Getting back into the game

I’ve been out of the industry for 2 and a half years. I’ve been in discussions with an IFA about doing some remote support for him; TVAS reports; suitability reports etc. We’re about to start discussing how I want to be paid; whether hourly or on a case by case basis. I have no idea what would be fair, as I don’t want to sell myself short but I don’t want to take advantage either. I had CeFA and CeMAP and R01, but haven’t done any exams since then, but was going to look to get the paraplanning qualification through LIBF.
Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.


  • The issue with case by case, or fixed fee, charging is that you need to build in enough margin to be able to cope with those tricky cases that end up taking much longer than all the others. It's also difficult to say that for a pension switching case you should always charge £250, because one IFA might want you to just write the report whilst another might want you to do full research, illustrations, report, upload to backoffice etc.

    I'd therefore suggest your starting point should be to work out how much you need per hour to make the whole venture worthwhile. Somewhere in the region of £25 to £50 per hour would be a good place to start.

    I would then approach the IFA and suggest something like "Because I don't know how long each type of case is going to take me, what I'd like to suggest is starting on an hourly rate of £XX to allow me to get a feel for how long each type of case will take. Once I've done a few cases I'll then be able to give you a fixed fee price, if that's what you prefer, that is hopefully profitable for both of us... blah blah blah"

    I hope that helps and sorry I can't be more specific but unfortunately what you charge will be very dependent on the type of work you are being asked to do and how much you want to take home.
    Jonny (paraflex)
  • That’s fantastic, thank you. 
  • Hi @Mummyto2girlz ;

    First of all, it's wonderful to hear you are getting back into it after a bit of a break. Financial services and paraplanning, in particular, offer great opportunities for women to have a fulfilling career whilst bringing up a family. 

    I would establish the level/type of support the adviser will need and the likely number of hours per week/month. If there are bits of admin you will do as well as some paraplanning and report writing, you may want to set different hourly rates for those. If you will be setting up a limited company, don't forget the corporation tax and build it into your hourly rates. 

    To provide you with some stability, you could agree on a monthly retainer - what's the minimum you need to earn each month to cover your bills etc.? The work you do each month would be set against the retainer, and you would invoice the adviser for the excess. You will need a time-tracking software to save you the hassle of keeping a spreadsheet - try Tmetric or Harvest, as both have free versions. 

    Make sure you have a contract in place and it's clear who is responsible for paying the software licences, such as FE, O&M/Selectapension. I would suggest the adviser, as it will keep your overheads low unless you want to market your services to other IFAs as well.  

    Once you have established a working pattern, definitely have a look at taking some additional exams - it will give you a great confidence boost and will enable you to charge more over time. 

    I have a similar set up at the moment so if you want to chat about it or have any questions, please let me know.
  • That’s great, thank you so much.
  • How are you getting on?  I'm thinking about dipping my toes in the water but I've been out of paraplanning for a few years.  I got my diploma in July 17 and have R04 exam in a few weeks, then planning on AF7 afterwards.

    I can't decide whether to go for an employed position or freelance - both have pros and cons but the freelance route is a risk with bills to pay.

    My biggest concern after finding IFAs who want an outsourced planner is the report writing and fund selection as I wouldn't know where to start - in the past I used in-house report templates and in-house spreadsheets for the funds as these were researched separately to the paraplanners.

    If anyone has any advice it would be great to hear from you :)
  • Andy, sounds like a spot of employment would be a good plan as you can get back in the swing, be able to create templates when you leave... A maternity cover contract would be ideal. The same firm might even give you outsourced work if they have the need and/or some other IFAs there if they move on.
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