We’re just a few days away from eLearning guru, Craig Weiss, revealing his much-anticipated Top 50 LMS Report for 2017, and yep, there are a few nerves kicking in.
In 2016 our LMS topped Craig’s rankings for the world’s top system for the financial sector for the second year running and was fourth overall across all sectors, so we’re super excited to find out if our hard work over the past 12 months can make it an FS table topping hat-trick and see our LMS move up in the overall rankings again.
With this on our minds, it made us ponder just how eventful 2016 had been for Unicorn, and what standards we set ourselves to live up to this year. Not only were we so happy about Craig’s ranking but there were plenty of awards to celebrate too.
Our games arm Amuzo had their industry-leading genius recognised with gold in the Creative Digital Impact category at the Dorset Business Awards while their Playmobil Police Chase game won the 2016 TOMMI Award for Best Kids’ App!
The TOMMI is the children’s software award of Germany. Every year since 2002 the TOMMI Prize has been awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair to the most innovative and outstanding software title developed specifically for children, showing Amuzo are appreciated far beyond these shores too. Pretty cool huh?
Then there was the awesome success of our partners, FSTP, who were named winners of the Most Effective Training Firm at the Compliance Register Awards.
FSTP work closely with us on developing all of our Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) content, and their knowledge and experience proved invaluable in the build up and throughout 2016 as many of our clients grappled with the new Senior Managers’ Regime and Certification amongst other complex mandatory topics.
We were also delighted to scoop a bronze at the eLearning Awards with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank for the platform implementation that has introduced MyLearning, and changed the way the whole organisation approaches L&D.
With our partners at Credit Suisse, who joined us for the evening, also taking home a silver in the Learning Technologies Team of the Year category it topped a pretty successful 2016 for us Unicorns.
The bar has been set pretty high for 2017 now, but hopefully Craig’s report will help us kick off the year as we mean to go on. Get crossing everything!
What a week it’s been! We know we’re well and truly into the festive season now that it’s acceptable to have Christmas trees up and Mariah is blasting out on every radio station. But aside from all the usual connotations, the arrival of December also wraps up what’s been an excellent and eventful awards season in the learning world.
Wednesday evening saw the return of the annual Gala Dinner and presentation ceremony for the Learning Technologies Awards – with the Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster welcoming over 800 of the industry’s elite for a night of revelry. Having already enjoyed an incredible win for Amuzo at the Dorset Business Awards last week – taking gold in the Creative Digital Impact category – we had our fingers crossed for the night ahead.
Having been welcomed to the evening by Donald Taylor, it was esteemed comediennes Katherine Ryan and Deborah Frances-White who got the night well and truly underway.
In fact, if you want to see what happened when they took something of a shine to our Business Development Manager Alex, look no further than this YouTube video.
With some seriously stiff competition across both the categories we were shortlisted for, there were no golds for us this year. However, we were delighted to scoop a bronze with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank for the platform implementation that has introduced MyLearning, and changed the way the whole organisation approaches learning and development.
We were also incredibly proud of our partners over at Credit Suisse who joined us for the evening as they took home a silver in the Learning Technologies Team of the Year category.
Success for Unicorn Partners at the Compliance Register Awards
As if one night of celebrations wasn’t enough, last night the team joined our partners at FSTP for the Compliance Register Awards. Testament to their hard work and incredible support for all the businesses they work with, FSTP were named winners of the Most Effective Training Firm category.
All in all it’s been quite a week for the group – as well as our partners and friends! We would like to extend our thanks to both the awards panels, and our wonderful team and clients who make our success possible. Here’s to 2017 and everything we’ve got in the pipeline!
Simon Mercer, Unicorn ComplianceServe Product Manager, and Julia Kirkland, Partner at FSTP, presented a recap on what’s happened so far, looked ahead to what are going to be the hot regulatory topics over the next 12-18 months and answered the biggest question of all, how on Earth are we going to do all this?? Julia even sang a little bit. It was beautiful.
