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  • Robert Bell

Staff Training In Modern Financial Services

The rapid pace of regulatory change in financial services regulation is difficult enough; managing staff training in this landscape is increasingly problematic. A 2016 report by Penman and Stephens found that keeping policies current with changing regulations is the number one challenge for 47% of organisations, yet only 10% of smaller UK firms have an advanced compliance training programme.


A comprehensive learning and development strategy is critical for all modern financial services firms. Gone are the days when training is a one-and-done, tick box, affair. With the implementation of the Consumer Duty, staff training is one of the bedrocks from which positive culture and changing behaviors are needed to achieve those vital good customer outcomes. Training needs to be a long-term consideration – a continuous objective.

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But here’s the good news. Firms Investing in employee skills benefit in more ways than simple compliance with the regulatory framework. Retaining talent that has been developed in-house is more likely where staff are confident and well supported with training – a cyclical scenario in which there are only benefits. Research across the previous decade consistently shows that in firms with solid learning cultures, the retention rate is between 20-50% higher. This means that those firms don’t need to start again with brand-new staff, with the loss of experience that this brings. Not to mention the fact that even for entry level staff, it can cost 40% of their annual salary just to replace them.


A good learning and development strategy can support staff at all levels to develop skills that aren’t just an advantage in completion of tasks but will actively help firms to demonstrate compliance with the Consumer Duty. This requires training that offers a combination of theoretical knowledge and leaves staff with a practical ability to understand and execute processes.


And that sums up what has changed so much about what we need from training in the 2020s. “Knowledge” on its own doesn’t cut it anymore – training needs to supply the skills that staff need in order to have the ability to risk-assess in real time, make decisions on the spot, and apply knowledge to practical situations, all in a rapidly changing regulatory environment.


Key to the Consumer Duty is the ability of front-line staff to communicate complex concepts and terms to customers with a range of capacity and experience themselves – and being able to spot when someone might need some extra support.


Online training has increased in popularity and recent advances in technology mean it is a vital part of learning and development strategy. Courses should ideally marry the knowledge and the theory to the practical, explaining the rule, why it exists, and how to use it in practice. The ability to do this at a convenient time – and to return to the training to revise if wanted - gives staff the skills they need to do their jobs and contribute to good customer outcomes.


Investing in staff knowledge and skills doesn’t need to be resource-consuming either. Our range of courses are available online, and our onboarding process is simple. Soft skills included in a number of our online courses, including Complaints Handling and Financial Difficulties courses – vital to encourage staff to foster connections with each customer.


Our courses are engaging and interactive, offering the opportunity for staff to ‘try out’ the knowledge before putting it into practice on the job. For larger groups we also provide corporate packages that offer the best value for your cohort. If you would like to know more about our training, contact us: Robert.bell@rbcompliance.co.uk



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