In the spotlight!

by Richard Allum on 29 April 2008

Each week we will be interviewing a paraplanner to gain an insight into his or her career, working day and top tips for the rest of us.  Our first interviewee is Norma Haynes from Lucas Fettes & Partners.  If you would like to feature in this section in the coming weeks and provide useful information to your peers (as well as raising your own profile) please contact us.

Name – Norma Haynes

Current Role – Financial Planning Technician

Employer/Company – Lucas Fettes & Partners

Qualifications – Dip PFS

How long have you worked in Financial Services? – 20 years

Have you always been a paraplanner? – No, I started in 1988 as Personal Assistant to an Assistant Branch Manager in a Life Company. After two years I moved to being a Mortgage Broker within a Law Firm and gradually studied for CII exams. After 3 years I also took on life and pensions work and the firm reduced the mortgage broking element. I also then started to deal with the buying and selling of shares / collectives and general portfolio / SIPP work. By the time I left the Law Firm (9 years later) I had been writing reports for about 3 years.

How would you describe a typical day as a paraplanner for you? – Enjoyably hectic 🙂 A mixture of report writing, client contact, mooting technical issues with the team as and when they arise. Training new paraplanners. Investigating products. Speaking to broker consultants and arranging appropriate technical training sessions for the paraplanning team and consultants.

How do you fit into the overall paraplanning support within your company? – I am a Senior Paraplanner and was the first Paraplanner the firm employed back in March 2000. I have trained the bulk of the paraplanning staff over the last 8 years and tend to deal mostly with top end technical reports.

What aspect of paraplanning do you enjoy most? – The analytical process – and the art of providing the client with a truly reader friendly bespoke financial planning strategy that enables them to meet their objectives. If I was totally honest I would also say that I enjoy the whole ‘hassle factor’ of the job.

In what ways can you add value as a paraplanner? – In general I view paraplanning as a mix of an excellent training ground for future technically competent Consultants – and also as a team that protects the firms professionalism and PI cover, by providing quality technical support / reports.

What tips would you offer any other paraplanners? – Be comfortable critiquing your own work and have the confidence to readily accept that you may make technical mistakes along the way. There is no such thing as too much technical knowledge – make the time to read as widely as possible . Approach every task with enthusiasm – and a sense of humour. Work as a team, clear and concise communication (written and verbal) is vital. Commit to self improvement – exams may be time consuming, but they are important. Set yourself annual goals for self development.

What websites do you regularly use? – Most provider websites.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? – Unfortunately I cannot remember anyone giving me any advice in relation to paraplanning 🙂 although my long suffering husband is always trying to tell me to take time out to chill 🙂

What exam are you taking next? – Probably AF1 – I have not decided yet.

What one thing could make your job easier? – Consultants obtaining ALL relevant information from clients before asking for reports to be written.

Our thanks to Norma for taking part and being the first in the spotlight.

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