Paraplanners are a friendly and sharing group that’s for sure. Caroline Stuart recounts a day in the life of a PFS Purely Paraplanning event as she attempts to encourage more and more paraplanners to engage with the community.
I can’t quite believe we are in our fifth year of the Personal Finance Society Paraplanner Panel and Purely Paraplanning conferences, the time has just flown by!
Our very first event was back in September 2015 in Bristol. I’ve just been having a look over that very first agenda to see what was covered.
That was then
There was a Regulatory Q&A with people from the FOS, compliance providers and the FCA, two technology presentations, a tax and legislation update, a retirement and pensions presentation, a practitioner panel and (my favourite) a session with a hostage negotiator. It’s a jam-packed agenda and I dare say enough to satisfy any paraplanner!
This was closely followed by two more conferences in Leeds and London. By the following year, we had expanded to running them in six in venues all over the country; something we are still doing now.
This is now
The overall structure of the events, rather surprisingly, hasn’t actually changed that much; we always have a technical presentation, a soft skills session, a technology session and a practitioner panel. Why have we not shaken it up and changed things? Because we are giving the people what they want.
The feedback we get from these events is invariably always good but on the odd occasion when sessions haven’t quite hit the mark (which have been few and far between), we’ve learned from them and improved. The PFS Events Team consists of seasoned experts in organising and putting on such professional events and so they are always really well received.
In terms of the programme, this year could almost be a replication of that first event; we have some excellent technical sessions, a paraplanner panel, a cashflow session, a writing skills workshop and we have the superb Chris Hewitt from the FCA (a former paraplanner himself in a previous life!) joining us to talk about suitability. All have come from ideas from the Paraplanner Panel and as a result of feedback and suggestions from previous Purely Paraplanning events.
We get paraplanners from all over the country attending these events. It’s not only a chance to brush up skills and knowledge but it’s also a really great opportunity to meet and have a good old natter with your peers, share good ideas and best practice and offer support and suggestions to any issues or problems which other paraplanners may be facing. It puts continuing professional development in a whole new light as not only does it provide the space to think in a different way but it sharpens technical knowledge in the specific areas which we require.
In the five years since the Purely Paraplanning events started, we have grown and developed so much as a profession. We are constantly evolving with new people joining, others moving on to different roles within the financial planning space and some, like me, staying exactly where they are – loving being a paraplanner!
That’s why the #PFSPurely events are so good, they really have something for everyone in our profession, whether you are a tech nerd, a tax nut, a pensions geek or a writing freak, we have something for you.
If you’re a paraplanner, I’m sure we’ll have something for you too, so why not check them out and – coronavirus notwithstanding – hopefully we’ll see you there!
Caroline has been working in financial services for twenty years. Seventeen of those have been in paraplanner, senior paraplanner and Head of Technical roles, until she set up her outsource and consultancy business, Sparrow Paraplanning last year. Caroline is also a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, is a member of its Paraplanner Panel and has sat on the Board of Directors since 2018.