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CII and SJP host first virtual reality training session

Publication date:

03 July 2024

Last updated:

03 July 2024

As part of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and Personal Finance Society (PFS) Consumer Duty initiatives, the first vulnerability virtual reality (VR) session was hosted in late June. This innovative learning was facilitated by Technical Connection powered by St. James’s Place (SJP) Learning and Development. The face-to-face session is part of a series available to the whole profession, giving access to the immersive learning which is designed to help build empathy for advisers and others across the profession that would benefit from the insights.

The half-day session was hosted in London by Eddie Grant, Director of Technical Connection, Hannah Coffey, Head of Vulnerability, and client assistance at SJP, and Josh Ellick, Immersive Technology Manager at SJP. The workshop offered attendees the opportunity to develop their soft skills, awareness, and empathy when working with clients in vulnerable circumstances. It is designed to help financial advisers and their teams adhere to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consumer duty focus on vulnerability. The case study focused on cognitive impairment and enabled those in attendance to immerse themselves in an all too common 360-degree experience, endured by families. Attendees were then given the opportunity to work with our client Peter, who has a cognitive impairment, on carrying out client assistance activity.

Delegates were impressed by the immersive experience, and their feedback will help to shape the future development of the VR suite. According to PWC, VR learners are 4 times faster to train than when in the classroom, 275% more confident to apply skills learned after training, 3.75 times more emotionally connected to content than classroom learners, and 4 times more focused than their e-learning peers.

Eddie Grant, Director of Technical Connection, said: “It was brilliant to be able to work with the CII and PFS to bring this immersive experience to the profession. To support advisers to build their empathy and awareness of vulnerability, delivering great client outcomes is our primary objective, and the feedback we have received to date has been incredibly positive. The CII and PFS teams have been really supportive and we remain very positive that this innovative technology will become integral to learning”

Don MacIntyre, Interim CEO for the PFS, said: “The CII and PFS are delighted to support Technical Connection and St James’s Place in the delivery of their innovative VR training opportunities. The initial session was hugely successful in providing an opportunity for finance professionals to develop their soft skills, which are fundamental to delivering good customer outcomes, and building public trust.”

Ian Simons, Content and Capabilities Director for the CII, said:We are delighted to partner with St James’s place to deliver such an innovative way of helping advisers to identify and support the needs of vulnerable clients. The unique format of this course enables advisers to test not just their knowledge but experience realistic interactive scenarios.  This approach supports our ongoing focus on the broader competencies needed by personal finance professionals as defined in the Personal Finance Professional Map.”


Nicki Finnigan, Director of Learning & Development at St. James’s Place, said: "Our empathy training module is designed to be a practical, immersive experience delivered through either a VR headset or desktop. By simulating real-life scenarios, advisers can practice empathy in a safe and controlled environment, ultimately enhancing their ability to connect with clients on a deeper level. There are many ways that individuals learn and it’s great that we are able to share this innovative approach with the wider financial services community and excited about the other scenarios we are developing.”