Paraplanners and hens teeth

As I'm sure many of you will be aware, there's a severe shortage of paraplanners in the industry at the moment. Obviously, one key benefit for us as paraplanners is the trend for rising wages and benefits (supply and demand and all that).

However, putting my team leader hat on, the downside is that finding experienced paraplanners is really tough; there just doesn't seem to be many experienced paraplanners on the market. For instance, I think we've got a good package (salary, benefits, flex working etc), but I hardly see any CVs from what I would call experienced paraplanners (diploma/chartered with 5 years plus experience).

I'd be really interested to hear from experienced paraplanners, particularly in the North West area, about why they think this is? Is it because they are happy where they are and well looked after? Are the carrots not big enough to tempt you away? Do you look for particular firms to work for? What would it take to get you to move?

@richallum - this isn't a direct recruitment drive (honest guv!), I'm just trying to get ideas from actual real live paraplanners on what we might be missing.

Jonny (paraflex)

Comments

  • benjaminfabibenjaminfabi Moderator
    edited June 2018

    What would it take to get you to move?

    Quite a lot. If you're highly qualified, experienced and happy, why would you even be looking?

    I left my last job because the business was bought by a consolidator. That's one reason: massive change in the wrong direction. Other reasons might be not feeling valued (eg getting qualifications but not getting pay rises/other benefits).

    If you want a good paraplanning team in a business like yours, the best answer is to grow your own. Employ competent graduate levels administrators, spot the talent and get them trained. Separate your paraplanning team structure into admin and paraplanning, use a case pool model for work allocation and get the advisers and the T&C regime into a mindset that forces them to think about how they can do things to save you time.

    Benjamin Fabi FPFS
    Chartered Financial Planner

    http://twitter.com/benjaminfabi 
  • It's about a lot more than money and benefits for me.

    A team that I get on with, and work well with, is very important (having experienced the opposite and been utterly miserable). As is, feeling appreciated and able to contribute (and be listened to by management) to wider things within the company (process improvements etc). And for me, personally, I have a younger daughter at home (my husband stays at home to look after her) - my office is walking distance, so I am able to get to and from work in 20 minutes regardless of weather or traffic. That is important to me, as it means I get to spend some time with her each morning and evening (it also keeps my costs down).

    So, to tempt me away, another company would have to have all of the above PLUS an exceptional pay packet. I wouldn't be willing to risk moving to a company/team that might turn out to be a bad fit, if the salary wasn't a huge increase. I know from past experience, that good interviews are no guarantee of a good working environment, so I wouldn't be willing to risk changing for only a small increase.

  • Like everyone else, we're finding it very hard to fill a vacancy. We are pretty much resigned to training up a paraplanner from scratch. This has numerous advantages but also requires a huge time commitment from me and other members of the team.

    In terms of are we missing anything, I'm not sure we are. My views are very much aligned with the others expressed here. Whilst a good package of salary and benefits is important, I couldn't work for any old company just because they offereda very high salary. The ethos of the company, the staff and the clients are all very important too.

    I think the major problem is that given the way the market is for paraplanners at the moment, we hold all the cards. If we are happy in our present role, we are in quite a powerful negotiating position to improve our situation without changing jobs. Better the devil you know etc!

  • I'm noticing a trend towards a more representative remuneration of the qualifications, skills and experience required, but also plenty of firms haven't caught up, it seems.

    Without wanting to being too controversial, could it be an issue where the salary's on offer doesn't represent the work involved to be a Paraplanner?

    There could be plenty of candidates but they're not applying because the money's not right.

  • Not necessarily. I've recently negotiated my salary up, having reviewed the salaries on offer in the local market and had an open discussion about it with my employer. Whilst I'm not looking to leave, as amarshall says paraplanners hold all of the cards at the moment, which put me in a strong position to negotiate my salary up. Now it's on a par with other salaries being offered, the other positive factors of my job mean that I'm not going to be easily swayed away from the company.

    Our company also struggles to recruit paraplanners. I was taken on board with only one exam under my belt, trained and supported to complete my diploma (now working towards chartered). We've invested in two admin team members to train them up (going really well), and we've just taken on another paraplanner who has the diploma, but their experience differs and so training is required again.

    Sadly, I just don't think that there are enough companies out there willing to train and support individuals to become paraplanners. And those that do, clearly recognise their value and are smart enough to hold onto them!

