Leading by example: The importance of senior managers undertaking CPD


As a minimum, firms are required by regulation to ensure employees maintain adequate knowledge of eight core competencies (as set out in SYSC 28.2.2R:as transposed from the IDD), the Individual Conduct Rules, and how these apply to their role. Annual CPD requirements are designed to support and demonstrate this knowledge and assess an employee’s competency in their role.

For Senior Managers to fulfil their responsibility to implement and oversee training that supports compliance with regulation, it is essential that they consider; the nature of each individual’s role within the firm, how the Conduct Rules apply to this role in relation to the interactions and activities that it may entail, and the ways in which misapplication of the role could harm consumers and the market.

However, Senior Managers are not only responsible for overseeing the CPD of their team, but also maintaining their own training and competence. As well as the Individual Conduct Rules, Senior Managers must maintain knowledge of the second tier of rules and how they apply to them. Certified staff and senior management function holders must also “satisfy any applicable training and competence requirements” and be able to demonstrate “by experience and training” that they are suitable to perform the function they are intended to perform, in annual fitness and propriety assessments (FIT 2.2.1A G). CPD is a key part of evidencing that an individual has maintained the relevant experience and training to undertake their role effectively.

It’s important that you invest in identifying and learning about the emerging areas of development whose factors are going to have a more positive influence on the future of the business and your workforce

Yet, many Senior Managers struggle to see the worth of CPD, believing that the knowledge and experience gained throughout their career is a sufficient testament to their competency. CPD is sometimes seen as a tick box exercise to satisfy regulation, rather than an opportunity to grow and expand the knowledge base into new areas. An annual review of Data Protection, Anti-Money Laundering, TCF, Ethics, etc, is not the most exciting endeavour. Senior Managers are integral in shaping and driving compliance, accountability, and also the ongoing future development in organisations.

As English clergyman William Pollard once said, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” The emergence of AI, Finfluencers, effects of climate change, and the advent of key regulatory changes, such as Consumer Duty, demonstrates that the landscape of General Insurance is dynamic and ever evolving. Ongoing learning and development is key to staying informed and being able to respond and adapt.

CPD is essential for Senior Managers to keep abreast of regulatory changes and emerging trends, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to lead teams effectively, mitigate compliance risks, and position the organisation for long-term success in a competitive market.

What are the important areas of personal and professional development that Senior Managers should look to fulfil?

CPD for Senior Managers shouldn’t just be about taking as many advanced technical courses that you can find, or revisiting legal and regulatory frameworks to make sure that you are not putting your organisation at risk. It’s important that you invest in identifying and learning about the emerging areas of development whose factors are going to have a more positive influence on the future of the business and your workforce, such as:

  • Digital Transformation – Understanding the new ways of working and making your organisation more customer and people focused. Hybrid working, and the emergence at pace of technologies like AI, are already bringing their own challenges, so it’s important that you understand them and how to extract value from them.
  • Data Visualisation – Data is more accessible to us than it’s ever been. Putting aside the need to develop skills that make you comfortable managing and understanding data, what’s becoming more important for Senior Managers is the ability to drive value and make more informed decisions from the data available. Cutting through the noise of invaluable data, reducing wastage and using the right data to support your internal and external story telling is critical.
  • Trust & Transparency – The digital world is making your organisation more open to your customers and your workforce. Information and misinformation is abundant to everyone who interacts with your business, and understanding how to build trust and transparency is a necessity. These may mean boosting your softer skills, but it also needs Senior Managers to understand collaborative working skills, developing and embedding organisational and personal values, and exceptional communication skills at all levels.
  • Sustainability and DE&I – The world has not gone woke. Putting all media hysterics to one side, the current and future workforce cares about sustainability and inclusiveness. Whether the focus is on the environment, the communities within which we work, diverse talent and emerging skills, or making the financial services industry more attractive to a wider talent pool, Senior Managers must have an understanding of what matters most to those around us.
  • Customer Centricity – We are a people industry, and the regulator is right to put the customer front and centre of why we exist. As financial services professionals we do have a duty to protect the consumer, and Senior Managers should understand how to define and improve the customer journey, fair value and how to develop a competent workforce to support this.

The key is not to keep looking backwards or standing still. Whilst we all get wiser each year, and develop increasing mastery in the areas that we are comfortable with, there is a younger generation coming through who talk a language that we don’t always understand, and who are looking for different values from a career.

Senior Managers serve as role models for teams, and actively engaging with CPD demonstrates a commitment to ongoing learning and development which communicates to employees that investing in professional growth is more than fulfilling regulatory obligations – it is an integral part of their roles. This can help to foster a culture where continuous learning is valued and encouraged at all levels.

By fulfilling regulatory CPD requirements, Senior Managers uphold the integrity of the SM&CR framework and contribute to a culture of accountability and transparency. This instils confidence in regulators, stakeholders, and customers that Senior Managers are committed to taking responsibility for upholding high professional standards and preventing harm and increasing trust in the competency and knowledge of those operating within the market.

Through openly documenting their CPD activities and reflecting on their learning experiences, Senior Manages exemplify and underscore the importance of openness, self-assessment, and the ability to take responsibility for forwarding their own development. This contributes to an environment in which feedback and reflection is welcome, mistakes are learnt from, and continuous improvement is embraced as a collective endeavour.

Leading by example and embracing CPD can deliver tangible benefits for an organisation. Well-informed managers are better prepared to identify emerging risks, seize opportunities, and drive innovation. By investing in their own development, senior managers empower their teams to perform at their best and deliver exceptional outcomes for clients and stakeholders, setting their organisation amongst a competitive market.


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Rebecca Matyear Senior Content Writer Searchlight Insurance Training, part of UKGI Learning Solutions

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