View more on these topics

Nick Bamford: Problems with paraplanner recruitment

Recruitment is one of the most challenging jobs for a business owner. Get it right and the business is enhanced. Get it wrong and it costs.

Like many other firms, we are currently in the process of recruiting an additional paraplanner. This is an area where demand seems to be exceeding supply.

We struggle a little from the fact one of our offices is in Cranleigh, Surrey.

We have no railway station and access to the village is mainly via B roads, some of which are single passing-point roads.

There are not so many paraplanners living in Cranleigh, so we need to cast a pretty wide net. Many candidates are introduced to us by recruitment agents.

They will email brief details of their candidate with an offer to send a full CV if we might be interested in meeting them.

I am fascinated by some of the CVs that arrive with us and wonder how much help they have from the recruiter. Every single one of them comes from a “team player”. Of course, this is great news. We absolutely want people to become part of our team.

But when we meet with these candidates, they really seem to struggle to articulate just what it means.

A team player is said to be emotionally secure, service-orientated, highly teachable and able to follow systems and processes, while at the same time able to come up with new ways to get the job done.

It is almost as if they think putting it on their CV will guarantee them an interview.

Another common claim is that the candidate wants to attain a particular qualification level, for example chartered status.

This is all very well. But, when asked at interview, many do not have an exam date in the diary and some are yet to even start studying.

We would be much more impressed by this claim if the candidate could evidence a study programme with exam dates pencilled in to their calendar. Another practical tip for candidates would be that, when claiming to be “very good at writing client reports” perhaps think about bringing along a copy of one you have done in the past as evidence.

We look at people in the round, asking about their interests as well as their professional qualifications. An often-cited “interest” is reading. Our standard question here is: “What book are you currently reading? Tell me a little about it.”

It seems most interest in reading is confined to a book they read on holiday last June.

One final point. Recruitment agents seem to have cottoned on to the fact that paraplanners are often paid more than administrators.

Some of the CVs we see evidence a lot of experience of the latter and little of the former.

Do not get me wrong; good, experienced administrators are very valuable resources but this does not mean they are paraplanners. The skill sets can be very different.

Nick Bamford is executive director at Informed Choice

Recommended

Stewart-Ford-Keydata-500x320.jpg

Keydata boss loses battle to overturn £76m FCA fine

The boss of former failed investment company Keydata Stewart Ford has lost his attempt to overturn a £76m fine handed down from the FCA. Keydata became infamous for the sale of life settlement bonds, which pooled life insurance policies into a securitised investment. The Luxembourg-registered bonds ran into trouble when it was claimed their tax […]

Jason Wykes: Transfer value comparator confusion

The new calculation to be used when advising on DB transfers is riddled with dangerous uncertainties It has been over a month since advisers have had to start including a transfer value comparator when advising on a defined benefit pension transfer. In its consultation last year (CP17/16), the FCA said consumers did not understand the […]

brexit
6

FCA: Tell clients about post-Brexit changes to service

The FCA has told firms to make clients aware of changes to products and services that will come about after Brexit. Speaking at the Third UK Brexit summit, FCA international director Nausicaa Delfas said while the regulator is preparing for all the possible scenarios, they expect individual firms to do the same. Delfas (pictured) says: […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. My sentiments entirely Nick. We have experienced the same problems in Cardiff. We interviewed 5 candidates recently and none of them were suitable.

    • So what is the problem with recruiting Paraplanners ?

      Is there a lack of Candidates or a poor recruitment strategy ?

      If you are looking for a Paraplanner a few questions

      Have you appointed a recruiter?

      Have you had a phone appointment / meeting with the recruiter ?

      Have you then agreed fees ?

      or

      Has the market been mapped for you and a recruitment strategy been agreed ?

      If you are appointing recruiters on a contingent basis to find a needle in a hay stack all you will receive is the same old CV’s off the job boards.

