Financial paraplanners are primarily responsible for assisting financial planners and associate financial planners in a wide range of tasks and services. Paraplanners work by using computer software and a printer to assemble meeting documents, produce financial reports, and update and maintain financial data in financial planning software. They also prepare documents such as investment management agreements, financial planning agreements, account applications, and account transfers.
Generally, financial paraplanners conduct client-specific research and other work assigned by financial planners or their associates. Paraplanners must maintain client files in database systems, conduct research to answer questions for clients and supervisors, and assemble documents such as agendas, performance reports, investment detail reports, financial planning scenarios, and insurance and beneficiary designation inventories for meetings with clients.
Financial paraplanners also help solve service problems with clients by working with custodians, trustees, mutual fund companies, brokers/dealers, and other third-party administrators. During the tax season, they provide support by doing cost-basis research for securities transactions, including delivering IRS Forms 1099 to clients, reporting management fees, and calculating required minimum distributions.
Aspiring financial paraplanners should have report-writing skills and the ability to conduct research and analyze statistics. They should also have time-management skills, in-depth understanding of federal and state compliance issues, and excellent information technology (IT) skills. Finally, financial paraplanners should have an undergraduate degree in a business-related field and prior experience in financial planning; they should attain the FINRA Series 7 and 66 within one year and seek to obtain other financial planning credentials, such as the CFP designation.
Financial Paraplanner Tasks
Support financial advisors in serving clients by preparing for meetings, investment research, making preliminary financial planning recommendations, and coordinate marketing events.
Research financial databases and products that match clients' needs.
Construct visual aides including charts, graphs, and tables to be used in meetings with clients.