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Paraplanning Standard launches today

30 April 2018

Standards International has launched the Paraplanning Standard alongside the Standards International Academy, a skills and knowledge training facility for the financial planning profession.

Paraplanners who want to be assessed for the Standard can either do so as a standalone process or as part of the membership programme of the Academy.

The membership gives the paraplanner access to the Academy paraplanning programme, which is delivered online, allowing paraplanners to work on building their skills and knowledge sets at their own pace and without time out of the office.

Michelle Hoskin, managing director of Standards International, said the firm had been holding back on going live with the Paraplanner Standard in order that it could dovetail with the launch of the Academy. “They go hand-in-hand and can help take someone from trainee through to Advanced Certified level.”

She continued: “The Paraplanning Standard has changed a lot from our initials views of what it would be because I came to realise that we needed to offer much more than the assessment process. Paraplanners who just want to go through the assessment can do so but in talking to paraplanners about their roles, especially at the Professional ParaplannerTechnical Insight Seminars, there are a lot of people who would welcome the extra support the Academy will bring.

“I’ve had paraplanners come up to me and say they have been given a procedure manual to read and told they are the firm’s paraplanner and to get on with it. Two years down the line they are still unsure if what they are doing is right and how they can take their own development further.

“By defining the role of the paraplanner, the Standard addresses the needs of paraplanners who want to develop their skills and progress in their careers, and of adviser firms, who need help first in knowing what their paraplanners should be doing and second, helping their paraplanners become the best they can be.”

The Standard document sets out five levels of assessment paraplanners required in order to achieve the Standard, explaining the attributes, knowledge and skills sets required at each level:

1) Technical knowledge

2) Applied knowledge and demonstrated understanding

3) Skills, abilities and experience

4) Essential attributes

5) Principles and behaviours.

The Standard also includes 13 appendices, including various tools to help paraplanners achieve the Standard, such as an Essential and Desirable Skills Matrix™, training needs analysis, and a learning and development guide and plan.

“The Standard covers everything anyone who is paraplanning, at whatever level, needs to know about what it takes to be a paraplanner. It has a wealth of information that is really going to help trainees and paraplanners who want to define their role from trainee to Chartered/Certified and everything else in between,” Hoskin said.

Hoskin said that there would be comprehensive support to sit alongside the Academy programmes, including access to her time. Also, a video series is being developed to accompany each element of the Standard, explaining what it means and what it takes to achieve it.

She added that the Standard wasn’t just about “helping to create awesome paraplanners” but a means to help grow the professionalism of the financial services industry. “The professional paraplanner, as defined by the standard, holds one of the most important keys to success for the financial planning organisations of the future.”

Fees and funding

Membership fees for the Academy start are £17 a month for a trainee, £27 a month for the Certified programme and top out at £37 a month for the Advanced Certified programme. The assessment will have a set fee depending on the level of the applicant – £675 for paraplanners looking to Certified status under the Standard, and £775 for Advanced Certified. For non-members the costs are £675 for Certified and £775 for Advanced Certified.

“We have done our best to include as much as possible in the membership package at the lowest cost we can,” Hoskin said.

Standards International has linked with Skills Edge Training, who have been awarded the apprenticeship funding for paraplanners, to help firms who want, for example, to train up their administrators to become paraplanners. The apprenticeship funding can be accessed by a range of people and offers full (90%) and part funding, depending on where individuals are in the process.

Obtaining a copy of the Paraplanning Standard

A copy of the Paraplanning Standard can be obtained at www.standardsinternational.co.uk/certification/theparaplannerstandard/or by contacting Standards International on 01462 790894. The cost of the Paraplanning Standard documentation is £97. “This is a 67-page document, including 13 appendices with all the tools that a paraplanner needs to develop the skills to achieve the Paraplanning Standard and be awesome at their job,” Hoskin said.

Standards International is offering a free copy of the Paraplanning Standard document to one Professional Paraplanner reader. Every reader who completes the draw form, found on the Standards International website, will be put into a prize draw and one name will be pulled out to receive a free copy.

Standards International Academy – Route to certification

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Professional Paraplanner