Anyway here are the top five takeaways on compliance training and where we go next…
The Senior Managers Regime and accountability will remain firmly on agenda – last week the FCA fed back on the first tranche of it accountability regulation, which took effect in March, stating that many firms have misunderstood the guidance. In a nutshell, the screw is going to keep turning. With 55,000 more firms due to come under SMR by 2018, Julia’s key message to anyone still grappling with the challenges of SMR was do not put it in compliance or HR! It has to be championed by a Senior Manager and driven from the top down. The good news is the FCA is suggesting there won’t be a ‘big bang’ on the next tranche of SMR and Certification implementation, but as we’ve seen from the first phase a year’s gap is nothing in these terms. Which brings us neatly to…
How are you bench marking people ahead of the Certification Regime? – firms who have already had to adhere to SMR regulation only have until next February – that’s five months – to put a robust certification process in place. In a quick show of hands amongst the delegates in the room, only one firm who had moved over SMR had already got their certification regime running. Under certification you are asking people who weren’t previously approved persons to take on more responsibility, knowledge etc, so how are you benchmarking these people? What competencies and/or qualifications are you using as a baseline? What are the KPIs and the core competencies required for a role? How are you going to issue that individual with a certificate? And remember the Senior Manager has the ultimate responsibility for saying they’ve signed that person off. It’s a big deal.
What’s hot in 2017 and what’s relevant to you – Julia outlined how she and her FSTP colleagues had trawled through the FCA’s annual risk documentation and picked out what they believe to be the 12 biggest areas of interest over the next 12 months. She did threaten to rap at this juncture also…regardless this is the list.
- Conduct risk
- MiFID II
- Transaction reporting
- Certification Regime
- Business strategy and stress testing
BUT (and note the capital letters), even though some will be more relevant to certain businesses than others, the majority are interdependent on each other. They cannot be taken in isolation.
Modernising your learning approach – in the past we have dealt primarily with compliance departments, but this is changing. Within the L&D community learning is being modernised to move from push to pull learning and getting to point where learners have access to resources and tools to pull as well as utilise what’s pushed to them. This includes introducing more elements of microlearning, in bite-sized chunks that is much more informal and on demand in line with the 70: 20: 10 approach to learning. Unicorn’s eCreator authoring tool, built into ComplianceServe, has got a really significant role to play in this. In fact, by Christmas all existing ComplianceServe content will have been re-developed in eCreator, with the smaller chunks of micro learning, to follow. The benefit? By downloading the SkillsServe app learning can take place offline to sync when back online.
There is a brand new generic T&C system now built in to ComplianceServe – we’ve been building and integrating custom T&C systems and functions for clients for a long time but now there’s a generic version for smaller organisations to make use of. This includes:
- T&C Guidance – regulation is only going way way, there will be an ever greater need to evidence competency. Guidance is all about what does T&C mean for an organisation, how do you create a T&C scheme in the first place, what things need do you need to set up a T&C system in ComplianceServe
- Pre-defined forms and workflows
- Offline forms – there is too much to do online for some things. Can be completed, scanned and attached as part of site.
- Pre-built pathways – for e.g. monthly one-to-ones, quarterly action plan and final sign off, can be assigned to both regulated and non-regulated staff (couple of forms different)
The objective is to continue to help firms bring about genuine cultural and behavioural change and more effectively meet their regulatory obligations.
The FCA’s new accountability regime for banks, building societies, credit unions and designated investment firms, which came into force last month, again brought into focus that the need for effective training and robust processes for evidencing competence has never been greater.
This is why ComplianceServe has been enhanced and given a new look and feel, to help firms embed the knowledge and understanding of why this regulation matters and drive the behavioural changes that will lead to better outcomes for customers.
At a glance
- ComplianceServe’s fresh new appearance reflects the latest thinking in user experience.
