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As the winner of the 2021 FPA Paraplanner of the Year Award, Andrew Mann CFP® attributes his win to three qualities: perseverance, commitment, and never giving up.
Name: Andrew Mann CFP®
Educational qualifications: DFP, CFP®
Position: Financial Strategist
Years as a paraplanner: 16 years
There’s no concealing Tupicoffs’ track record when it comes to producing high quality practitioners and paraplanning professionals. At the 2019 FPA Awards, in the FPA Paraplanner of the Year Award category, the Brisbane-based practice took out the trifecta for this award, with the winner and two finalists both coming from Tupicoffs.
And perseverance has paid off for the 2021 winner, Andrew Mann CFP®, who as a finalist for this award two years earlier, has finally taken out this award.
Andrew attributes his win to three key things: perseverance, commitment, and never giving up.
“Whether it’s in life or in business, I’m always looking to do better than I’ve done previously, which is absolutely vital in both financial planning and paraplanning,” he says.
With 20 years’ experience in the advice industry, including four as a financial planner, Andrew looks upon this experience with pride, believing the knowledge gained has brought him a much deep understanding of the financial planning process and the skills needed to build strong client strategies as a paraplanner.
“Undoubtedly, having the CFP® designation also brings an added level of robustness and strength to my role as a paraplanner. For any paraplanner, I believe the education and experience you gain as a result of completing the CFP®Certification Program is extremely beneficial,” he says.
“This level of education has enabled me to look very quickly at a position, no matter how complex, and identify the key issues that need to be addressed as a starting point. So, in my paraplanning role, it has been invaluable to combine my CFP® qualifications with the practical experience gained from having worked within the profession for 20 years.”
Andrew Mann CFP® 2021 FPA Paraplanner of the Year
Go with your strengths
However, some might question any professional having obtained their CFP® designation as being a little overqualified to be a paraplanner, but they would be wrong to do so.
“We all have our strengths in what we do,” says Andrew. “The trick is identifying them and then working towards improving them.”
He recalls first starting out in the profession as a financial planner in 2001 – a position he worked in for four years. But it became clear to Andrew that his strengths lay in strategy analysis and writing financial plans, which he enjoyed doing.
“So, I decided to pursue this side of financial planning and 16 years later, it’s a decision I don’t regret.”
Andrew believes the skills gained by working as a financial planner, in addition to his CFP® studies, means his paraplanning capabilities are extremely well honed.
It was a view supported by the FPA Award judges who, commenting on Andrew’s award submission, said he was an example of what it means to excel in one’s craft.
“This award is a celebration of Andrew’s career and excellence in paraplanning, particularly his ability to be engaging, pulling complex threads together in such a way that embraces the client’s capacity to absorb information, and deal with matters that are important to the client,” remarked the judges.
A vital cog in advice
Having seen the delivery of advice close-up from both the financial planning and paraplanning perspectives, Andrew is acutely aware of just how important paraplanning is in the overall makeup of advice.
“Paraplanning is absolutely vital, because without a good paraplanner, you can’t be sure you’ve got the best possible strategies being researched for the client,” Andrew says.
He views the relationship between paraplanner and practitioner as being collaborative, with each being equally responsible for the end client outcome.
But what about the profession’s perception of paraplanning? Does it places enough emphasis on the importance of paraplanning and the role paraplanners play in the advice process?
For Andrew, it’s a reaffirming ‘yes’. However, he qualifies his response by adding that paraplanners probably don’t get enough acknowledgement for the work they do within the wider community, but it’s a situation that he believes is improving.
“I believe the majority of advice businesses understand the importance of a quality paraplanner and the contribution paraplanners make to the profession,” he says. “But as far as general knowledge within the wider community about the role paraplanners play in improving the lives and financial outcomes of Australians, it would be great to see this more publicly acknowledged.”
However, he adds that the FPA Paraplanner of the Year Award is a positive step forward in acknowledging and celebrating the important role of paraplanning within the profession.
A career paraplanner
Andrew is understandably delighted to win the 2021 FPA Paraplanner of the Year Award, but as a self-acknowledged career paraplanner, he doesn’t see the award kick-starting any other professional aspirations, like returning to a client-facing advice role as a CFP® professional.
“I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” he says. “You never stop learning, even now after 16 years of paraplanning. My aspirations are to continue as a successful paraplanner. I want to consistently improve what I’m doing with the planners and clients who I work with.”
And what advice does he have for anyone considering a career in paraplanning?
“Take that first step, try it and see if it’s for you,” Andrew says. “To succeed as a paraplanner, you need to be patient, details focused, and committed.”
He recommends aspiring candidates join a reputable advice business and learn from the ground up. When transitioning into paraplanning, Andrew emphasises the importance of having an established understanding of the financial planning industry.
“I would encourage anybody thinking about a career in paraplanning to do their studies, and learn from the ground up. First work your way through client services, administration and assistant planner roles, before moving into paraplanning. That approach will provide any aspiring professional with the knowledge required to decide which career path to take, whether that’s as a financial planner or paraplanner.”
He recalls the advice that has best served him over the years, which equally applies to any aspiring professional: ‘never give up’ and ‘never stop learning’.
“Whatever career path you eventually choose, don’t become complacent with what you do, because as soon as you stop learning and think you know everything, you’ll quickly get left behind.”
It’s sage advice from this self-professed career paraplanner.
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