The need for the CII to reach out to new markets while also developing membership engagement, guidance and support beyond its role as a professional body was recognised in the strategic manifesto.
During the year, we have made great strides against this aim – here we highlight the development of our international strategy, the introduction of the Aspire Programme and the launch of societies.
New international strategy
The CII has developed a significant international presence, with over 10% of revenues coming from non-UK operations in 2017. Its most notable recent international deal was the partnership signed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Insurance Authority in 2016. This has resulted in 450 UAE nationals going through the CII qualifications at Certificate level in 2017, and in 2018 we have opened this up to expatriates too.
It has been a steep learning curve for everyone involved during the past 12 months and the project has stretching-but-achievable targets, with the aim of training 12,000 professionals during the next three years to Certificate level and a five-year plan to roll that into the diploma.
In order to continue to build the CII as an international body and enhance our footprint, we have developed a new international strategy with input from all stakeholders, which will need its own dedicated resources and effective integration across the business.
Our international activities will focus on the following five priorities:
- Defend and retain current position – including improvement to our digital international customer experience;
- Deliver pipeline of opportunities – Hong Kong and Asia-Pacific, India and SAARC, Middle East and United Arab Emirates, where appropriate giving clear focus to any regulatory initiatives;
- Fulfil the potential of ACII – through distribution partnerships with our overseas local institutes;
- Expand our activities in three new markets – Bangladesh,
China and Ghana;
- Build on existing relationships – with major global organisations.
In order to support these priorities, we are in the process of setting up a Middle East presence in Dubai, where we will have an international director reporting as part of the executive management team and a regional corporate development director as part of the senior management team.
The lifeblood of the CII
Each year the CII organises a Network Conference, which gathers together two representatives from our 55 local institutes across the UK. This gives the CII the key opportunity to update its invaluable local network on the progress we have made so far, details on the strategic manifesto, as well as providing insight into our plans for the future.
This year’s conference, with the theme of ‘Engaged Membership’ was held in Belfast and hosted by the Insurance Institute of Northern Ireland. The combination of short main stage presentations and breakouts also gave the 150 delegates the opportunity to interact with each other and feedback ideas to the CII.
The conference also gives us the chance to thank institutes and demonstrate how important they are in engaging with our membership. They truly are the lifeblood of the CII.
The launch of societies
As part of our commitment to deliver more relevant, engaging and valued membership experiences, we are evolving faculties into sector-focused professional body societies. Societies will enable us to better engage with specific segments of our membership and the wider sector, through more tailored CPD content and guidance more closely aligned to sector salient topics. Societies will also enable us to demonstrate greater relevance by evolving the role of a modern professional body, allowing greater engagement with a range of key stakeholders, while growing our reach and influence to help drive professional standards.
The Personal Finance Society is an example of how a specific focus on a segment of the market, that has distinct needs, has succeeded in growing engagement and influence. It has also been the platform on which we have been successfully engaging with government, regulators and consumer groups to influence policy and the future direction of travel. In the last year, for example, the PFS has successfully put in place a number of initiatives to increase engagement and build public trust, including:
- Forces MoneyPlan:
Building on the success of Citizens Advice MoneyPlan, PFS members now provide pro bono financial guidance to sick and injured armed forces personnel and veterans, who, as with MoneyPlan, have difficulty accessing professional financial guidance.
- Partnerships with the Jersey Financial Services Commission and Isle of Man Financial Services Authority:
We have supported consumer awareness campaigns flagging the dangers of investment and pension scams, and driving consumer action on sensible financial planning.
- Mutual recognition agreement with the European Financial Planning Association (EFPA):
We signed an agreement with the EFPA to secure members a vital foothold in Europe, which means that Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications are now aligned and recognised through the equivalent European financial planning standards, which are fully or part accredited. The purpose of this agreement was to help deliver our shared vision of engaging consumers with high-quality and trusted professional financial advice. It also gives UK advisers greater certainty in advance of Brexit.
- Good Practice Guidance and CPD:
PFS guidance documents are increasingly relied upon, with thousands downloaded each year. The national CPD programme has evolved into the largest face-to-face programme of its kind in the UK, with more than 22,000 attendees during 2017.
Helping practitioners become competent professionals through a relevant qualifications framework is an essential part of driving standards and consumer trust. But that is not the end of the journey; having a dedicated professional body to support individuals in professional advancement throughout their career is equally important. An ethical framework to guide members and a programme of ongoing professional development helps maintain knowledge and learning to remain current, as thinking and practices evolve over time. Strategic insights from practitioners can help to identify sector-level issues that can drive initiatives focused on consumer outcomes, which can help restore public trust.
Societies and member marketing director, commented:
“We believe that societies deliver two significant benefits.”
“Firstly, they deliver more relevant and valued content to our members as part of an improved membership proposition. So, once you have demonstrated professional competence through professional qualification, your society will then support you throughout your career as a professional. It will help you keep your knowledge updated through continuing professional development and provide practical good practice guidance as well as essential thought leadership, to help members and their businesses evolve to meet the changing needs of consumers.”
“Secondly, societies are all about the bigger picture policy engagement and influence that can drive improved consumer outcomes, confidence and trust
in a united profession.”
In 2017, CII members scored us +17, up from +11 in 2015