St. James’s Place has expanded its virtual reality adviser training and created two new immersive role plays.
The wealth manager said it has launched fresh characters and bespoke virtual reality experiences to replicate real-life client conversations and scenarios.
Last year, SJP rolled out a virtual reality technology for training and role-playing across the business, allowing it to increase academy numbers this year.
Each experience, using Oculus Quest VR headsets, offers the chance to play the role of a financial adviser meeting with prospective clients, with the two new characters expanding the focus to clients with particular personal situations, needs and vulnerabilities.
SJP head of digital learning and development Nicki Finnigan, said: “We have developed these new realistic, immersive role plays, with greater complexities and more vulnerabilities, to create a flexible, enhanced experience practising client conversations and developing soft skills.
“Increasing the diversity of clients and scenarios is also an important part of supporting the performance and operational efficiency of the business.”
Finnigan said the firm has had “fantastic feedback” throughout the academy about its VR programme.
She said it provides a safe space for delegates to role play client conversations and build their confidence, without having to rely on anyone else to take part or be tied to a particular location.
“It is designed to help participants more easily empathise with clients, including those with more complex requirements, and ‘hear’ their inner thoughts,” she said.
“The aim is not to replace face-to-face training or video-conferencing sessions, but to use new immersive technologies to complement the training on offer and build on the capabilities technology can bring. “
The two new client characters are Rebecca, who is in the process of divorcing, and Frances and Jordan, a young couple.
Throughout the experience, participants will be asked to choose from different dialogue options to guide them through realistic and life-like conversations.
There are two parts to each experience: the ‘client introductory meeting’ and the ‘goals planning interview’.
At the end of each experience, those taking part will be given feedback on performance and awarded star ratings out of five. Feedback delegates receive is shared with their trainers for more detailed advice.
Last week, SJP said it is offering virtual work experience to 1,000 young people, providing a week-long taster for those interested in a career in financial services.
The experience takes place over five days, from July 11 to July 15 and will offer those aged 17-21 insights into the various roles that exist within financial services.
SJP said it provides them with an opportunity to talk to real practitioners from more than a dozen different disciplines.
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