The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) has launched a qualification for budding paraplanners.
It says the Level 4 IFP Paraplanner Qualification will cover all aspects of the paraplanning role, which mainly involves researching the market on behalf of financial advisers.
Some advisers say paraplanners can play a "key" role in their firm but claim numbers have dwindled in recent years.
Individuals can register to take the qualification from September, with exams scheduled to sit from December onwards. The IFP says individuals can already register for a two day paraplanning training course covering all the material needed for the exam.
"Every so often we are able to capture a significant moment in the development of the financial planning profession," IFP chief executive Nick Cann says.
"The properly defined role of the paraplanner, with a distinct career and testing structure, will enable financial planning businesses to make significant progress."
Simon Massey, intermediaries director at Scottish Widows, which is sponsoring the qualification, adds: "Paraplanners have a growing role to play in the modern IFA business.
"There is an abundance of support available to IFAs including our own academy and PASS programme but, as yet, nothing in our industry specifically for paraplanner development.
"This qualification from the IFP fills this gap and we are delighted to be supporting it."
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