- It is easier and quicker for employees to find the right learning and create personalised training plans.
- ComplianceServe’s new integrated CPD system automatically tracks completed online learning against a generic scheme based on FCA guidelines. It also allows the recording and tracking of other CPD activities such as face-to-face training, attending conferences or accredited body events, research and reading.
- Over the past six months, with the support of industry partners including FSTP and the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), 11 new eLearning pathways have been added to the ComplianceServe library to help firms respond to regulation.
- The new ComplianceServe also provides on-demand refresher training, using highly visual PDF summaries, to overcome the infamous ‘forgetting curve’.
Simon Mercer, ComplianceServe Product Manager, explains: “The new regulation has not only challenged firms to improve their compliance training practices but also provide robust evidence of their employees’ competency at whatever level they work. Staff must really understand what the regulation means and how to apply it and firms must be able to prove they can.
“The key is delivering personalised, ‘snackable’ chunks of learning on demand from their device of choice, while highlighting the potentially serious consequences of non-compliance for employee and employer. It lets them ‘fail’ in a safe environment where they can learn from the experience.”
The 11 new eLearning pathways immerse learners in realistic scenarios relevant to their job roles, with the opportunity to make decisions and see the consequences in a way that shapes new behaviours. The eLearning features various bite-size learning activities, including teaser videos, case studies and quick summaries, which all contribute to elevated engagement levels, knowledge retention and cultural change.
Simon adds: “We know new knowledge is rapidly lost if it’s not applied quickly following a training intervention and where there is no regular reinforcing activity. Instead of the once a year ‘sheep dip’ approach, ComplianceServe allows firms to push short bites of learning, tests and refreshers to learners on a regular basis to ensure understanding improves over time, behaviours change and culture shifts.”
New ComplianceServe learning pathways include:
• The new Regulatory Framework in Banking
• Conduct Rules
• Senior Managers Regime
• Foreign Tax Compliance Act 2010 (FATCA)
• The basics of CASS (Client Assets Sourcebook)
• Consumer Credit – Handling Arrears
• The Certification Regime
• Three Lines of Defence
• Vulnerable Customers
• Transaction Reporting
In 2016 Unicorn’s learning and performance platform, SkillsServe was ranked the world’s top LMS for the financial sector for the second successive year, and fourth overall across all sectors, in the Top 50 LMSs Report 2016*. For more information about ComplianceServe visit www.unicorntraining.com/complianceserve
* This report is compiled annually by Craig Weiss, named as the most influential person in the world for eLearning for the past two years.
SMR and the Certification Regime have been here almost a month now, but if you think they don’t affect you think again…
For those who believe they are not currently affected by the SMR – don’t get too smug and comfortable.
That was the stark warning issued by financial services training specialists and our partners, FSTP, earlier this month as they reflected on the arrival of the new Senior Managers Regime (SMR) for Banks, Building Societies, Credit unions and Designated Investment Firms and SIMR for Solvency II Insurance firms in their ‘Executive Matters’ eNewsletter.
FSTP expanded on how the regulators are now all about individual responsibility and accountability and everybody across Financial Services needs to prepare. Conduct risk remains top of the regulators’ agenda and dovetails neatly into the new dawn of individual accountability.
The message? It’s on the way to you too, and it looks like it will hit earlier than you think.
You know the drill by now. This new regime is designed to encourage individuals to take greater responsibility for their actions, and for firms to take full responsibility for the fitness and propriety of their staff, underpinned by a new set of Conduct Rules which set out the required standards of behaviour.
It’s never been more important to have the correct systems, training and controls in place to ensure every relevant member of staff conforms to the requirements. Staff must be competent to undertake their roles and understand their individual responsibilities.
As FSTP have stressed, even if you don’t think it impacts you now, it won’t be long before it does.
