Agile working for a sustainable future
Back in March, when the first real impacts of COVID-19 were beginning to be felt by businesses in the UK, SimplyBiz reacted swiftly and decisively, moving into an agile way of operating, ensuring that we could provide the support our member firms needed at that time and indeed the weeks to come.
Here is just some of the support members of SimplyBiz can access - if this looks like something that you would welcome, please get in touch.
Events, learning & knowledge support
One of our biggest undertakings was to move our entire event programme from face-to-face to virtual, which was no small feat and we have been delighted with adviser engagement, with events since April attracting over 12,000 registrations to date!
As restrictions remain, it will not be possible for us to safely deliver face-to-face events just yet and, as such, we will continue to provide more opportunities via our virtual platform.
Whilst the regulator announced its intentions for the year back in January, its focus inevitably shifted when COVID-19 arrived, however, we began to see a refocus through the summer. In addition to SM&CR and suitability, we know that the FCA will be focussing on some issues exacerbated by the recent crisis, namely using technology, changing client propositions, client reviews and the financial resilience of advice firms.
We continue to provide firms with access to all our usual services, despite the current restrictions, as well as to offer additional support in key areas, such as SM&CR, DB transfers, vulnerability and more.
- Compliance visits continue virtually alongside our face-to-face visits, which will be offered where and when it is safe to do so
- Our helpdesks and specialist services have remained accessible throughout, working safely and remotely and will begin to return to the office again when it is advised and safe to do so, ensuring a continuation of service throughout
- Our virtual events continue to have regulator sessions
It’s fair to say that technology has really come to the forefront over the past few months and, whilst many firms had already adopted various solutions to support the advice that they give, others have expedited their plans.
We have a whole array of solutions available, and a wider support network behind each to forms with adoption.
Extended payment holiday
To help firms manage cash flow, we introduced a payment holiday at the start of the pandemic and due to member feedback and demand, we have extended this until the end of the year.
Client engagement and servicing
Client needs have changes over the past few months, both in terms of what they want and how they wish to receive it. To ensure members are able to meet these changing needs and, of course, still provide a quality service with restrictions in place, we have further enhanced our offering in this area.
- Our new video conferencing solution is fully embedded in Centra, our complete end-to-end solution, meaning a seamless solution for advisers and clients
- Our NextGen web solution has been enhanced to provide firms with a great way to engage clients digitally, backed up by a new suite of consumer facing material
- Training to allow firms to accept will writing instructions continues to be provided free of charge, now with optional virtual training either all in one go, or split to suit a firms needs
- As the impact on COVID-19 continues to be felt by investors, we have increased our insight and support in this area, increased the frequency our Investment Committee meets and adjusted our Strategic Asset Allocations accordingly. In addition, we have expanded our DB transfer panel as those with retirement pots hit by market falls look at their options.
Whilst we fundamentally believe that our profession will come through these challenging times and that firms will continue to adapt and thrive, we appreciate that some will start to think about an exist plan, whether short or long term.
To provide the very best options for those firms and indeed their clients, we have launched Horizon, a new service designed to provide a service for firms looking to realise some of the value within their business, through either full or partial exit and for those looking to grow their business through acquisition.
Horizon is also designed to help those firms looking to grow through acquisition. We will work with those firms to find the perfect partner form those firms looking to exit.
Horizon harnesses the many years’ experience of The SimplyBiz Group and adds to that the experience of market leading acquisition specialists and a bespoke consultancy service to deliver the most focused, adviser central advice buy-out solution on the market.
This is just some of the support available to members of SimplyBiz. We remained as committed as ever to ensure our members have the right support to run a sustainable business now and long into the future.