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Para-Sols grows business and launches paraplanner Grad Scheme

Outsourced paraplanning firm Para-Sols has taken new premises that will allow the company to almost double in size and has seen a keen interest in its newly launched Grad Scheme.

The firm has recently taken on new larger premises, which can accommodate another 15-16 employees, alongside Para-Sols’ existing team of 15, in order to respond to the steady increase in new business enquiries from new and existing clients for all aspects of the business – bespoke paraplanning, platform due diligence, consultancy projects and legacy asset migration.

With this growth, Harrison has created two specialist roles to help develop the business, a full-time strategic marketing and engagement manager and a full-time relationship manager role.

“We got to the point in the business where we needed those specialist roles. It’s not that you can’t do these things yourself it’s just that they are not your areas of expertise and it’s time for us now to have someone dedicated to it.”

For someone who has built the company up from scratch and so been hands-on in every part of it, Harrison admits that it was one of the next-step decisions to grow the business.

New launch Grad Scheme

Harrison also launched The Grad Scheme, a structured academy designed to take university graduates from any academic stream and train them through to become qualified paraplanners.

Since its launch on 7 March, the scheme has attracted over 30 applicants.

Harrison says the firm has operated a graduate scheme for a number of years, taking on 1-3 graduates in July every year but it was not satisfying the needs of the business at the rate it was growing, in market where demand for trained paraplanners significantly outstrips supply.

“We needed more graduates more frequently, so we have launched the Scheme so we can bring people on all year around,” Harrison says. “It’s a full-blown academy, where we’ve made the scheme far bigger and more structured to appeal many more graduates across all disciplines.

“Those we take on will follow a structure, including on-the-job training, become qualified to diploma level, with a view to moving beyond that, and if they want, to take on a specialism.”

The marketing campaign for the Grad Scheme in strategic universities, especially those running financial services and advice courses, is based around the theme of Capes not Suits, to try to dispel the image of financial services as “grey and older” says Harrison. “Our message is finance doesn’t have to be boring and you don’t have to be a finance graduate to have a career in financial services. The website has blogs from our graduates, one of which has a degree in zoology. We’re saying, here are young people who have joined us and are having a fun and interesting career.”

The initiative has struck a chord with the universities, she adds. “They are asking us if we can go in and present to students on paraplanning.”

As well as a dedicated website the Scheme has its own twitter account and Facebook page, and the firm is engaging with National Careers Week, all of which is paying off, Harrison says. “Within two hours of the website going live we had an applicant doing an economics degree looking for a placement when he finishes. Now we are at over 30 and we’re already capturing people we wouldn’t do otherwise.”

White papers

Para-Sols recently published a white paper on outsourced paraplanning for the advisory market and is conducting research on compliance for a future white paper.

To take part in the Compliance survey click this link or the banner at the top of the page.


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