This is why Unicorn has been busy developing a number of new eLearning titles in partnership with FSTP, which have been added to our ComplianceServe library. And you can check out four short introductory videos, also included with each of the new eLearning titles, to get a flavour of what you need to think about.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about how ComplianceServe can help you meet your regulatory needs? Click here to visit the ComplianceServe mini-site.
Now here’s those vids…
Introduction To The New Banking Regime
The Certification Regime
Senior Managers Regime
News: ‘Landmark Financial Services Regulation Has Brought Clearer Training Focus’ Says Sector Expert
Unicorn Commercial Director, Mark Jones, believes the industry has seized the opportunity to “look at compliance in the context of cultural transformation” as landmark new Accountability regulation comes into force on Monday (7 March).
Mark insists the training industry’s response has been pivotal in firms preparing for the Accountability Regime, which includes a new Senior Managers Regime, Certification Regime and Code of Conduct, in an overhaul of the regulatory framework by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
As the new regulation around accountability comes into effect, being able to show clear lines of reporting, roles and responsibilities, and producing evidence of competency within the wider context of compliance is critical for regulated firms.
Mark thinks bringing a more targeted and streamlined approach to T&C and compliance for firms has helped them meet the Accountability deadline, while also providing a firm foundation from which to support them in meeting future regulatory deadlines.
He said: “Compliance should be treated as part of, not in isolation to, an individual’s career development plan, and we’ve seen a shift towards that as the Accountability Regime deadline has loomed.
“There continues to be a real demand for ‘snackable’ just-in-time and role relevant learning delivered online that not only embeds the core knowledge in line with the new FCA regulation amongst staff, but also heightens awareness of the implications of staff going off track in encouraging genuine behavioural change.
“New diagnostic tools, Apps and mobile learning, with on and offline syncing, video and role-specific scenarios are all critical elements in creating impactful personalised learning programmes that instantly connect a learner with their day-to-day job role, and embed the learning required for firms to meet all FCA regulatory demands.”
Unicorn’s comprehensive online compliance solution, ComplianceServe, provides firms with the means to reduce risk through relevant practical training designed to encourage the right behaviours.
ComplianceServe enables the deployment of content, monitoring, reporting and automatically assigning learning from its sector-leading content catalogue, CPD, creating role-based pathways and sending email reminders to effectively deliver the right learning through desktop or mobile device.
Meanwhile Unicorn’s partners, leading financial services consulting and training specialists, FSTP, continue to deliver complementary face-to-face training for more senior roles and/or those requiring highly complex and/or specialist knowledge.
Mark added: “The Accountability Regime leaves no hiding place in the FCA’s aims of raising standards and restoring public trust and confidence in the regulated sectors.
“The FCA has already proved it has no problem biting as hard as it barks, as many large fines and sanctions imposed on some of the world’s biggest financial institutions have shown.
“Only effective, robust training strategies will keep firms out of the FCA’s jaws and it is up to us to keep delivering the best solutions to help them.”
For more information about ComplianceServe visit www.unicorntraining.com/complianceserve
Helping staff stay on top of their regulatory and ethical responsibilities around such emotive issues as vulnerable customers and financial promotions must remain a priority for the financial services training industry.
The BCCA is a leading trade association for the UK’s alternative lender market, and they have teamed up with Unicorn to offer online compliance training to their members for the first time, through Unicorn’s ComplianceServe training solution.
Last month BCCA CEO, Jason Wassell, revealed their relationships with vulnerable customers are part of “nearly every discussion” he has had with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
This followed the FCA’s challenge to firms to review their approach to consumer vulnerability, with some customers being confronted by a “computer says no” response when they seek assistance and support from firms.
Meanwhile, financial promotions for consumer credit are amongst the issues also under scrutiny from the regulators, with both a high-profile media and political focus on the advertisement of high cost, short- term credit products.
Simon will be on the Unicorn stand at the BCCA conference, speaking to delegates about their approaches to staff learning and development on these and other credit industry topics. He insists when staff lack the knowledge, empathy and ethics to deal with such issues effectively, the consequences go way beyond being purely financial.
