What does a paraplanner do?

Are you interested in a career in financial services? You might like to consider becoming a paraplanner. In this article, we take a look at what a paraplanner does, explore some of the key responsibilities and look at the benefits of becoming a paraplanner.

What is a paraplanner?

Paraplanners are financial services professionals who take care of accounting, administrative and sometimes client-facing tasks for financial advisors. Financial planners delegate duties to paraplanners as they are junior members of financial planning firms.

The role of a paraplanners in financial planning groups is similar to a paralegal in a law firm. Paraplanning was created to give financial planners more time with clients and less time on back-office tasks.
In recent times paraplanners have become much more in demand and are indispensable to financial planning groups. It has become known that paraplanners are in high demand but in short supply. Which is why if you’re interested in becoming a paraplanner, there has never been a better time to take on this career path than now.

Key duties and tasks of a paraplanner

Paraplanner’s duties will vary depending on their level of experience and the firm they work for. When starting out as a paraplanner the days will mostly consist of administrative tasks, including filing, managing financial advisor’s schedules and data entry.

Experienced paraplanners with good qualifications and training are likely to be completing tasks of a financial planner. These tasks require a higher level of competence and responsibility. They can range from taking notes in client meetings and updating client records to analysing financial statements and performing projections.
Instead of only doing back-office tasks and duties like junior paraplanners, experienced paraplanners will complete client facing tasks as well. So they are often reviewing investment portfolios, building relationships with clients and organising planning meetings with clients.

Lady at work holding an ipad

Benefits of becoming a paraplanner

Paraplanners who are good at their job add great value to firms as they create capacity for financial advisors, freeing up their time to spend with clients. But skilled paraplanners aren’t easy to come by so they are extremely sought after in the financial services market right now.
If you’re unsure whether a career in paraplanning is for you, we thought we’d list some benefits to give you an idea of why becoming a paraplanner is a great career choice.

Variety

There’s nothing worse than working in a job with no variety and when everyday’s the same. Paraplanning is far from a standard administration job, instead the role is exciting, challenging and has plenty of variety.
Tasks are varied day by day and are involved with conducting due diligence research, looking into bonds and processing numbers. In their role, paraplanners get to work as part of a team and independently.

High demand

The role of paraplanners didn’t exist 20 years ago, so financial planners would have to juggle their client-facing and back-office tasks on their own. The creation of paraplanning has transformed the way financial advising firms operate.
The capacity paraplanners create for advisors is indispensable, which is why they are now in such high demand. The only problem is, there aren’t enough paraplanners out there to keep up. And with demand only growing, paraplanning salaries are being bumped higher as firms are competing to hire the best.

Great earning potential

With firms now realising how important paraplanners are to their success, they are more than happy to pay the price for a skilled paraplanner. According to payscale, the average salary of a paraplanner in Australia is $60,584 per year and has the potential to earn upwards of $100,000.

Because financial advisors have become so dependent on paraplanners, the wage gap between the two roles is starting to get much smaller. Especially because the role of paraplanners has become much more technical and requires client-facing skills. It’s only expected the salaries of paraplanners in Australia are going to keep rising.
What this also means is that paraplanning is no longer a stepping stone in a finance career, instead now is the time where people can develop their career in paraplanning and will go far.

Opportunities for growth

Paraplanner’s job roles will vary depending on the amount of experience and qualifications they have. There can be trainee paraplanners with qualifications in financial planning and there are also senior paraplanners with 10+ years of experience.
If you want to become a paraplanner, there is a clear career path for you to go down. Starting from certificate level qualifications right through to Diploma level and beyond. At Monarch we offer a number of financial planning courses including an Advanced Diploma of Paraplanning.

Key skills a paraplanner needs

Paraplanning isn’t as simple as a standard administrative role. Instead, it requires a great deal of skills and hard work. The skills you will need to be a successful paraplanner are:

  • Strong communication
  • A thorough understanding of financial planning
  • IT skills
  • Writing skills
  • Initiative – being able to complete tasks independently
  • Organisational skills
  • Interpersonal skills

What do paraplanners earn?

We’ve mentioned an indicative range earlier in this article, but according to payscale.co, based on 34 salaries, paraplanners who are just starting out and have less than 1 year experience can expect to be paid an average salary of $51,067. This includes bonuses, tips and overtime.
Paraplanners with 1 to 4 years of experience can expect an average total annual earnings of $58,900 based on 369 paraplanning salaries. A paraplanner who has 5 to 9 years’ experience earns an average of yearly income of $67,148 based on 101 salaries of paraplanners in Australia.

Based on 82 salaries, experienced paraplanners with 10 to 19 years of experience earn an average annual salary of $68,669.

What employers want in a paraplanner

The requirements will vary depending on the firm and what they need from the paraplanner. Although, there are some key skills that will be required of every paraplanner in every firm.

Because of the type of job paraplanning is, having strong organisational skills is crucial. Paraplanning is a supportive role and financial planners constantly have deadlines which need to be met. This is why to be successful in this role you must be able to work effectively and efficiently so that financial planners are able to get their job done within the set timeframe.

Monarch’s Advanced Diploma of Paraplanning is ideal for independent learners ready to take the next step and is a new pathway for paraplanners to stand out from others.

The flexible, 100% online delivery is a great option if you’re balancing existing work commitments or family. Check out the course page and chat to a Course Consultant about your study options today on 1300 738 955.