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The industry message must be: You are not alone

26 August 2019

The pressures and demands of financial planning can take their toll (sometimes in the extreme ). One way to combat that is to instil a level of professionalism, trust and technical support across the industry, says Michelle Hoskin, managing director of Standards International. 

Globally, the professional financial services sector has undergone radical change over the past decade and no country has felt the recent pain as much as Australia. According to a recent article published on the site, as many as 16 financial advisers have been reported to have taken their their own lives since January 2019, due to the pressures and stresses of the change in regulator.

The article quite rightly points out that: “There are very few industries, if any, that can compare to the advice sector for the intensity of industry scrutiny, reform, change and compliance demands.”

As a person who has personally and professionally dedicated the last 22 years of her life to helping and supporting the stability and growth of our magical profession of financial services, this news saddens me to my core.

The pressures and demands are very real, and there are no signs of them easing off any time soon.

Without sounding like a broken record, it is going to take more than small incremental changes in our thinking and behaviours to get this right, and to stop this craziness from continuing.

The design and launch of The Paraplanner Standard™ is certainly a step in the right direction. Simply put, by redefining the paraplanner role, by raising the skills and abilities of the individuals in that role, and by building the professionalism of the ‘paraplanner’ pool of resources, what will emerge is an increased number of trusted individuals.

These key people will be able to add value to the financial planning and advice process by freeing up planners’ and advisers’ time, and by releasing them from some of their technical burdens.

Of course, as if the technical burdens were not enough, there are added pressures from the increased feeling of isolation that is felt by so many planners and advisers across the world.

The solution: by creating more resource, the workload is shared and everyone benefits from a team approach to delivering the amazing service we call financial planning and advice.

Alongside Standards International, the Association of Financial Advisers in Australia (AFA: are leading the global race to pioneer and promote the professional community of paraplanners, with the adoption of The Paraplanner Standard™ as the foundation of their membership offering and as a quality mark of excellence!

After many months of talks, this partnership will fully kick off at the AFA united conference in Adelaide (28–30 August), where I shall be delivering both the plenary address and a special dedicated masterclass for paraplanners.

The journey continues and it won’t be without its challenges. Paraplanners must remember: in order to be perfectly placed to sail in and save the day (which I believe is possible), they are going to need more than a bucketful of technical qualifications under their belt.

The skills and abilities needed reach far and wide. Once both understood and unleashed into the sector as a whole, these skills and abilities will underpin the solutions needed to truly (and hopefully once and for all) set the profession on the straight and narrow, putting an end to the overwhelming pressures and marking the beginning of a new chapter.

Professional Paraplanner