The arrival of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in April 2013 heralded the new FCA Training and Competence (T&C) sourcebook rules – updated and extended regulations to ensure employees have the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to discharge the responsibilities of their role and demonstrate high ethical behaviour.
Where T&C sits within an organisation’s wider training offering has varied between firms. For some it’s fallen to compliance, others presented the challenge to their Learning and Development teams, and some relied on HR, or a collaboration of all of these. But wherever it sits, the T&C challenges for all organisations are similar.
How does an organisation determine if an employee is competent to carry out authorised activity, track if employees are appropriately qualified and record that employees are correctly authorised?
How can employees be supervised with appropriate planning and evidence, ensuring that they adequately maintain required levels of competence and meet the FCA Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements?
How can organisations maintain appropriate record keeping to support T&C rules and report on all of the appropriate information or exchange with external systems?
As financial services specialists, we knew T&C was going to be the big issue for many of our clients as April 2013 loomed. We also knew cost effectiveness was a primary concern for everyone; no one was going to have masses of cash to suddenly invest into whole new T&C systems that did little else.
The challenge for us, therefore, was to develop and integrate new and appropriate T&C tools into our existing learning and development platform, SkillsServe.
Throughout this period we talked to clients. A lot!
This reflected a company decision to take a more personal and developmental approach to T&C, which at Towry is called Professional Standards Framework (PSF).
One of our clients, Towry, a leading wealth advice firm with 20 offices around the UK, helped us pioneer the T&C tools that have now become an integral feature of SkillsServe’s overall capabilities.
Ian Howatson, Head of Learning & Development, Towry, explains their challenge and how they addressed it.
“Two years ago, Towry changed its approach to Training and Competency (T&C), moving T&C from being under day-to-day compliance management to Learning and Development (L&D).
“This reflected a company decision to take a more personal and developmental approach to T&C, which at Towry is called Professional Standards Framework (PSF).
“An important part of making this transition was ensuring the firm had the right T&C software in place.
“We already had a system that met many of our needs. However we wanted something that would not only help us record an individual’s fitness and probity to practice, but help manage their career development and act as an ongoing training and assessment platform.
“We also needed one system to manage and record all of these requirements, with the aim of making management information easier to collate and interpret.
“However it also needed to be flexible. Given the fast-paced nature of Financial Services, the system couldn’t be too prescriptive. It needed to be adaptable to the way Towry meets with the T&C requirements as the business grows.
“At an early stage, Unicorn Training’s SkillsServe platform caught our attention. Not only were they prepared to innovate, but they also had a partnership with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). It was clear there would be benefits here with the then forthcoming Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements under the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), introduced at the start of 2013.
“We liked the L&D elements of the system; the majority of our learning interventions are designed and delivered in-house, and therefore the ability to upload eLearning content, add policy briefing documents and deliver exam assessments, all within a manageable catalogue was attractive.
“However at the time, the system did not have the T&C recording capabilities we required. Unicorn therefore took onboard the challenge to build them.
“Towry fully introduced its new ‘Evolve’ platform, hosted on Unicorn Training’s SkillsServe, across the company in June 2011.
“Having a fully integrated system has made a huge difference to Towry. More than 80 per cent of employees log in to ‘Evolve’ each month, which is a reflection of how seriously we take our T&C requirements and the capabilities of the system.
“Our T&C supervisors and managers have responded positively to the change, particularly the ‘My employee’ portal. They are able to better manage their direct reports by reviewing a dashboard of outstanding actions, with the knowledge that the tools and capabilities exist within the system to fully complete them.
“Personal Assistant delegation rights has also been a popular addition, helping free up the managers on administration, meaning they can spend more time observing, coaching and developing their teams.
“Already we are seeing the benefits of having invested the time and money in adopting ‘Evolve’, such as better management of training logistics, more accurate L&D data for our reward statements and an increase in the way knowledge is shared and distributed across the business, ultimately benefiting our clients.
“The implementation and development journey has been a long one, and the system continues to ‘evolve’. However we certainly have no regrets about moving to a system that better supports a 21st century approach to T&C.”
Managing and being compliant with the latest T&C regulations may provide a challenge. But the opportunity for organisations to build on this to aid not only individual career progression but better business performance is significant.
SkillsServe now makes it easy to manage attainment and maintenance of competence by allowing administrators to define their own T&C scheme into programmes of required activity.
Advances in mobile ready content and mobile CPD tools in 2014 will only enhance the opportunities that T&C offers to both individuals and organisations alike.