The benefits of a corporate training programme

As well as working with individuals who want to start a new career in Financial Advice, Simply Academy also offers a range of corporate solutions to meet the specific requirements of our corporate clients.

Corporate solutions are a very effective way to train your company’s employees, and we have delivered successful training programmes to large and small companies around the world.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the benefits of corporate training solutions and how to go about setting up a corporate training programme for your business.

What are corporate solutions?

Corporate solutions is a wide-reaching term that covers services put into place at a corporate level. They are based upon specialist knowledge, industry best practices and modern technologies, and can be used to serve both internal requirements and those of the company’s business partners.

This could include corporate finance solutions to address issues such as how a business can improve its financial efficiency and how to get financial support for a business. It can refer to corporate management solutions and, of course, it also covers corporate training solutions.

How do corporate training solutions work?

Our Corporate Client Team have designed and delivered corporate training solutions for many of the world’s leading banking and financial companies.

They take the time to know your business and your training goals so that you’ll receive a training solution that meets your exact needs. You can choose from our well-established range of financial services courses such as CeMAP or DipFA, or alternatively our team can create a tailored solution to suit your business’ specific requirements and circumstances.

You can contact our Corporate Client Team on Freephone 0808 208 0002 or by email at

What are the benefits of corporate training solutions?

Of course, one of the major benefits of a corporate training programme is that you will receive training that precisely meets the training requirements of your business. But there are a number of other corporate training benefits as well:

More Efficient Training

Instead of sending your employees to study training courses individually, a corporate training programme allows you to train several of your staff at one time. The training can take place either at your own company premises or at one of our six training centres in city centre locations across England Wales. This is a much more efficient way to train your staff for the best possible results.

Increased Performance and Productivity

Effective training helps staff to improve their skills so that they can perform their role to a higher standard, but many employees feel that lack of training is stopping them from achieving their full potential. Investing in corporate training will lead to your employees feeling more enthusiastic and confident about their abilities. They’ll see better results in their work and your business will see improved productivity.

Boost Staff Morale and Motivation

Investing in training shows your employees that they are valued and helps to create a positive and supportive work environment. Employees who feel appreciated at work will have greater job satisfaction, leading to higher motivation and morale which then feeds back into better performance.

Better Staff Retention

Staff who receive poor training or no training at all often feel dissatisfied at work, and are more likely to look elsewhere for employment within their first year. Employees who receive excellent training opportunities are far less likely to leave their job so by providing high quality corporate training, you could see better staff retention rates. This will also have the effect of reducing your company’s recruitment costs.

Attract Top Talent

Training is viewed as a desirable employee benefit and ambitious candidates are likely to look more favourably upon employers who provide a strong training programme. An effective corporate training programme will enhance your company’s reputation as an employer, and make it easier for you to attract top talent to your business.

Simply Academy are the UK’s largest training provider for the banking and finance sector, and we have been providing high quality training programmes since 2006. Our courses are trusted by individuals and businesses of all sizes, and our experienced tutors and clear course materials give your employees their best opportunity to pass first time.

If you’d like to discuss corporate training solutions for your company, email our Corporate Client Team on or call us on Freephone 0808 208 0002.

What qualifications do you need to be a financial planner?

Financial planners are professionals that are paid to help individuals and businesses alike create investment strategies with the ultimate aim of helping to meet long-term financial goals.

Specialising in everything from tax planning and risk management to asset allocation and retirement planning, financial planners typically operate by first consulting with their clients directly in order to get a firm understanding of their specific needs and wants. From this point, a suitable level of financial investments for their clients will be sourced, based on capital size, risk tolerance and goals. Finally, a programme will be set up to help the client understand their new financial plan.

But, how do you become a financial planner and what qualifications, if any, do you need? Additionally, are there any financial courses that can provide the perfect foundation? In this blog, we will answer these questions and more as we take a closer look at how to become a financial planner.

What do I need to be a financial planner?

While you can work within the financial industry as a junior employee without a special qualification, in order to become a professional financial planner in the UK, you need to be certified. Lower level qualifications will allow you to practice in other roles within the financial advisory industry, including paraplanning jobs, for example. However, to become a fully certified financial planner, you will need to attain a Level 7 Diploma which is awarded by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

Be under no illusions – obtaining Certified Financial Planner status is not easy and requires time, commitment and a lot of hard work. It’s also important to note that the globally recognised Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential is not financial planner training itself. It refers to the qualification needed to prove you have met key requirements in four major areas. These are education, experience, ethics, and examination.

Do you need a licence to be a financial planner?