“It only takes one bad news story to destroy a firm’s reputation; one customer who has been treated unfairly, one ad that is viewed as exploitative, appearing on the news or held to task by the consumer advice media.
“The regulator will make its own judgments on penalties and sanctions for companies found in breach of its standards, but realistically it can be public condemnation and PR impact that can prove more damaging long-term.
“Having a training approach where such issues are included as part of a firm’s wider ethical business culture, and not treated in isolation as a ‘tick box’ exercise to appease the regulators, can go a long way to avoiding such reputational damage.”
Earlier this year, Unicorn Training joined forces with FSTP to introduce the enhanced, sector-specific compliance learning solution, ComplianceServe, which includes integrated T&C guidance and CPD management.
As two of the UK’s most prominent financial services training providers, this partnership brings a more targeted, streamlined approach to compliance, to help regulated firms embed the genuine cultural and behavioural change needed to deliver better outcomes for customers.
FSTP was recently named ‘Business Partnership of the Year 2015’ by the Debt Resolution Forum (DRF) and Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA), while in January Unicorn’s learning and performance platform, SkillsServe, was ranked top LMS for financial services, and fifth overall, in the global Top 50 LMS Report 2015.
Unicorn has been creating L&D and compliance solutions for the UK’s ever-changing financial services sector for over 25 years. FSTP provides first class training and consultancy services across all sectors of the financial services industry.
Being the cheerful sorts we are at Unicorn, we love a bit of good news!
So we were beyond chuffed for our partners, FSTP, when they won the Debt Resolution Forum (DRF) and Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA) ‘Business Partnership of the Year Award 2015’ last week!
Consumer Credit is just one area we are working with leading financial services consulting and training specialists FSTP on in bringing a more targeted and streamlined approach to compliance for FCA regulated firms. It’s always fab to have it recognised you’re working with the best of the best ☺
Philippa Grocott, Partner at FSTP, has written a great piece about how, as a partnership, ourselves and FSTP are supporting clients with blended learning and why a blended solution is right for today’s financial service firms.
Through a worked example, she provides a case study of how FSTP helped a Learning and Development Manager from Bank X who required training on the new Individual Accountability Regime in Banking identify what needed to be studied by who, the best format for delivery (face to face or eLearning) and where their budget should be spent.
In the blog Philippa writes: “The blended approach has improved beyond expectations over time, and solutions, using both the classroom and virtual delivery methods, have rightly earned their place and are a must in any annual L&D programme for all organisations.”
It’s a must-read for any FCA regulated firm currently trying to get their head around how to best meet the demands of the new Accountability Framework before the March deadline.
You can check out the full blog here – Supporting Clients with Blended Learning
In December 2014 FSTP won the Thomson Reuters 2014 Best Compliance Consultancy Firm Award, voted for by FSTP clients. Meanwhile in January 2015 our learning and performance platform, SkillsServe, was ranked as the top LMS for the financial services sector, and fifth overall, in the Top 50 LMSs Report 2015. Congratulations again FSTP!
The new Accountability Framework in banking is one of the hottest topics in the FCA regulated world – with less than 6 months until the deadline Unicorn Product Manager, Simon Mercer, explains how Unicorn’s union with FSTP is helping firms rise to the challenge.
When the FCA launched its 2015-16 Business Plan in March, all eyes inevitably looked straight at the deadlines.
‘Senior Manager’s Regime’, ‘MiFID II’, ‘Mortgage Credit Directive’, ‘Certification Regime’, ‘Code of Conduct’ etc are all major changes to the regulatory framework, with even greater consequences and sanctions for non-compliance.
But, as usual, the deadlines are tight, for example, the new accountability framework for individuals in banks, building societies and credit unions comes into force on 7 March 2016 – now less than six months away.
