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Paraplanners chart course for bigger role


  • Two in five (39%) financial advisers expect paraplanners to take on a more substantial planning role in the next few years
  • Paraplanners already work in half (49%) of adviser firms, with a further 30% expecting to employ a paraplanner, or paraplanning service, in the future
  • Only 8% of advisers believe paraplanners don’t add value, down from 12% a year earlier.

Paraplanners are expected to take on a vastly expanded role in the near future, including working directly with clients, according to new research from the Canada Life 2018 Adviser Hot Issues Tracker.


Almost two in five (39%) financial advisers would like paraplanners to take on a more substantial planning role, with an additional quarter (25%) saying that they should start meeting with clients.


As well as their evolving role, the research also reveals the massive expected growth in the paraplanner industry. Currently around half of financial adviser firms employ a paraplanner, with another 30% expecting to employ a paraplanner, or a paraplanning service, in the near future.


Financial advisers increasingly recognising the value of paraplanners

Financial advisers are appreciating the importance of paraplanners, with nearly two thirds (65%) admitting they free up advisers to do more valuable activities and just under half (47%) said they add value in non-financial ways, for example researching options. Meanwhile, three in ten (29%) believe that paraplanners add significant value to a client’s financial strategy.


Richard Priestley, Executive Director of Canada Life UK, commented:

“Paraplanners are slowly revolutionising the industry. Around 20 years ago they didn’t really exist as a group in the UK, now they are seen as adding immense value by freeing up advisers and adding value to a client’s financial strategy. With paraplanners in half of advisers’ firms the door is clearly open for them to take on a much bigger, client-facing role. This research also clearly puts to bed the legitimacy question, if there ever really was one. Only 8% of advisers see paraplanners as not adding any value, a tiny figure that has fallen by a third in the last year alone.”

Adding value

Richard Priestley, Executive Director of Canada Life UK, commented:

“This is an existential moment for paraplanners – there’s a big opportunity here for paraplanners to define their role in new ways. What do paraplanners want their future role to be?"

“At Canada Life we believe in the rigour and skills that paraplanners bring to the advice process. That’s why many of our industry-leading technical team are ex-paraplanners. We encourage financial advisers to lean on their experience, read their articles and tune into their webinars to understand how paraplanners can help them in the long term.”