While you don’t require a ‘licence’ to practice as a financial planner in the UK, as discussed above, you do need to achieve CFP status by obtaining a Level 7 CISI Diploma in Financial Planning. Although this in itself could be considered a kind of financial planning licensure, a qualification is not the same as a license. However, the accreditation process involved in becoming a financial planner does ensure only fully-trained and qualified professionals are able to practice as a financial planner. This protects clients and their money, making sure only those with the correct training and experience can operate as financial planners.

Do you need a degree to be a financial planner?

Although it is not a formalised legal requirement, in order to qualify for the necessary further training needed to become an certified financial planner, holding a university degree in a relevant subject, such as business and finance, mathematics, economics or business accounting, will certainly strengthen your case to qualify, as well as make your studies easier.

Remember, the best career paths for financial planners is a structured one that slowly builds up skills and hones specialist knowledge, training and first-hand experience as you climb the qualifications ladder. A typical path for an aspiring financial planner may look like this:

  • Achieve three A to C A-Level grades in relevant subjects (maths, economics, business studies, etc).
  • Graduate with a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a relevant subject.
  • Complete an RDR-compliant course – this is a qualification recognised by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). For example, the Investment Advice Diploma or the Diploma for Financial Advisors.
  • Meet relevant work experience standards – typically one-year supervised experience is expected – maybe as part of a financial apprenticeship course – or a minimum of three years of unsupervised practice experience in the financial planning industry.
  • Achieve CFP certification by completing the CISI’s level 7 Diploma in Advanced Financial Planning.
  • Finally, gain CISI membership at MCSI Level or above, which shows your commitment to ethics and the financial planning Code of Conduct.

What does an insurance broker do?

Typically working for a third party insurance brokerage firm or financial advisors, it is the job of an insurance broker to find affordable yet financially logical insurance policies for their clients, using an in-depth knowledge of their specific market, current trends and possible risks. Ultimately, insurance brokers find, arrange and sell insurance to their clients, whether it’s to cover their home, pet, car or something else.

In this blog, we provide a quick introduction to the world of insurance brokers, looking at what their roles actually entail and how they deal with claims. Read on to find out more.

What is an insurance broker?

Acting as an intermediary, or ‘middle-man’, between a potential client and an insurance company, professional insurance brokers are paid to find their clients policies that provide the right level of cover they are looking for, at the best possible price. Despite many believing that brokers work for banks or insurance companies themselves, this is actually a common misconception. The truth is, insurance brokers represent their clients and not the insurance companies who provide the policies they sell. Instead, insurance brokers tend to work for third party brokerage firms with no associations to specific insurance providers.

Traditionally speaking, all insurance brokers fall into one of two categories. These are:

Retail insurance brokers:

The most common type of insurance broker, these brokers typically source and arrange insurance policies for private individuals or companies, dealing with them directly throughout the selling process. This could include to facilitate the sale of motor, travel, house or pet insurance to an individual, or policies which cover damage to property and business disruption for corporate clients. As a rule, these brokers are also responsible for facilitating an employer’s liability cover relating to work-based injuries and products liability insurance to protect against faulty consumer products.

Commercial insurance brokers:

Typically dealing with more high-value and complex insurance deals, commercial brokers source and arrange cover for private sector and public sector organisations. This involves dealing with everything from aviation and marine companies to building contractors, government projects and gas and oil companies.

What insurance brokers do

Although we have looked at the different types of insurance brokers and provided a brief overview of the role, we are yet to look into the specific day-to-day duties of an insurance broker. Naturally, this is the key information you’ll want to know if you are looking to start a career in this role.

Varying brokerages and financial advice firms all operate differently, and what an insurance broker actually does each day will depend on their specialism. However, common responsibilities in the role includes the following:

  • Building and maintaining client relationships
  • Researching specialist market trends, as well as new insurance policies and products
  • Negotiating better policy terms and deals with insurance providers
  • Discussing clients’ current and future needs in relation to their cover
  • Advising clients on when and how to make claims on their policies when needed
  • Collaborating with insurance underwriters and agents on reports and contract formation
  • Ensuring insurance premiums are collected
  • Renewing, upgrading and amending existing insurance policies for clients.

Do insurance brokers help with claims?

To put it simply, yes – insurance brokers can help with insurance claims. As previously discussed, insurance brokers work for third party companies and do not represent your provider. This means, when you make a claim, they can help you decipher the questions your insurance provider is asking you to ensure you give the right answers to help your claim. Remember, brokers sell you on a policy. For this reason they are likely to want to make sure your insurance provider fulfils its obligations to you, as this will also protect their reputation. With this in mind, when a broker presents a claim to your insurer, it’s not uncommon to see a quicker and more efficient settlement than you might otherwise expect.

