If my wife sends me to the shop (as is often the case; I do as I’m told) to get ‘one of those round fruits with the really nice juice, you know, for breakfast’, I might come home with an orange. Or maybe a grapefruit.
And so it is with administrators and paraplanners. The two are not the same. Does it matter?
Well, yes, it does.
It’s not just about shopping for either one or the other (or ‘recruitment’, if I can put the fruit analogy to one side). There seems to be quite a lot of confusion in parts of the industry about what a paraplanner actually is, what one does, what one should be able to do.
Administrators and paraplanners work together; they are not interchangeable. There is a distinction to be made. Why?
Well, you need to have the right tool for the job, so to speak.
There’s no fixed point where being an administrator ends and being a paraplanner begins. But there are certain skills that are generally accepted as being a requirement for anyone to call themselves a paraplanner.
Do you fill in a template report with information taken from other documents? You’re a report writer. Maybe you’re a trainer paraplanner. But you’re not there yet.
Do you question the advice when appropriate? Do you spot alternative ways of doing things and discuss this with the adviser? The chances are, if you’re involved in the advice process, if you sometimes question and challenge, you are a paraplanner.
The long and short of it is; some advisers see no difference between an administrator and a paraplanner. It matters because they do different things and used properly, often together, they can create efficiencies. Faster work, lower costs, happier clients, happier advisers with more profitable businesses.