What is Para-planning? Your Complete Guide
People who work in para-planning are called para-planners and are the administrative backbone of many larger financial planning companies. Often para-planners are junior staff members of a financial planning group who work closely with financial planners.
Para-planners are responsible for the relevant administrative duties to ensure the financial planners can dedicate enough time to the clients themselves.
Para-planner responsibilities can include:
Para-planners generally have minimal client contact, unless asked to sit in on client meetings to take notes and to recognise and follow-up on any necessary paperwork that may be missing. But don’t be mistaken! Para-planners are not administration assistants.
This role offers junior staff members to build and improve their hard finance skills, without the pressure of directly handling clients. Meanwhile, financial planners may then focus on their clients and ensure customer and company satisfaction.
It is quite often a mutually beneficial working relationship between the para-planner and financial planner. Many people who study finance happily take on the role of a para-planner, because it allows them to network within the financial services industry, improving their possibility of landing a full-time financial planning role down the road.
The average annual salary for a para-planner in Australia is $58,724.
Para-planner salaries tend to increase as they gain years of experience, with the average annual salary of a para-planner in their mid-careers (5-9 years experience) being $67,159.
The financial investment industry is projected to be very stable in the coming years, with approximately 84% of its workers receiving full-time work. This bodes well for any prospective financial para-planners or financial planners out there!
This industry also has employment longevity, with 60% of its workforce falling between the ages of 25-54. Hence, if you’re looking to up-skill or change careers completely, this industry may be one to research!
Types of Para-planning
In-house para-planning means that companies hire and form their own private para-planning team who work solely for the company and its clients. This method can be beneficial for larger companies as the risk of leaked sensitive information is minimised. Furthermore, the company is continuously aware of employee work ethic and integrity.
This form of para-planning can also be more beneficial for the para-planner as they have the opportunity to create a strong foothold within the same company and professionally progress.
However, the in-house method can also have its downfalls. Competition between para-planners to gain a permanent role in the company’s financial planning team may cause tension and an unpleasant work environment.
Outsourced para-planning is when a firm chooses to hire experienced para-planners for specific projects or portfolios. These para-planners are considered contract workers and are hired based on their technical knowledge.
This method is particularly popular for smaller firms who can not afford permanent para-planners or firms who wish to grow their business.
Although outsourcing has its benefits, it’s important to remember that contract workers can often be juggling numerous para-planner jobs at one time. Hence, time management issues can occur.
How Do I Become a Para-planner?
Many para-planners are Bachelor’s Degree graduates who are looking to enter the financial planning industry. For this reason, most para-planning positions are considered entry-level finance jobs; however, many choose to make para-planning their career! Senior paraplanners often hold managerial roles and earn more for their para-planning services.
Diploma in Financial Planning
A Diploma in Financial Planning is a great way to get your foot in the para-planning door! What’s even better is that most Diploma options only take 12 months of full-time study (24 months if you choose to do it part-time)! Furthermore, there are rarely any entry-requirements to start this course.
This education pathway is also offered online – allowing those who are working simultaneously or those who generally have a busy lifestyle, to also gain this qualification.
Bachelor’s Degree in Finance
A bachelor’s degree in finance often takes three years of full-time study to complete and will require prior education requirements to commence. This degree will help you develop skills in business data analysis, portfolio management, corporate and personal finance and much more.
Many who choose this education pathway have the intention to progress into financial planning via a graduate para-planning position!
A Bachelor’s Degree will arm you with a great skillset, but on top of that you’ll need these personality traits to really thrive in the industry.
Other courses that are very similar to the Diploma of Financial Planning is a Certificate IV of Financial Services. This course is an excellent stepping stone into the finance industry. Similar to the diploma it takes 12-months of full-time study to complete and is often completed online.
Many people who choose this option go on to be:
If you have a head for numbers, excellent organisational skills and a willingness to learn, then para-planning could be a very good career move for you! Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time, up-skilling or wanting to make a career change, para-planning is an option for you.