TAL’s Beau Riley reflects on how the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the changing nature of adviser learning…

The disruption brought on by the global pandemic has had lasting impacts on the financial advice sector in a number of ways.

Financial advisers have had to adapt to upskill themselves via online platforms and ensure they continue to meet the industry’s elevated education requirements, and we have seen the industry continue to evolve to embrace technology. Organisations have had to pivot quickly in how they deliver and enhance their educational offerings to support advisers and licensees alike.

Advisers are now familiar with learning online and connecting with their clients online. In a year like no other, TAL Risk Academy addressed the closure of live venues and quickly pivoted from its popular face to face Masterclasses to Virtual Classrooms. This rapid transition ensured that advisers could access a comprehensive learning program, that provided the same educational opportunities and quality of presentation as previous.

Technology will continue to play a key role in adviser education

The COVID-19 pandemic …[created] a steep learning curve for many advisers

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed fast forward on digital platforms as tools to engage, work, and learn, creating a steep learning curve for many advisers. Using technology for education can only lead to better professional development and growth, and ultimately improve client outcomes. By embracing new ways of learning and developing new skills, advisers can enjoy greater flexibility and the ability to access more content than ever before.

Being capable and knowledgeable is critical to advisers’ ability to provide the highest level of support to their clients, and the flexibility of online learning enables them to spend more time supporting the growth of their business and client base.

For advisers in regional areas, online learning has been extremely beneficial in removing their barriers of travel time and being away from the office and their families, whist being able to access leading educational content and support.

We have always believed in providing advisers with practical support and guidance to go above and beyond their annual training requirements, with the aim to improve the quality and depth of advice they provide. Through the TAL Risk Academy, we have delivered virtual masterclasses – a place where advisers can interact, discuss case studies, and ask questions to ensure they are provided with as much value digitally as they would face-to-face. Last year we saw strong growth in our Risk Academy course enrolments, which is testament to the demand for digital classrooms.

Adopting technology alongside in-person training will supercharge adviser education options

Ongoing education is fundamental to a financial adviser’s ability to continue to grow and expand its skill base and offering.

We recognise that advisers must be supported for continuing education to be ingrained in their business. In 2021 we are more determined than ever to provide a valuable service that helps advisers businesses grow and provide value to their clients.  This includes a commitment to helping new entrants into the industry with structured training options to help meet their professional year requirements.

…while there are benefits to digital learning, there is still a great opportunity for advisers to learn from being with their peers

As we look towards the future, I believe face-to-face training will continue to be in demand amongst a majority of advisers. Humans learn through shared experiences, and while there are benefits to digital learning, there is still a great opportunity for advisers to learn from being with their peers and being part of the professional community.

Having a mix of adviser education formats, including online, face-to-face, and on demand, will ensure advisers are able to capitalise on this new-found flexibility and find options that suit all schedules, ultimately resulting in a stronger industry for all.

Beau Riley is Head of Licensees and Partnerships at TAL

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