The Big Day Out 2023

Personal development
Self certified

Thursday 14th September 2023


FarmED, Station Road, Chipping Norton OX7 6BJ



Paraplanners from all over the country gathered for The Big Day Out 2023 on 14th September 2023.

For the second successive year, our destination was the fantastic FarmED – right in the heart of the Cotswold countryside.

(Trust us, it’s lovely.)

This year, The Big Day Out was split into two halves:

1st half: All about paraplanning today
2nd half: All about paraplanning tomorrow

Three groups

Following The Big Welcome, we split the Assembly into three groups – Barley, Oats, and Wheat.

Each group had paraplanning hosts. Hosts volunteered to make sure you were where you needed to be when you needed to be there and to help facilitate conversations.

(The Big Day Out wouldn’t have been possible without our volunteers, so please gave a big hand 👏 to this year’s hosts: Kez Condy, Becky Jones, Jackie Manning, Sian Davies Cole, Pippa Oldfield, Jo Parkes, and Colin Stewart.)

First half: Paraplanning today – Crop Rotations

Each group spent 45 minutes in each of the following three sessions.

Technical top tips

Expert: Les Cameron, Head of Technical, M&G Wealth

This was a chance to quiz a popular Assembly regular in person with those burning technical questions that you’ve always wanted someone to answer.

Suitability reports: a fair value assessment

Leader: Caroline Stuart, Founder of Sparrow Paraplanning

Caroline invited groups to consider whether suitability reports were still fit for purpose and they’ve for a Consumer Duty world.

Were our planning assumptions still fit for purpose?

Leader: Dan Atkinson, Head of Technical, Paradigm Norton

Is it time to re-assess your planning assumptions? Could you really rely on what had happened in the past to plan for the future? This was a chance for participants to test the assumptions that apply to the ‘planning’ part of a paraplanners job title. To help, we were joined by three experts: Thomas Hogg of Timeline, Parmenion’s Jasper Thornton-Boelman and Jon Palin from Barnett Waddingham.

Lunchtime drop-in: Outsourced Paraplanners Banter + Chat x Paraplanners’ Assembly

Lunchtime drop-in: Outsourced Paraplanners Banter + Chat x Paraplanners’ Assembly

Christina Georgiou and Andy Schleider hosted a drop in for participants who are starting out as an outsourced paraplanner, thinking about it, or already are. The session was an IRL version of the ‘Outsourced Paraplanners banter + chat group’ hosted by Andy on WhatsApp.

The Afternoon: Paraplanning tomorrow

After lunch, we got right back to the roots of the Paraplanners’ Assembly.

Back in 2013, our first gathering proved that when paraplanners get together to learn, fix and share, we’re able to tackle the biggest issues.

A decade ago, we wanted the financial planning world to recognise paraplanning as a choice of professional career. (And just look at us now!)

Today, the big questions seem to revolve around the future of paraplanning itself and our role in it.

What does artificial intelligence and automation mean for paraplanning and for us? Are remote working and hybrid teams really here to stay? What skills and knowledge are paraplanners going to need for a fulfilling career from now on?

Learn, fix and share

When we began to think about how to tackle these questions, it crossed our minds to invite a keynote speaker to put the world to rights for us.

But we soon realized that that speaker didn’t exist.

Because the future of work was not just about technology. It wasn’t just about personal development and technical knowledge. It wasn’t just about teams and leadership. It wasn’t just about the future of business.

It was too big a job for one person. But a bunch of people? Perhaps even an assembly?

And so we decided that the best people to consider the future of paraplanning were…paraplanners!

Let’s get started

Assembly hosts, Sam Tonks and Sarah Lees, kicked off the afternoon’s session.

We worked with foresight and innovation expert, Eleanor Winton, to help us design three very interactive sessions.

Eleanor recorded two video contributions that we showed to spark your thinking.

But the future of paraplanning? That conversation was up to us.

We knew from the surveys you completed that this kind of thing had been on your minds for a while. And we thought the Assembly was the perfect space for paraplanners to explore it. But you only got out what you were willing to put in, so you were ready to share your thoughts!

We were sure you were going to really enjoy it. We were sure you were going to feel good about having the chance to talk about the future. And we were certain it would be the start of a conversation that – thanks to your participation – our Assembly was uniquely placed to encourage among colleagues across the world of financial planning.

(And, besides, we arranged ice-cream in the break to fuel conversations!)

If you were there, we hope you enjoyed it. If you weren’t, there’s always next year!


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