  • @Kmomia82 Do you think your company would struggle to employ paraplanners if they offered a salary that was the same as your recent pay-rise?

  • I don't know for certain what potential salary has been offered in our search for a new paraplanner but I can imagine that it would be fair.

    My personal experience tells me that the rates for an experienced, diploma-qualified paraplanner have increased significantly since I went full time as a paraplanner 7 years ago. Anecdotal evidence gives a rise of between 40% and 60%.

    I get approached about jobs all the time. The money/deal almost always looks good (usually an improvement on what I'm on). However, I'm not interested in moving as I am happy where I am.

    I don't think the money on offer is wrong. There is just a huge shortage of qualified, experienced people.

    Surely, if it was just the money that was wrong, businesses would have realised and increased advertised salaries more?

  • @arongunningham Yeah, as part of my argument was that they were offering more than I was currently on (pre-payrise). One of the recruiters was a more than a bit sh** when they contacted me to see if I would be interested in the role, and naturally I let them keep talking and give more info!

    The reality is, in our area at least, is that there are more jobs than there are paraplanners. It's not the same everywhere. Before here, I lived on the other side of the country and the opposite was true. So salaries were circa 8-10k less than here.

  • VerusVerus Member

    @Kmomia82 I agree with your observations. The demand is definitely area specific. I am struggling to find a new role close to where I live, so am looking at the outsource route.

  • Just to reactivate this thread, what would people say is a competitive and 'fair' salary/package for a Level 4 Diploma Qualified Employed Paraplanner with 2.5years experience, studying towards becoming Chartered?

  • £50-£55k in London --- decreasing as the radius increases.

    Maybe £30-35k in the North?

    In Reading, where I am, I would expect £45-50k to be offered.

    Just guessing of course.

  • @arongunningham said:
    £50-£55k in London --- decreasing as the radius increases.

    Maybe £30-35k in the North?

    In Reading, where I am, I would expect £45-50k to be offered.

    Just guessing of course.

    I'm based in South Wales and feel quite shocked looking at your quoted figures there! Interested to hear what others would say is reasonable.

  • JonaJona Member

    You can get a salary guide from these guys (split out by broad regions and different functions).
    https://www.idexconsulting.com/salary-guide-2019

  • benjaminfabibenjaminfabi Moderator
    edited August 28
    > @Rcaisley said:
    > @arongunningham said:
    > £50-£55k in London --- decreasing as the radius increases.
    >
    > Maybe £30-35k in the North?
    >
    > In Reading, where I am, I would expect £45-50k to be offered.
    >
    > Just guessing of course.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > I'm based in South Wales and feel >quite shocked looking at your quoted >figures there! Interested to hear what >others would say is reasonable.

    Aron is 'just guessing' though.
    Benjamin Fabi FPFS
    Chartered Financial Planner

    http://twitter.com/benjaminfabi 
  • edited August 28

    why don't we all guess? We're all paid so can have an educated guess.

    Why is it shocking - because it's too low or too high?

    https://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/senior-paraplanner/38658021?source=searchResults#/jobs/paraplanner-jobs-in-reading

    £40-£50k in Marlow (near Reading)

  • Hiya @Rcaisley ,

    I'm also based in South Wales and, for me, it would depend on how far along the route to Chartered you are (3 exams? 1? Just good intentions?), as well as the type of experience you have - are you comfortable with all types of investments or were there any things you didn't deal with in your previous role, have you used cashflow before etc?

    Broadly, I wouldn't expect you to be offered less than £30k, but I'd also be surprised at more than £35k. I know that one of the national companies in Cardiff offered c. £32k as a basic a couple of years back (so presumably closer to the top end of my estimate now), but it also depends a lot on what type of firm you want to work at...

    Just my thoughts, though!

  • It will obviously depend on which of the many variables (chartered, diploma, client facing, CF30, cashflow, experience etc etc) apply to an applicant or position. I don't think @arongunningham is wildly inaccurate in his guessing.

  • I spoke to a friend of mine at the weekend who's coincidentally an IFA - he's paying £50k for a diploma qualified and experienced paraplanner in Reading.

  • I've seen £70k being offered recently in London, and would say regardless of location, due to supply and demand issues any Level 4/ diploma qualified paraplanner with experience should be seeking a minimum £35k now or £30k with decent benefits package.

