Lisa Martin (pictured) is development director at TMA Club
In the rapidly developing financial services industry, keeping up with best practice, trends and technological advancements is vital for an adviser.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is a key part of achieving this goal, but all too often, CPD is looked on as more of a chore.
For many people, ongoing CPD reviews and assessments can be deemed dull and time-consuming – something to tick off before getting back to some real work. This means that its potential is often missed.
What’s more, intermediaries who do engage with CPD can sometimes fail to document this – and the ability to demonstrate and log CPD is an area where many fall short.
It doesn’t have to be like this, though. By taking a strategic and planned approach – and by making use of the opportunities available – CPD can add real value to your career and business.
As the new CPD year starts, consider these five top tips on how to make the best use of your time as you fulfil this year’s 35 hour quota.
1. Expand into other areas
CPD offers opportunities to develop expertise to advise on new types of products. Expanding your offering beyond mortgages can bring a valuable new source of revenue for your business and another string to your bow as an adviser. Branching out into the protection or even general insurance markets, and looking for courses or presentations, will give you the skills you need – as well as the CPD credits.
2. Don’t ignore industry events
Events organised by professional bodies can provide an excellent source of training, giving you new insights into the market, and keeping you updated with new trends and regulatory changes. With a wide range of national and regional events, they can also be great opportunities to network and build relationships with industry representatives. Make the most of them.
3. Learn about new digital solutions
Technology is playing a bigger role in the advice process than ever before. Understanding and using the best solutions to improve the customer experience is essential. All advisers need to investigate how technology is changing the industry, the competition they face, the solutions available, and how these are supporting customer demands. Advisers should use this opportunity to build up their CPD credits.
4. Build up those around you
When you’ve developed new skills or specialisms through CPD, remember not to keep them to yourself. Sharing your knowledge with colleagues can help your business and can also be translated into CPD credits – a benefit that’s often overlooked.
Consider hosting interactive and participative discussions, lectures or tutoring sessions to pass on your expertise and provide a space for your colleagues to develop ideas and share their knowledge, too.
5. Don’t just punch in and clock off
Finally, engage with your CPD sessions. The best way to prevent CPD becoming tedious is to consider carefully what you want to get out of it for your career and your business at the outset, and then make
sure you get the most you can from the time. CPD is a great way to demonstrate your drive and dedication towards self-improvement, and to become a real asset to any business.
Last but not least, don’t forget to record the time you’ve spent on CPD to ensure this isn’t lost. Technology can help by allowing you to create a simple report at the end of the year which outlines what you’ve done.
As is often the case in life, you’ll find that you get out what you put in.