      Now to support Davids statement (assuming you run a business in the North West )

      In the last 12 months within a 15 mile radius of your company 30 “paraplanners” have been active on the UK’s premium FS Job Board of those only 8 are paraplanners in the “real world”

      If we look at the “whole market” utilising my systems a very quick overview would suggest there are 489 within a 25 mile radius and 51 within a 10 mile radius in my experience approx 50% of these are
      “TRUE paraplanners”

      So in essence I am saying there are very few paraplanners out there so what are the options

      – Pay above the market rate
      – Offer attractive bonus
      – Offer route to advising
      – train a sales support individual to your specific requirement

      The lack of paraplanners is endemic of the industry. Nobody wants to train and educate sales support staff to become a commodity to be taken by another business once trained.

      In addition to this a large percentage of paraplanners are working on an outsource basis taking advantage of the skills shortage and charging £200 – £500 per report.

      My final thought on this is that the majority of IFA Practices even in this era of consolidation are relatively small businesses offering a lack of career progression for the Career paraplanner.

      If you wish to discuss further please feel free to contact me via linkedin

  2. Good point re’ reading Nick. Sadly it seems to be a pastime that is dying out. I’ve half a dozen bookcases groaning with books and all my staff here are readers, but so many I’ve interviewed and a few I’ve employed have probably read nothing since they left school. Here’s a great truth which anyone who aspires to be an adviser might want to take on board: If you’re not a great reader, you’ll never be much of a writer. Here’s another: You can buy all the report-writing software in the world but if you don’t develop your writing skills it’ll still be obvious to the client that it’s a cut-and-paste job rather than a truly personal report worked out just for them. Read – and write business!

  3. The problem we have is that a trainee administrator with no qualifications and 2 years industry experience and earns little more than the minimum wage, is told by their boss that because they can now put together a suitability letter, they now have the title of Paraplanner.
    Within 3 months they are on the books of their local recruitment agency, who advertises this person as a “experienced” paraplanner who is looking for £35,000 pa.
    We are persuaded to interview this person, but within 10 mins realise we have completely wasted our time.
    Do the story sound familiar, we have tried for 18 months to recruit a genuine Paraplanner without success. For pity’s sake will all you business owners stop doling out the title of paraplanner to staff that can make a decent stab at filling in the blanks of a suitability template

  4. So what is the problem with recruiting Paraplanners ?

    Is there a lack of Candidates or a poor recruitment strategy ?

    If you are looking for a Paraplanner a few questions

    Have you appointed a recruiter?

    Have you had a phone appointment / meeting with the recruiter ?

    Have you then agreed fees ?

    or

    Has the market been mapped for you and a recruitment strategy been agreed ?

    If you are appointing recruiters on a contingent basis to find a needle in a hay stack all you will receive is the same old CV’s off the job boards.

    Now to support Davids statement (assuming you run a business in the North West )

    In the last 12 months within a 15 mile radius of your company 30 “paraplanners” have been active on the UK’s premium FS Job Board of those only 8 are paraplanners in the “real world”

    If we look at the “whole market” utilising my systems a very quick overview would suggest there are 489 within a 25 mile radius and 51 within a 10 mile radius in my experience approx 50% of these are
    “TRUE paraplanners”

    So in essence I am saying there are very few paraplanners out there so what are the options

    – Pay above the market rate
    – Offer attractive bonus
    – Offer route to advising
    – train a sales support individual to your specific requirement

    The lack of paraplanners is endemic of the industry. Nobody wants to train and educate sales support staff to become a commodity to be taken by another business once trained.

    In addition to this a large percentage of paraplanners are working on an outsource basis taking advantage of the skills shortage and charging £200 – £500 per report.

    My final though on this is that the majority of IFA Practices even in this era of consolidation are relatively small businesses offering a lack of career progression for the Career paraplanner.

    If you wish to discuss further please feel free to contact me via linkedin

  5. Unfortunately there is also the issue of definition. What is a paraplanner? A pseudo-adviser? An administrator supremo? A report-writer? I suspect if asked we’d all come up with a different explanation.

Leave a comment

Close

Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com