By David Findlay - Marketing & Communications Manager, Utmost Wealth Solutions

As the financial planning landscape has developed over the years, with continual changes in taxation and regulation, there is always a challenge for financial advisers to keep abreast of the issues affecting their clients’ financial planning objectives.

Successfully fulfilling this challenge requires their significant investment in time to ensure continuous professional development (CPD) targets are met.

Technical support and expertise have always been a key element of the Utmost Wealth Solutions’ offering to UK financial advisers. We have a dedicated highly-qualified technical team who have many years’ experience within the industry. In addition to providing timely technical briefings and day-to-day support, the technical team, based in the Isle of Man and the UK, are responsible for delivering the Utmost Technical Academies (UTAs).

The UTAs have become well-established with UK advisers over a number of years. Traditionally these have been face-to-face events spanning the UK from Aberdeen to Exeter and have taken place twice a year at around 20 locations. Lasting around two hours, the UTAs have tackled timely issues around the use and taxation of investments bonds, trusts and how they fit with other UK financial products in a wider financial planning context.

The UTAs have thus become an established resource via which UK IFAs can keep abreast of key industry issues, increase their knowledge and gain valuable CPD.

2020 clearly rendered face-to-face events impossible. However, at a time when clients may be increasingly concerned about their financial wellbeing, the need to maintain professional excellence is arguably even more pertinent. In the absence of more formal events, how has the provision of CPD-qualifying events been achieved?

Having already scheduled UTAs around the UK in March and April this year, following lockdown we quickly made alternative arrangements to host a series of one-hour events over a four-week period via webinar.

Delivering the UTAs this way has enabled a wider range of topics to be covered generating four hours of CPD for the attendees, as opposed to the two hours allocated at each face-to-face event. It has also enabled us to deliver this valuable technical resource to a wider audience, including international partners as opposed to the UK adviser market solely.

While there were up to 370 attendees watching live at each event, those who weren’t able to attend on the day can still register for and watch the events on demand and qualify for CPD. Such is the interest in the topics covered, advisers are registering for events many weeks after they have taken place.

A further series of UTAs is scheduled for October entitled Trusts and Trustees Revisited. With over 300 attendees registered already, this complex facet of financial planning continues to generate significant interest.