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Paraplanning jobs: back in vogue?

It was about 12 months ago that we at Exchange Street first started to notice a trend for redundancies taking place of paraplanners within the financial services industry. Previously paraplanners had been much sought after by progressive IFA practices looking to provide the highest quality sales support to their financial advisers, freeing them up from the burden of research and report writing. IFAs were even known to leave their jobs solely because they were not receiving the level of sales support available at other practices. Within recruitment circles paraplanners became a highly prized commodity with a lengthy list of IFA companies waiting in the wings for their services. Paraplanning positions headed up many a job board.

Fast forward to 2008 and all the objective reasons for recruiting and employing paraplanners started to fall by the wayside as IFA companies began to cut costs. Whilst an adviserís financial worth is clearly apparent, the value provided by a paraplanner is a less tangible figure and experienced individuals started to suffer because of it. With business levels falling across the industry, administrators and paraplanners, once the bedrock of IFA firms, began to be made redundant at levels never previously seen.

Whilst the first half of 2009 saw a similar pattern the second half has started to show signs of a recovery, with IFA practices again beginning to contact recruitment companies about paraplanning vacancies. Whilst we are clearly a long way away from the heady days of paraplanning recruitment in 2005, 2006 and 2007 we should take this as an encouraging development. It is still far too early to predict when the amount of paraplanning jobs will begin to outweigh the number of available paraplanning candidates, but individuals should feel more confident that openings will soon see them back into such a capacity.

So what next for paraplanners? As before those with a steady career history of operating within the independent arena will be able to take advantage, especially those who hold at least the Diploma ahead of the Retail Distribution Review. Any out of work paraplanner could perhaps use this time to build up their technical qualifications as it will maximise their remuneration upon a return to work, as well as demonstrating a commitment to financial services.

Whatever happens in the rest of the market we could well be on the cusp of seeing a resumption of normal service for paraplanners, which would be welcome news indeed.

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