Earlier this year we joined forces with leading financial services consulting and training specialists, FSTP, to bring a more targeted and streamlined approach to compliance for FCA regulated firms.
Now, with FSTP’s help, we’re adding new eLearning titles to our comprehensive compliance training solution, ComplianceServe, to help organisations embed the cultural and behavioural changes demanded within the new framework.
When it comes to the Accountability Framework there are four supporting courses…
- An Introduction to the New Banking Regime
- An Introduction to the New Senior Managers Regime
- The Certification Regime
- The New Code of Conduct
These titles are designed to meet the demand for ‘snackable’ chunks of learning that can be digested little and often, for a more pervasive learning experience that supports the goal of continuous learning.
Learners have to understand and, most importantly, value the possible implications of their actions in terms of how it affects their promotion prospects, earning power, professional reputation and personal pride. This is why compliance should be treated as part of, not in isolation to, an individual’s whole career development plan.
The by-product of this is the benefit it brings to your business, both commercially, and with regards to regulatory compliance when the FCA calls.
All of these new titles are being added to the ComplianceServe library at no additional cost, and like all our compliance titles, we’ll continue to update them in line with ongoing changes in the regulations.
Utilising FSTP’s capabilities in instructor-led training, we’re also able to provide our clients with a truly blended approach – combining our eLearning modules with face-to face-workshops – for the more complex and risk laden roles i.e. Senior Manager and Senior Responsibility function holders.
Want to know more?
Leading financial services consulting and training specialists, FSTP, has joined forces with online learning and performance developers, Unicorn Training, to introduce an enhanced sector-specific compliance learning solution that includes integrated T&C guidance and CPD management.
As two of the UK’s most prominent financial services training providers the new strategic partnership brings a more targeted, streamlined approach to compliance for FCA regulated firms.
Firms and their employees will be able to access industry-leading online compliance training specific to their sector, which is constantly evolving in line with regulatory change and emerging industry challenges.
The partnership builds on the early success of Unicorn’s flagship online regulatory training solution, ComplianceServe, launched last summer to help firms manage their compliance needs through one secure portal that combines a library of high-quality learning assets with advanced content, development and management tools.
In December 2014 FSTP won the Thomson Reuters 2014 Best Compliance Consultancy Firm Award, voted for by FSTP clients. In January 2015 Unicorn’s learning and performance platform, SkillsServe, was ranked as the top LMS for the financial services sector in the Top 50 LMSs Report 2015*.
Mark Jones, Unicorn Commercial Director, said: “With FSTP we are enriching existing content and developing new titles within the ComplianceServe library, including creating sector-specific case studies and scenarios. With integrated T&C and CPD tracking, ComplianceServe will be the market’s broadest, most comprehensive compliance training solution.
“Compliance goes far beyond just training, it’s embedding genuine wider behavioural change. ComplianceServe has been well received and with FSTP’s expertise and experience in consultancy and face-to-face training we will be able to deliver a truly blended and tailored learning experience.
“FSTP are hugely respected within financial services. We have worked with FSTP in a few different ways previously and this is a formalisation of that relationship to bring real compliance benefits for those working in heavily regulated environments where time is precious.”
Philippa Grocott, Partner at FSTP, added: “We recognise the importance of delivering blended learning solutions that deliver at the right level to the right audience, with engaging content which can be accessed at the right time.
“Unicorn is well known throughout the financial services industry for its quality online learning solutions. It makes perfect sense for two award-winning firms to combine capabilities to deliver ComplianceServe, an essential requirement for any financial services firm that wants to stay ahead of the regulatory focus.”
Unicorn has been creating learning and development and compliance solutions for the UK’s ever-changing FS sector for over 25 years. *As well as being ranked top financial services LMS, SkillsServe was also 5th overall in the Top 50 LMSs Report, compiled by global eLearning analyst Craig Weiss.
FSTP provides first class training and consultancy services across all sectors of the financial services industry.