St James's Place launches virtual reality training

'A greater degree of realism'

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St James's Place launches virtual reality training

Wealth management group St. James’s Place (SJP) has rolled out virtual reality (VR) technology for training and role-playing across the business.

Global wealth management group St. James's Place (SJP)  has rolled out virtual reality (VR) technology for training and role-playing across the business.

The financial adviser and employee training is one of a number of planned launches from SJP's learning & development team using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology, the firm said.

Virtual reality role-playing was first introduced through the SJP Academy in September 2021, according to SJP. Alongside in-person teaching, it provides a blend of face-to-face and remote-based learning that was adopted during the Covid pandemic, the wealth manager explained.

By reducing the need for classroom learning only, the SJP Academy said its goal was to make financial planning training more accessible, allowing trainees to work from any location at their own pace.

"The plan is to develop and deliver a full programme based on these new technologies to accelerate learning throughout the business and improve overall performance."

Academy delegates are now able to practice client meetings, fact-finding and building rapport with clients with a greater degree of realism, SJP explained.  

"Trainees are provided with headsets that allow them to experience the role of an adviser and engage in conversations with virtual clients through a series of multiple-choice questions. They can then watch the encounter back to increase their understanding from a client's point of view and also receive feedback by hearing their clients' thoughts played out"

Di Macdonald, divisional director of learning & development at SJP, said with the new virtual training, the firm can use resources more effectively and train more people in a shorter space of time. "We are able to enhance existing soft skills training and capture areas that may need more practice than others."

The new programme has doubled the SJP academy's intake this year to 400 delegates across 22 locations, it revealed.

"This technology is improving rapidly and is becoming more affordable, better quality and easier to use. Our continuing research and development programme is working to ensure that we can further enhance what is on offer, " Macdonald said.