Not just a Paraplanner – By Hayley Knight

I was in a meeting this week discussing our social media approach and it was mentioned that we need to avoid any ‘hot’ words such as busy, overwhelm, challenging and frustrating. Not one person in the meeting asked why. We didn’t need to.

We are all feeling it. News of licensees breaking up, Advisers who are constantly ‘putting out fires’ and Paraplanners struggling to scale the mountain of compliance is flooding our feeds and becoming inescapable.

I get it.

But if nothing else, there was one shining light at the end of the 2019 tunnel and if you were at the AFA Conference this year, you will feel this too. We are uniting.

The dividers between Advisers and Paraplanners are coming down and the long overdue open office will bring us together. For too long we have sat on opposing sides of the field, it doesn’t need to be like this and with the work of the AFA and Paraplanner Pulse, we will come together wearing the same team colours to carry each other through these tough times.

Advisers, we hear you and we want to help but we need to be empowered to do so.

You see, us Paraplanners have commonly been seen as inferior. Too many times have I heard the term ‘just a Paraplanner’ with the role generally seen as a halfway step to becoming an Adviser. But what you may not realise is that many of us are actively choosing to be a Paraplanner.

We love analysing, documenting, following structures and strategizing. We get our kicks out of Word hacks and excel sheets and will happily ‘Marie Kondo’ your files. Conversely, we know Advisers are the talkers. The ones who love to simplify the complex, problem solve and build relationships.

Paraplanners are the black lines and Advisers are the colours in a colouring book. Without each other, the picture is incomplete.

We need each other, so how can we make this work?

You are both equally qualified to handle most tasks. Have an open conversation about the jobs each of you love to do. Discuss strengths and areas for improvement and between the two of you, decide who is best to get that job done.

Pretty simple, but in practice the lines are often blurred.

Once these tasks are allocated, step back and empower your Paraplanner to take charge. Celebrate the back office wins as much as you do the client wins and, on that point, share with your Paraplanner client insights so that they’re engaged with as much of the client’s journey as you are.

We all came into Financial Services for the same reasons, to coach and educate clients through their finances and provide them with the tools to financially realise their goals. When the clients are ticking off their goals, it becomes so motivating for the team to keep pushing on, so make sure you share these moments with all involved in the process.

We need you as much as you need us. We are standing behind you, with our arms open ready to catch you on your trust fall, so have faith in us, lean on us and for the first time lets unite to overcome any obstacle in the way.

Hayley Knight, AFA Pulse National Chair

December 2019