the next decade (42%).

Of those firms thinking about retirement, almost all plan to continue their legacy in some form. Over a third (35%) said they would pass the business on to a family member, while 31% said they would sell to another advice firm and 15% said they would bring in a new adviser.

However, there was less positivity surrounding automated advice, with an overwhelming 62% deeming it a threat to advisers.

NMBA said that while many respondents felt automated advice might initially attract new clients through the promise of lower costs and greater control, most believed the benefits of personal financial advice would become apparent.

Ardon added: “When it comes to succession planning and utilising technology to benefit an advice firm and its clients, we can clearly see that this is an area that firms are already thinking about and we will look to provide some high-quality guidance in these areas within the next few months.

“I believe that the future of the sector is very positive for both advisers and clients, and I was delighted to see that the majority of respondents to our whitepaper surveys share the same sentiment.”

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