I recently celebrated my fifth anniversary as part of Para-Sols and it has given me cause to reflect upon my time in financial services and how things have changed in that time.

As with many of us, I seemed to happenstance across a career in financial services. I was PA to the Director of an IFA and started in March 2006. Of course, we all know what happened on 6th April 2006, a mere few weeks after I found myself embroiled in the thrilling world of pensions.

Pension simplification. An oxymoron if ever I heard one and an area that continues to change and fascinate me to this day. Pensions have developed probably the most out of all specialist areas of financial planning and will continue to do so in the future, I believe. Financial planning is a very important thing to do throughout your life. If you are not sure how to do it, you should ask the question ‘why is budgeting important?’ to a professional and they can give you point by point reasons why it’s vital for your everyday life.

The recently introduced pension freedoms, despite various concerns about pensioners drag racing each other in pension fund-bought Ferraris and then relying upon the state to eat, has offered the most significant changes and I welcome any change which offers more power back to the client, about how and when they can spend their well-earned cash.

If you asked any adviser what the biggest change was in the last ten years, I’m sure RDR would make the top 3. While feared by many, it is now well embedded and I’m hard pushed to remember a world without clear charging for clients, nor would I want to.

A matter, closer to my heart is the development I’ve seen within the paraplanning community.

When I left my comfortable and secure job at an IFA to venture into the ambiguity of the outsourced paraplanning world and to join a fledgling company to boot, many warned that I would regret my decision and would be left jobless with a family to support. Paraplanning was seen as “flavor of the month” and that it would “die out”.

It is with great pride that I am happy to have proved them wrong as our company goes from strength to strength, winning awards and on a trajectory of solid growth. When I joined financial services, the term paraplanner was an unknown commodity, when I left to join Para-Sols it was still financial services hidden secret, the murky world of the paraplanner, with many advisers still referring to us as glorified administrators, failed advisers or typists… (that one really hurts) but with our dedication to getting the P-word out there and educating the layman via graduate schemes to the satisfying career choice of the paraplanner, it is becoming more and more recognised, both within financial circles and without, the world is learning the role of the paraplanner, is that of an essential and rewarding one.

With that in mind and with our plans for the future, I say bring on the next five years!

Jo Campbell
Winner of Best Paraplanner 2016 – Money Marketing Awards

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