Caroline Stuart outlines the goals for her PFS presidency
It is such an honour to have been elected as president of the Personal Finance Society and for me even more so, as I am also the first paraplanner to hold the position.
I have been working in paraplanning for more than 20 years and, in that time, have seen the profession evolve hugely. Going from what was viewed by many as a predominantly back-office or compliance function to being a highly respected role and, for many clients, a fundamental part of their financial planning team.
Paraplanning is, for many, a step on their professional journey to becoming a planner or adviser and is an excellent foundation to transition into those roles. For others – myself included – paraplanning offers a range of different roles and responsibilities, making it a long-term aspirational career that many choose to remain in.
However, paraplanning, like all financial planning, is not immune to the challenges we are facing as a profession – both now and in the future. We know there are not enough of us to meet the needs of all those who require good-quality financial planning and advice. With a predominantly older workforce, this problem is only going to worsen if we do not take action.
The goal for my presidency is therefore to work on attracting more new people to our profession, who are able to work with clients and consumers to increase their financial understanding and resilience, which is, as we know, particularly important during these challenging times. By doing this, I believe we will also help to raise the profile of financial planning, not only as a service that is accessible to anyone but also as a worthwhile career choice for all.
The festival was bright, colourful, friendly and the perfect showcase for our wonderful profession
Back to the present and, as I am writing this, I’m sure I am suffering a little with post-festival comedown! I was fortunate enough to spend two days in early November with some of the brightest and best in our profession at this year’s Festival of Financial Planning. I was able to meet the most enthusiastic, dedicated people, while hearing their many stories about the people they have helped through the power of good financial planning.
With inspirational stories, sharing of great practice methods and all areas of our profession represented at the festival, it was a huge success and I am sure everyone who attended will have come away with new ideas of how to improve their service for clients.
We also had this year’s Personal Finance Awards, through which we were able to recognise and reward those going the extra mile for their clients, consumers, communities and our profession. It was truly humbling to meet these fantastic ambassadors and see the passion they have for financial planning.
The festival was bright, colourful, friendly and the perfect showcase for our wonderful profession. I have come away feeling inspired and invigorated for the future.
It also goes to show that anyone who thinks that financial planning is dull really could not be more wrong.
Caroline Stuart is president of the Personal Finance Society