So, paraplanning is on the map, the RDR is here and the New Year has begun.
But what does it hold for us paraplanners and how can we maintain the momentum that we have built up?
Over the past year I have learned what a massive benefit networking can be. That’s not just with other paraplanners, but with financial planners too. From what I have seen when paraplanners get together, we are great at developing our ideas, building our own networks and bringing ‘power to the paraplanner’!
It can be all too easy to become caught up in your own little bubble as a paraplanner. You get stuck in your own way of doing things and before you know it you have answered the question of ‘why do we do it that way?’ with a simple ‘because we do!’ This leads to stagnation.
It is therefore so interesting to me keep learning new things; to see how others work and how their processes have developed. In fact, the constant change is one of the reasons I love working in this industry as it gives me the chance to learn more. There are always better ways of doing things and making things run more smoothly for the clients. Even if you think you have got it spot on, it is still worth checking every now and then. Just like rebalancing a portfolio really.
Early last year I took part in some industry market research and it was really entertaining to have a good old group moan about the providers that annoy us with their inability to answer a simple question, or their 25 working day turnaround times.
Among the grumbling though there was a chance to compare our research styles, our report writing skills and the relationships we have with the people we work with. All very therapeutic.
I have found the annual paraplanner conference run by the Institute of Financial Planning a good place to meet, but I also try and attend their branch meetings when I can. They tend to have excellent speakers.
Sometimes it can be impractical to spend time away from the office and that is when the other networking resources become useful. The likes of the forum on The Paraplanner website, the various paraplanning groups on Linkedin and even the interactions that we have on Twitter can all help us build our community.
Thanks to these kinds of forums and meetings more and more paraplanners are finding their voices. Whether you are an outsourced paraplanner or working in-house, it is always nice to know you are not alone.
Claire Goodwin is paraplanner at Taylor Oliver