  • @Rebecca_Tuck said:
    Hiya @Rcaisley ,

    I'm also based in South Wales and, for me, it would depend on how far along the route to Chartered you are (3 exams? 1? Just good intentions?), as well as the type of experience you have - are you comfortable with all types of investments or were there any things you didn't deal with in your previous role, have you used cashflow before etc?

    Broadly, I wouldn't expect you to be offered less than £30k, but I'd also be surprised at more than £35k. I know that one of the national companies in Cardiff offered c. £32k as a basic a couple of years back (so presumably closer to the top end of my estimate now), but it also depends a lot on what type of firm you want to work at...

    Just my thoughts, though!

    Personally, I'm Level 4 and sitting my first AF exam in October. Looking to do PCAIM in December as well so that will give me 60 Credits (I believe) towards my Chartered Status. I currently work in a holistic role where I work 1 to 1 with an adviser so cover all areas of the advice process as well as using all common tools (SAP, FE, Voyant & Truth, Defaqto, Dynamic Planner, etc). Have DB experience also.

    Looks like I need to renegotiate my package based on the quotes above!

  • I heard of one 'paraplanner' who had R01 and was being paid £40k in London. She had an interview where I used to work and was told that there was no way she would get that (I'm diploma and was getting paid significantly less!!)

  • It's all tied into the industry still not really being able to pin down exactly what a paraplanner is. That coupled with regional differences in salary, mean salarys are infinitely variable!

  • My thoughts are as follows:

    The industry is still in the wrong linear mindset of:
    Administrator -> Paraplanner -> Adviser
    With pay rising as you go up the line.

    This is just flat out wrong and the paraplanning and adviser roles should now be a fork in the road. Either you're one or the other. Advice has become way more technical (through technology and regulation) that a lot of the old guard advisers are unable to keep themselves compliant without the use of technical paraplanners. At the same time, the strongly technical people out there in the paraplanning world are more likely the wrong type of people to be put in front of a client trying to bring in new business or maintain client relationships. I know a lot of brilliantly technical people who can provide the best financial plans/advice, but I wouldn't dream of putting them in front of prospective clients as they would probably scare them away! At the same time, I know advisers who are absolutely brilliant in front of clients, but ask them to analyse a client's pension, and their head would be all over the place!

    We're in a world now where paraplanners are probably the better people to be giving financial advice, but the advisers are the ones taking all the credit through out-dated remuneration packages and practices. I think this is slowly improving, but a long way to go.

  • That's not been my experience, to be honest.

    I have been employed in all those roles and can wholeheartedly say that managing client relationships (whilst needing to have the technical knowledge that a Paraplanner also has) is much harder than being an Paraplanner - and they are rightly remunerated to a higher level.

    If those positions were equally paid there'd be no advisers, as they'd become a Paraplanner. I'm not knocking Paraplanning, I love it, but it's far less stressful than being an adviser -- in my experience.

    Being an adviser has it perks: You're much more free to manage your own day. You don't have to be sat behind a desk from 8:30-5pm, but if i was paid the same either way, i'd stick to Paraplanning.

    Maybe being an outsourced Paraplanner is the best of both worlds - more money and freedom and no need to sit down in front of clients?!

  • I'll keep you posted on the more money bit! Income has dropped somewhat but it's early days yet!

  • Good points from @Wildcherry and @arongunningham

    I'm not sold on outsourced being the best of both worlds. As an employee of an outsourced firm you are still really an employed paraplanner, with a bit more variety perhaps. As a business owner I have freedom but I also have to win clients, manage the relationship etc, so if I am earning more (and that's not certain) then I'm working harder (and taking risk) for it.

    The bottom line is that we are in a niche, growing profession at the right time. There's an abundance of opportunity and we can all expect to earn a very good living if we are good at what we do and are working for/with the right people. As has been pointed out by others in this thread, and I would 100% agree, it is not always about the money.
    Benjamin Fabi FPFS
    Chartered Financial Planner

    http://twitter.com/benjaminfabi 
  • I see it a bit like a Cricket analogy, you have:

    Bowlers (Advisers)
    Batsmen (Paraplanners)

    You have to have a team of both or you won't succeed. To find an "all-rounder" who can do both well is incredibly rare.

Sign In or Register to comment.