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.
We have seen huge engagement in the services and support that we have provided and as we move into the next phase, which will coincide with the Government's plans to ease lockdown, we are delighted to be able to continue to offer these services and to announce further plans for the coming weeks.
Events, learning & knowledge support
After successfully moving our Spring and Summer event programme onto our new virtual event platform, which attracted over 5,500 registrations, we are now looking ahead to the second half of the year.
Members have told us that their preferred way of learning going forward is a mixture of face-to-face and virtual learning - 80% told us this! With this in mind, we are now planning a hybrid programme from September onwards, which will see our flagship events – our Learning and Development Events and Investment Forum, take place as usual at 21 venues, with live streams from a number of those venues available via our event platform for those not wishing to attend in person.
Whilst the regulatory announced its intentions for the year back in January, its focus inevitably shifted when COVID-19 arrived, however, we can now see this focus as it, and firms, start to move back towards normality. 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.
Our core regulatory services continue to ensure firms have the support they need to address these and wider areas and continue to be accessible via a number of ways and due to your feedback, we are pleased to be able to continue this.
- Compliance visits will continue virtually alongside our face-to-face events, which will be reintroduced once 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 next month, ensuring a continuation of service throughout
- Our virtual events continue to have regulator sessions and indeed we are delighted to now offer new virtual compliance clinics in July and the team will of course will be an integral part of our events both face-to-face and virtual going forward
Extended payment holiday
Due to member feedback and demand, we are pleased to announce that our payment holiday window has been extended until September. There will be windows to apply for in July, August and September, each one lasting 3 months.
Client engagement and servicing
As client needs inevitably change during the current situation and indeed beyond, we continue to ensure you have access to the very best solutions and services:
Our new video conferencing solution is now fully embedded in Centra, meaning a seamless solution for you and your clients
- Our NextGen web solution has been enhanced to provide you 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 you
- 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. This is an area we know will be getting more attention from the regulator and we will be issuing more support and guidance in this area shortly
This is just the start of the next wave of support - 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.