new year new direction

Happy new year everyone, new here and first post, names Alan. Looking for some direction!
I did some fpc training many moons ago but the company was with were all about the hard sale which I didn't agree with (they got shutdown about 2 months after I left) This put me off the financial sector and ended up in retail for years but now really need a change and really like the idea of paraplanner (enjoyed the technical side more than the client facing side) 
So looking for some advice on training, as far as can see there is CEFap and CII, is there one that is preferred? Seem to find online CEFap training for a lot less, does this indicate a lower standard?
And second, as I will have no experience when/if I pass, is there anywhere that would offer any sort of unpaid work experience so it looks good on my CV?
thank you so much for any help


  • Hi Alan - you've come to the right place!

    Generally, the most "common" examination route used is the CII level 4 diploma   . Many employers look for the level 4 quals for Paraplanners as a minimum. You might also want to look at the Financial Planning and Advice exam with the CISI. That  gives you the Accredited Paraplanner certification, but it is likely to be better tackled once you have a few of the CII quals under your belt.

    A suggestion on your CV that you are looking towards level 6 with Chartered/Certified quals eventually is likely to go down well with a future employer.

    Not sure about the work experience - I guess it depends where you're based.

    PP's on this forum will be happy to help you out if they can answer yours Q's though. I'm sure.


  • Hi Alan,

    I would second what @JoCHague has said. Aim towards CII level 4 in the first instance with level 6 being the long term goal.

    You will find that the paraplanning community is very open and collaborative. Many of us are the only paraplanner in an organisation or work from home and it can be quite a solitary job. That's why we have the Powwows and forums like this as a place to chat to people in a similar position. I cannot speak as to whether any firms local to you might give you some work experience but if you tell us where you are based, I'm sure that  people will endeavour to help and will invite you to anything happening locally that might be relevant (a local mini Powwow would be a great thing for you to attend).

    Good luck with getting stuck into what is a challenging, interesting, fun and rewarding career!

  • Hi Alan,
    I second Jo & Andy - CII route is certainly the more "technical" route.  CFP do paraplanning certificate too though.

    On the work experience side, have you considered a stint with a product provider?  Often, larger companies, have temporary roles that could give you some fresh industry experience in a variety of settings.
  • richallumrichallum Administrator
    Alan, not sure where you are but may be able to help point you in the right direction for experience etc.  Approaching a firm to offer your time in return for some training & experience would go down very well on a CV for me.

    You may also want to look at the apprenticeship scheme for paraplanning.  It's still very low key but more firms are taking on people this way and it could be good for you.

    Paraplanner. F1, Apple, Nutella, ice cream. No trite motivational quotes. Turning a bit northern. Republican.

  • Thanks for the pointers everyone, think I will head down the CII route and try and get the certificate first then look at the work experience side. 
    I'm just outside Glasgow so guessing should be a few firms about that I can approach, who wouldn't want free work! 
    Not heard of the apprenticeship scheme, is there any website?
  • Hi Alan,
    I hope you have found a route that suits you.  I was like you and had no experience a few years ago (also worked in retail for about 10 years up to then).  I wrote to lots of IFA companies and was given a few offers of work even without experience or relevent qualifications. It was low pay, but it was the in I needed.

    I was started down the road of the IMC qualification (which when looking back was a mistake.  Needed more experience in my opinion), then moved over to the CII diploma in regulated financial planning.  I hope to find out later this month if i've passed R06.

    If you have already got a route in mind, I would suggest contacting firms immediately as you might find someone is willing to cover the cost of your studies as part of your package.  It will also make your studying much easier as you can apply your work to your study.  Helps it to stick.

    Good luck!
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