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Standards International’s Paraplanner Standard™ sees first pass

Reece Edwards, paraplanner at Hampshire Hill Group, has become the first person to attain The Paraplanner Standard™ certification, the new accreditation from Michelle Hoskin’s Standards International

The Paraplanner Standard™ was devised by Standards International, the accreditation body for the ISO and BS standards in financial advice in the UK, in conjunction with a Paraplanner Standard Committee of industry participants, including paraplanners, financial planners, business owners, practice managers, compliance managers, technical and client administrators. 

Launched on 1 May 2018, Michelle Hoskin, managing director of Standards international said the new Standard is designed to “recognise and celebrate the pivotal role paraplanning plays in the financial planning business of the future”. Through its framework, the Standard evaluates specific sets of skills, principles and behaviours needed to excel in the role. There is no set timeline for those who choose to go through the process.

It is currently divided into two parts; soft skills and technical. The former is very much a personal assessment, including an exploration of how the paraplanner fits into the firm, their thoughts on their role and their career and qualification aspirations. 

In contrast, the technical assessment takes a more structured form, with applicants expected to work through the Standard point-by-point with the assessor. 

There was an initial intake of 35 candidates.

Reece was a member of the Paraplanner Standard Committee, helping to devise the Standard. He says his decision to go through the process was partly inspired by the culture of training and development fostered at Nottingham-based Hampshire Hill. Managing director Richard Hampshire and all of the firm’s investment advisers have been awarded Standards International ISO 22222 standard. 

Reece says it was “an honour to become the first person to go through the process”.

“I’ve seen the hard work that has gone into creating The Paraplanner Standard™ and the passion and drive behind it, so to pass was a proud moment.” 

The experience of drilling down to his personal traits, skills and views was an eye-opening experience, he says. 

“I have a tendency to go with a very broad view on things and the industry as a whole and I felt that Michelle wanted me to focus more on where I personally fit into that picture. However, she is great at putting you at ease and encouraging you to talk about yourself,” he says. 

As part of the technical assessment Reece was asked to show evidence of his work in the form of four client files, which were thoroughly examined. 

Reece describes the whole process from start to finish as “uplifting” and believes more advisers should encourage their paraplanners to apply, which he says he will go a long way to building an industry of robust, knowledgeable and dedicated paraplanners. 

Commenting Michelle Hoskin said: “Reece is an amazing example of what a true professional paraplanner is. His hard work, creative thinking and professional approach to his role is outstanding.

“As a key influencer in the design of The Paraplanner Standard™ it was a personal pleasure to assess Reece against the professional benchmark of excellence. 

“We are excited to see how he grows to add further value to the profession as he becomes instrumental in changing an industry into a true profession.”

You will be able to read the full interview with Reece on the process of achieving the Standard in the next issue of Professional Paraplanner.

Further information on the Paraplanner Standard can be found at: http://standardsinternational.co.uk/certification/theparaplannerstandard/

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