How the concept came to be
At XY we are an adviser-first company. Our goal is to continuously improve the value we provide to the advice community. Last Friday we held our first ever All Licensee PD Day to a resounding success. We were initially unsure of how it would go, but we were quietly confident it would succeed. Why? Because each and every week we spend our time in hour long one-on-one conversations with advisers asking them a few simple questions:
- What do you like about XY?
- What do you not like about XY?
- Things we should do more?
- Things we should do less?
It was a year of asking these questions and hearing advisers wanted us to hold a PD day before we took the plunge. With the success of the event, we are now confident it adds huge amounts of value to adviser lives. To that end, you will begin to see us host these more often. But we certainly had a lot to learn on the journey towards hosting the event. Now the first one is completed, here’s what worked well for us during this first event and what we will look to change moving forward.
What worked well
CPD points are not hard to find. In fact, from our point of view the industry was overloaded with CPD. From a rational point of view there simply was not enough demand for more CPD in the market. This was galvanised within XY when we launched a dedicated learning management platform in 2018 specifically dedicated to issuing CPD on demand. It was a resounding failure. It’s a little-known fact, but before we ever launched the XY information sharing platform which now boasts 1 in 5 Australian financial advisers, we launched a CPD platform. It was our first foray into tech building, and we put all our eggs in this one basket.
As it was the first time any of us had built technology, it was really hard. Hard to design, hard to build, hard to get all the moving pieces to work, hard to find good content, and hard to get anyone to use it. It was just… hard. From top to bottom. And considering the market was about to be flooded with more on-demand CPD options, we limped out of the space with our tails between our legs. In fact we put so much of our resources into building the platform and receiving nothing but crickets, it just about crippled XY before we had a chance to fully begin.
So when our one-on-one research led to more and more requests for CPD, our initial thoughts were ‘something isn’t right here’. But as it turns out, advisers aren’t generally looking for CPD on demand. There’s a couple of reasons for this, none of them catastrophic – but we did need to acknowledge them:
- It’s a little clunky to get all your certificates together. The more sources of CPD, the larger the administrative burden on the adviser.
- There’s a small trace of resentment attached to completing CPD. Completing CPD takes the adviser away from their revenue generating activity. As such, it’s hard to gather the motivation to complete points on demand.
Advisers voluntarily putting time aside to complete 0.25 points does very little for them. Gathering the certificates and submitting them to compliance doubles the time it takes to complete the points in the first place. Add the fact it’s non revenue generating activity, and there is a natural reluctance. From an adviser’s point of view, they want to put time aside in their diary, and complete as many points in one sitting as possible. Once we had faced the problems – is it really a surprise? No. The whole industry has worked like this for decades. Advisers have been trained to consume CPD points in this manner since CPD points existed. It was these elements we totally missed last time we were involved in CPD, but taking them into consideration resulted in a far greater response.
So, we cautiously re-approached CPD with an adviser-centric lens. Advisers told us the problem wasn’t a CPD scarcity. The problem was they wanted a large amount of CPD in one go. They wanted a reason to put the whole day aside and skill up. Advisers need 40 CPD points per year. Essentially one full working week required each year in ‘continuous professional development’. By providing a full day of training in exchange for a full day of CPD points, we are aligning the purpose of CPD with the methodology advisers want to receive them.
Where we can improve
The education platform was great. The quality of the presentations were excellent. Our team did an amazing job of professionally hosting the event (although, we did take some small liberties with the post-event photo). The key elements of the day were all a resounding success. But there were a couple of things we need to solve moving forward.
Firstly, the studio was a little…. ‘open’. It’s a little hard to describe, and perhaps it’s because we’ve never spent time in-studio before, but there was an element of ‘empty space’. This in turn created a slightly inorganic vibe at the venue and put an additional layer of complexity for the presenters. Almost counter-intuitively, having no one there in person created unique pressures. Perhaps it was because there was a large amount of movement behind the cameras? Or perhaps because there wasn’t really a backstage/greenroom to wait and discuss without whispering? Whatever the cause and effect here needs to be discussed by our team and solved for next time.
In conclusion, this was without a doubt one of the most successful projects XY has ever held. In fact we hosted over 300% more attendees than the next largest event we have ever held. We were unsure of how the market would respond, but it goes without saying we will be holding our next All Licensee PD Day sometime later this year.
For those who would like to help us solve real adviser problems at the next event, please feel free to reach out to us here.