Changing careers within financial services

Hi all,

I am looking at changing roles and becoming a paraplanner.

I have been working in client facing roles for the last 11 years with a major high street bank. But unfortunately I was made redundant at the beginning of November.

My most recent role was “financial planning manager” offering advice to clients on a restricted range of products.

I am (almost) level 4 qualified - R06 result expected on 20th November!

I ended up in the advisor position through progression and taking opportunities that were available through the company I worked for. I started as a cashier, then personal banker, then relationship manager (where I began studying for the R0 exams) and then financial planning manager. It was never my long term ambition to be an advisor, I just had a very good reputation, and was given opportunities to study and progress.

Redundancy has given me the space and time to reflect on my skills, interests, personality and consider the aspects of my work that I most enjoyed.

I find the technical side of the role much more interesting. I really enjoyed writing reports and solving problems to find a solution that matched the client’s objectives. I think this work suits my personality type and I think I would enjoy a career in paraplanning in its own right.

The problem that I think I will face is that I have never worked in an IFA firm, or in a paraplanning role, and the advice I have been giving has been restricted. I would need some training and support, but I think I could add a lot of value and I would bring a unique perspective to the role having been on the client facing side for many years.

I would appreciate any advice on how to approach this move.

Also with time on my hands I am considering studying another qualification. Is J09 (paraplanning) worth it? Or would I be better starting a level 6 qualification, and if so which one?

Many thanks in advance 🙂


  • Hi Alex, congratulations on all the exam passes and good luck for the 20th!

    There seems to be a flurry of people with a similar kind of challenge at the moment! Fortunately, there are are several threads and posts on here covering this kind of thing, which may be helpful to you.

    I won't repeat them all here, but I would check out these threads:

    Re the studying, it really depends on what you would like to do. J09 would be helpful of course, but the advanced once are also very useful. I suspect that there are more paraplanners with level 6 /AF qualifications than J09. The AF ones are more meant to be practical application of the stuff you learned for your diploma. If you are planning on doing them in the future, it might be best to try them whilst it's still fresh in your brain!

    Hope that helps! :)

  • Hi Caro,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply :)

    Good advice on the exams, I think the practical application of the knowledge would be the best thing to further develop now. Especially when the material is still relatively fresh, like you said.

    Thanks for the links, I've had a read through and found it very useful. I'm glad I found this community, looks like a wealth of knowledge and lots of people willing to help and share their advice.



  • Pleasure treasure, good luck! :)

  • I went straight from a retail banking environment as a Personal Banker (non-advised) into paraplanning; I then did my exams whilst in the paraplanning role. I think that if you are within a supportive firm you will flourish.

  • @rwooffatst said:
    I went straight from a retail banking environment as a Personal Banker (non-advised) into paraplanning; I then did my exams whilst in the paraplanning role. I think that if you are within a supportive firm you will flourish.

    Hey, thanks for the reply,

    That's brilliant and really encouraging to hear!

    Hopefully I can find a supportive firm like you have :smile:

  • Hi everyone, I'm new on here. I'm currently working as a fully level 4 dipolma qualified and CAS adviser for a single-tied company but due to a change in personal circumstances I'm considering a move in to paraplanning. I realise the job has change a lot over the past few years, so, I'm wondering if it's possible for advisers to make a successful move across in to this realm and still earn at the top end of the scale (£40k), or would I be looking at starting out as a trainee again? Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  • Hi Phil, welcome. I would say it does depend on the firm, but level 4 qualified is a good start. The paraplanning role as you say has moved on leaps and bounds in the last 5-10 years so although you may have the base technical knowledge expected, there would be a lot of on the job/specific paraplanning skills and processes you would need to learn.

    I can't comment on the salary scale really as it does depend where you are in the country and I suppose it depends how much experience you may have in report writing, creating cashflows (along with many many other aspects) etc. If experience is limited in the 'paraplanning' aspects then you may want to look for a trainee paraplanner role.

    As an example, in my area (Bristol), there are a wide range of salary bands and you can get an indication of how you stack up, compared to the skills they are looking for by looking at the job descriptions and whether you are at the level they are looking for. There are a number of trainee paraplanner roles in my region that pay between £25K and £35K per annum, dependent on experience etc. I would say around 2 years experience in the role with a minimum of Diploma and you could likely command the scale you mention above, but again, this is dependent on the area you are working/firm . That said even the full Paraplanner roles in Bristol vary between £25K and £45K so its important to check their requirements on the descriptions.

    Finally, I would add its just as important to find a firm that fits with your values and how you would like to work so its worth doing research on local firms websites etc. Are they advice/product focused or do they carry out proper financial planning and cashflow forecasting etc. In addition, have a look at the total package on offer/flexibility etc....its not just about the headline salary (as I am sure you are aware).

    Good luck!

  • Hi Nath, that's really helpful, thanks very much. Cheers.

  • PhilPhil Member
    edited December 2021

    Hi, an update to this thread and info for anyone who is thinking of making the same jump as me; I've managed to secure a couple of job offers, so it's definitly possible but it does depend on how much paraplanning you're doing as an adviser. Thanks to everyone for their feedback.

  • AdminAdmin Administrator

    Thanks for the update @Phil

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