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Important coronavirus update

Publication date:

17 March 2020

Last updated:

19 March 2020

Author(s):

Personal Finance Society

The Personal Finance Society and Chartered Insurance Institute have put in place plans to assist members and staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Forthcoming events

Following the UK government’s announcement that now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and unnecessary travel, the Personal Finance Society has cancelled forthcoming CPD events. These include:

  • Remaining Q1 Regional Conferences (March)
  • Q2 Regional Conferences (24th March-4th June)
  • Remaining SMP Mortgage & Protection Roadshows (March/April)
  • Purely Paraplanning Conferences (April/May)
  • Chartered Breakfasts (April/May)

Over the coming weeks we will be providing members with good practice guidance and digital CPD content, including:

  • Specific guidance relevant to clients and markets
  • Regulatory updates
  • Event recordings
  • Digital CPD materials

April examinations

The Chartered Insurance Institute is also postponing April written examination sittings that were due to take place on 20, 21 and 22 April; these will be postponed until October. The exceptions are RO6 (Financial planning practice) and AF7 (Pension transfers) which we are planning to hold in July. We will be confirming these changes with each candidate in due course.

At the current time, in line with government guidance, multiple choice question online examinations will go ahead at the pre booked centres as there are less than 25 candidates at each sitting.

The CII will continue to monitor and review the situation with these sittings, in line with government guidance.

If any candidate has any concerns or is following government guidance and is self-isolating at the time of their sitting, they can contact customer services at customer.serv@cii.co.uk to rebook their sitting at no additional cost.

Contingency planning & client communications

For those firms that have not yet done so, we would recommend developing and sharing a coronavirus contingency plan with their clients. The Government is anticipating that the impact is likely to be felt for several months, so it is essential that you consider appropriate steps for business continuity and to reassure your clients that you are still in control. 

  • Have an agreed approach for elderly clients in relation to social distancing. Identify how you will communicate with clients and staff over the next few months - be really clear about what your policy is
  • Business continuity needs to extend to all support functions and cover a range of scenarios (i.e. how will you continue to operate if 25% of your work force is self-isolated at the same time?)
  • Volatility in markets will probably remain for some time and heightened documentation and statutory records will be vital. It is possible that insistent clients will wish to take actions against your advice, so have pre-prepared responses
  • This is a time of anxiety and any decisions that people are making right now may be heavily influenced by a short-term reaction to their environment. Any advice and decisions taken needs to be as normalised and as sensitive as possible
  • If you provide pro bono guidance through Citizens Advice, Forces MoneyPlan or My Personal Finance Skills you should explore the feasibility of non-face to face delivery
  • The wellbeing of you, your teams and clients is essential; some may find it difficult to adapt to a unique new environment. Have you considered what you can do to provide additional support for isolated clients? Mental health will be a factor and community support will grow in importance

The Personal Finance Society and Chartered Insurance Institute are following the government’s guidance on working from home in London. All members of staff are equipped to work from home until government advice changes.

We have taken this action because our priority is ensuring the health and safety of our staff, members and providing the profession with ways to continue to deliver their services to the public. We take seriously our role supporting you, your business and the members of the public you serve.

We recognise these are unprecedented times for every profession. In the coming weeks, we will be issuing additional good practice guidance together with virtual content to support CPD requirements. We remain in contact with the government and regulators to keep our members updated with current guidelines and will continue to be here to assist the profession during these challenging times. We will be providing continuing guidance in your vital role helping members of the public.