paraplannerParaplaner of the Year Award

This highly prestigious award has established itself as the ultimate award for UK Paraplanners, whatever their levels of experience. It's designed to test a Paraplanner’s core knowledge and skills, and provides a platform for Paraplanners to demonstrate their all round excellence.

The CISI Financial Planning Gala Awards 2016 entries are now closed.  Thank you to everyone who has entered the awards.

Award sponsor

Supported by Wizard Learning

About the award

The award was launched in 2008 and has become the ultimate award for all Paraplanners. It has been designed to take account of the very broad range of skill levels and abilities Paraplanners have and to make sure that all entrants have a good chance of success whatever their level of experience or knowledge. 

The lucky winner will be entitled to a fantastic range of prizes, including a place at the CISI Financial Planning Annual Conference in October and access to the Wizard Learning CPD system for 12 months plus online exam support for 3 years. A special technical award will also be made to the Paraplanner with the best result in the technical questionnaire. The winners will be announced at the glittering Gala Awards Dinner  at the CISI Financial Planning Annual Conference on the evening of 4 October 2016.


Award open to applications 16 May 2016
Closing date for applications 5pm 17 June 2016
Shortlisted firms notified whether or not they have been selected as finalists Late June/ Early July 2016
Face to face interviews: September 2016
Judges' decision announced CISI Gala Awards Dinner, Tuesday 4 October 2016. 

Why should you apply? 

Being the winner of the Paraplanner of the Year Award will bring not only deserved recognition and kudos within the profession, but also a valuable range of prizes too. We are sure that leading Financial Planning and IFA practices will want to have the Paraplanner of the Year on their team!

The winner will benefit from the following prizes

The Paraplanner of the Year Trophy
Registration for the CISI Financial Planning Annual Conference, 3-5 October 2016 (if you've already booked, this will transfer to our 2017 conference), including onsite hotel accommodation for the nights of 3-4 October
Access to Wizard Learning’s structured CPD system for 12 months plus online exam support for 3 years
Use of the Paraplanner of the Year logo for marketing materials.
An invitation to the CISI Gala Awards Dinner on 6 October 2016 at Celtic Manor Resort

How to enter

All Paraplanners practising in the UK are eligible to enter the competition which comprises four compulsory elements:

  1. Complete the online application formbefore 5pm 10 June 2016
  2. Complete the technical assessment provided by Wizard Learning, which is conducted online and live. A log in will be emailed to you within 5 working days of registration 
  3. Complete the creative writing section – again an essential skill for Paraplanners - by submitting a 1000 essay on your choice of two set essay topics
  4. Submit a testimonial from an IFA or Financial Planner you work with to submit a recommendation outlining why they believe that you should be crowned Paraplanner of the Year.

The Essay Questions

You should submit your essay of no more than 1,000 words on your choice of the following two topics:

  1. What is a Paraplanner worth?
  2. Design a three year training programme for a trainee Paraplanner with no experience of working within a Financial Planning firm.

Shortlisted candidates will face a fifth element, as they will be invited to an interview with the judges in the first two weeks of September in London.


  • Registrations for the 2016 Paraplanner of the year award are being accepted from 16 May to 17:00 on 17 June 2016. All entries must be fully completed
  • The awards are open to employed Paraplanners as well as those working in a freelance or outsourced role, as long as they are currently practicing in the UK.
  • Applicants do not need to be members of the CISI.

The deadline for submitting parts 2, 3 and 4 is noon on 10 July 2015

Special Technical Award

The entrant with the highest score on the technical assessment will receive £1,000 of online training credits from Wizard Learning to be used by the winner or others in the winning firm over the next 2 years.  (If the Paraplanner of the Year has the highest score, this award will go to the entrant with the next highest score).

The winners details will be published on the Website and in various professional publications subsequent to the announcement and the award being presented at the CISI Financial Planning Conference.

Winners of the Paraplanner of the year award

  • 2016: Jenny Ryan, Paraplanner, Baigrie Davies
  • 2015: Adam Wareing, Clarion Wealth Planning
  • 2014: Dan Atkinson, EQ Investor
  • 2013 Gemma Siddle CFPTM, Eldon Financial Planning
  • 2012: Jane Holt, Mackenzie Financial Planning
  • 2011: Gary Tunstall CFPTM, Brook-Dobson Brear 
Want to find out what the judges think? Read the blog written by Patrick Ingram of Parmenion on his observations as an award judge over the past two years. Find out why being IFP's Paraplanner of the year means more than just winning prizes

Application and judging process

To enter, you'll need to be working as a Paraplanner in the UK. The process for entries and for the judging of the Award is as follows.

All elements must be submitted to the CISI before noon on 17 June 2016

Stage 1: Entrants must complete the online registration form before the deadline for registration of 3 July 2015
Stage 2: Within five working days of registering, entrants will be sent an email log in by Wizard Learning to enable them to complete the technical assessment online. The assessment is completed live online and is designed to test the entrant's depth of technical knowledge
Stage 3: Provide a reference or testimonial from an adviser they work with stating why, in the adviser’s opinion, the entrant should be awarded the title Paraplanner of the Year. This should be no more than 500 words and should set out:
  • What qualities and personality traits set this individual apart
  • Their attitude
  • An example of something they have done which goes above and beyond what the adviser would expect from a Paraplanner
  • Why they feel that the individual deserves the title Paraplanner of the Year
Stage 4: This is an assessment of the Paraplanner’s own written ability. It is a chance for you to show that you are able to construct a written piece of work within a limited number of words and that you are able to establish and justify your viewpoint with appropriate reasoning (much like a suitability letter). The judges will be looking for candidates to demonstrate their ability to put together a logical coherent argument for a particular course of action.  This should be an essay and no more than 1,000 words. Entrants have a choice of two essay topics on which to submit their response.

Points will be awarded for each of the three stages and the shortlisted candidates for the Paraplanner of the Year will be those individuals with the highest scores. Candidates will be notified on 3 August whether they have made it through to the final interview stage. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview by the judging panel which will take place during the first two weeks of September in London. 

There are three judges

Alan Dick, CFPTM Chartered MCSI

Director, Forty Two Financial Planning

Sam Rees-Adams

Head of External Accreditation, CISI

Gemma Siddle, CFPTM APP Chartered FCSI

Director of Client Services, Eldon Financial Planning
If you have any queries regarding the Paraplanner of the Year award, please email