Thinking about a career as an insurance broker or just looking to kickstart your professional life starting with a course in finance? Simply Academy offers apprenticeships in financial advice that allow students to attain industry-recognised qualifications while also picking up invaluable on-the-job experience.

What is corporate training?

Corporate training is the process of providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully carry out their jobs. This might mean learning the company’s own internal processes or it could involve studying towards external industry-recognised qualifications.

In larger companies, a specific Training and Development team might manage corporate learning or it may come under the remit of the Human Resources department in smaller organisations. Whoever is responsible for corporate training will need to identify training requirements, develop and deliver corporate training programmes or engage a corporate training provider like Simply Academy.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the importance of corporate training programs, how corporate training works and how to measure how effective it is.

Why corporate training is important

Employees who don’t receive sufficient training often feel that they aren’t reaching their full potential. So it’s important to provide corporate training to ensure that your staff are able to perform their job successfully.

Staff training and development will help your staff to address any weaknesses, strengthen their existing talents and learn new skills that can help them progress in their career. As a result, they’ll be more confident in their job and produce a higher standard of work.

Staff who receive appropriate training tend to feel more valued and more enthusiastic about their work. And the benefits of training will be felt throughout the company by increasing productivity, boosting morale and improving staff retention rates.

Ultimately this will help to increase income and efficiency, and reflect positively on the company’s bottom line.

How corporate training works

There are different ways that you can implement your corporate training programme. Which one you choose will depend on your own company’s requirements.

In-house training

If you have the necessary resources, you can deliver workplace training in-house without the services of a specialist training provider. In company training is generally used for high specific training geared around the processes of the individual company. It wouldn’t be suitable if you want your employees to undertake training courses such as the Certificate in  Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) or Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA).

Instructor led classroom training

If your staff need to study for external qualifications, you may decide to engage a corporate training provider. Classroom-based courses are the most established way to study for this type of qualification and are still very popular.

You could hire a trainer to deliver the course to a group of employees at your company premises, or alternatively send one or more employees to an external training centre.

Live Webinar training

Live Webinars are a more modern way to study. They take the classroom online to deliver seminars across the Internet, and also allow the trainer and learners to discuss the content using their microphones and chat boxes. If Webinar sessions are recorded, this will allow them to be used to review the course content later.

Online self-paced study

The use of online learning for corporate training has grown massively over the last two decades. It is a useful way to deliver corporate training in a way that is very accessible to learners and can be used to fit training around the learners’ work.

What is corporate training and efficiency?

When you are planning your training strategy, it’s important to make sure that the programme justifies the expenditure on it. This can be demonstrated by setting and tracking Key Performance Indicators to evaluate the Return on Investment.

There are various KPIs that you might want to track, which come under three general headings:

Bottom line KPIs will measure the company’s improvement in productivity. This may be evaluated by measuring the increase in the number of clients signed or the value of closed deals.

Performance KPIs look at how processes are improved following the training. This may be demonstrated by a reduction in time spent prospecting each lead or a decrease in the number of revisions needed when preparing quotes.

Quality KPIs will look at improvements in the standard of customer service. This can be seen through a reduction in customer complaints or order cancellations, or an improvement in positive reviews and referrals.

Is corporate training effective?

The effectiveness of corporate training will depend on your training manager or team correctly identifying your employees’ needs and then successfully delivering the required courses.

Working with a specialist training provider like Simply Academy will help to boost the effectiveness of your corporate training programme. We have over 14 years’ experience of providing training to the Financial Services industry, and our in-depth knowledge means that we understand your company’s needs.

We can offer training sessions at your company premises, at one of our 6 UK training centres or via the Internet, and can design and deliver a corporate training programme to meet your company’s requirements.

So if you would like to investigate the different corporate training options on offer, email or give us a call on 0808 208 0002 to discuss your requirements.

How do online courses work?

Ever since the Internet became a major part of our daily life, online courses have been growing in popularity. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made them even more popular, as people have been using their additional time at home to gain new skills or undertake some Continuing Professional Development.

So you may be considering signing up for an online course, whether you want to learn a new skill, consolidate your knowledge in your current role or to take your first step towards a new career.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the different types of online courses that are available, how online courses work and how to get started with an online course.

What is an online course?

As you’d expect, an online course is one that you study over the internet instead of travelling to a college or training centre or taking part in training at your workplace.

The advantages of online learning include being able to study at times that suit you and not having to take time off work to travel to the course location.

There is a vast range of courses available so you could choose to study for a professional or academic qualification, learn a new skill or study a subject purely for your own enjoyment.

How does an online course work?

There are two main types of online courses: live webinar training courses and e-learning courses.

