Last year we spoke to Hollie and Lauren as they had recently been enrolled on the Level 4 Paraplanning Apprenticeship with Skills Edge, they’re now a year into this course, so we caught up with them to see how it’s going…
What are you currently working on in the apprenticeship?
Hollie: At the minute I’m currently working on R03, which is an exam on personal taxation. I’m hoping to take the exam in the next few weeks, and then I’ll be moving on to JO9 which is a practical paraplanning coursework assessment. This includes three questions which focus on providing client advice and writing suitability reports. This is the last part of the apprenticeship! Where has the time gone?! This assessment sounds really interesting and I’m looking forward to working on it. This coursework will help us to demonstrate an understanding of the regulatory, legal and ethical frameworks of paraplanning, how to analyse on client’s personal and financial circumstances and the financial planning requirements of clients, as well building on the skillset of finding potential solutions for clients.
What have you enjoyed most up to now?
Lauren: I’ve really enjoyed having professional discussions with fellow apprenticeship students from other financial advice firms and my tutor Sarah. I found that this has increased my capability to confidently talk about investment strategies, financial products and the financial advice process. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my ability to give presentations regarding these topics since I started the course! These professional discussions are always recorded so that they can be added to a portfolio of work at the end of the apprenticeship which will be assessed. It will be such an achievement to put all of this work together at the end, as well as look back at how far we’ve come, and how much we’ve achieved on the course.
How has it contributed to your role in Serenity?
Lauren: By partaking in the apprenticeship, my technical knowledge and confidence in writing suitability reports and process complex transactions has increased a great deal. As I mentioned earlier, the confidence that I have built up from presentations I’ve given and the professional discussions I’ve been a part of, has allowed me to comfortably discuss cases with advisers, as well as to provide alternative solutions and offer technical skill in the support I give them.
I’m about to take the exam, R02, ‘Investment principles and risk’, and the content around investment products, strategy, and the advice process has really opened my eyes to so many areas that effect my day-to-day job such as the importance of risk profiling and asset allocation within portfolios. This in turn has made a big impact on the quality of my report writing because I have a thorough understanding of the importance of providing suitable advice that caters for each client’s wants and needs within their financial planning.
The ‘off the job’ hours that we have to complete, which includes study and continued personal development (CPD), helps us to broaden our expertise, and ensures we become well rounded paraplanners.
With all the support we’ve been given, I now have so much drive and determination to become a paraplanner as I feel like we can hopefully really help make a difference to people’s lives in this role.