Live webinar courses provide you with one or more scheduled webinars. These are live seminars held over the Internet and you can read more about webinars here. You’ll usually be able to communicate with the course tutor and with other students using your microphone or a chat box, and the webinar may be recorded so that you can watch it again later.

With an e-learning course, you will usually be given access to a web portal where you can access the online learning materials. These may include texts to read, videos to watch and presentations which you can work through at your own pace. This is very useful if you want to be able to study at irregular times or around your work hours.

With both styles of online course, you will usually submit any assignments online and have online access to a tutor who can answer your queries. If your course is presented via a web portal and online materials, there may be a set time limit on your access to these.

How long should an online course be?

The length of an online course will vary depending on the complexity of the course. For example, if you have signed up for an online introduction to a piece of software, this may just involve a single webinar.

But webinar training that leads to an academic or professional qualification such as the Level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) or Level 4 Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) may involve a week or more of scheduled webinars leading up to an exam.

Likewise, if you choose to take an e-learning course, this could involve several months of study.

How to start an online course

Getting started on your Simply Academy online course is very straightforward. Once you’ve chosen your course, you can either sign up online or you can call our friendly support team on Freephone 0808 208 0002.

If you choose one of our Live Webinar courses, you’ll be given full details of how to sign in for your scheduled webinar sessions. All of our webinar sessions are recorded, so you can use them for revision or to catch up on any sessions you might have missed. And you’ll also receive high quality course materials to make your learning as simple as possible.

If you sign up to study CeMAP through our self-guided e-learning course, you’ll get 12 months’ access to the online learning portal. There’s also a comprehensive online FAQ section and a mock exam to help you prepare for the real thing.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will assist you throughout your studies. All of our expert trainers are highly experienced and have a wealth of industry knowledge that will help you get the most out of your online course. You can also call our support desk for any additional assistance you may need.

Now all you need to do is to choose which online course you’d like to study next!

What does a financial planner do?

If you’re considering a career in finance, you may have looked at a number of different roles. But have you thought about becoming a financial planner? In this blog, we look at the responsibilities that come with this role, how financial planners operate and how they can add value to a business.

Who is a financial planner?

A financial planner is a qualified professional that provides expert assistance to both individuals and businesses that need help with setting out and meeting financial targets. Targets, for example, may be decided with the intention of reducing spending, getting out of debt, saving money or budgeting for a specific goal such as applying for a mortgage or opening a savings account. People in this role may choose to offer advice on a selection of different areas involved with financial planning or specialise on a dedicated area such as investments or pensions.

What do financial planners do?

In simple terms, a financial planner offers support and advice to clients around their finances and financial decisions. However, as finance can extend to a number of different areas, financial planners may be required to advise clients in several ways. For instance, It is common for a financial planner to advise a business on how best to manage their finances in future months or evaluate and review an individual’s financial situation, offer effective options and set out a plan for how they can reach their goals. A financial planner may also offer support for matters such as education, investments, loans, mortgages, pensions, tax and wills.

How do financial planners work?

With a view to assisting the individual or business requesting help with financial planning, financial planning will typically be carried out as follows:

  1. It will start with the financial planner asking an extensive series of questions to understand the client’s circumstances.
  2. At this point, the financial planner can explain the range of financial services they provide and answer any questions the client may have.
  3. Between the information the client has given them and any supporting evidence of their financial situation they’ve provided, the financial planner will work with the client to formulate a financial plan.
  4. Using their knowledge, the financial planner can consider other areas that could be beneficial to the client. For example, if the client was interested in investments, the financial planner could explain the potential risks and benefits to investing and offer a selection of investment opportunities. Alternatively, they may help with other financial matters such as expenses, pensions or retirement.
  5. As the financial plan comes into action, the financial planner will monitor performance, check that it’s working correctly and, if needed, implement changes. The financial planner may also suggest making alterations to the plan if the client has a change in circumstances such as getting married or having children.

What does a financial planner do for a business?

Although setting out a financial plan will often unfold in a universal way, a financial planner will be able to offer a different set of benefits and services to a business. Not only that, but a business may decide to maintain an ongoing relationship with a financial planner as a way of ensuring a stable financial roadmap.

For example, a business may hire a financial planner to:

  • Allocate budget accordingly
  • Bridge the gap between directors and investors
  • Formulate a crisis management plan
  • Increase profitability
  • Organise relevant insurance plans
  • Manage cash flow
  • Monitor business finances
  • Reach specific goals
  • Reduce unnecessary costs
  • Remove risk attached to finances
  • Set up pension plans.

Additionally, a financial planner could work with a business to provide expert advice on daily processes and offer support on any future endeavours that require financial expertise.

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