A local building society’s financial advice arm has launched its first ever training academy for staff.
Newcastle Financial Services Limited (NFSL), part of the Newcastle Building Society Group, aims to develop staff into financial advice protégés through a bespoke training school.
‘Ocademy’ as it is known, is a training scheme ran by Openwork, which is one of the UK’s largest financial services distribution networks. NFSL, as one of Openwork’s largest franchise businesses, has teamed up with them to launch one of the first partnerships of its kind in the building society sector.
This comes at a time when many providers exited the advice marketplace following new regulations in 2013, which left a gap in the provision of advice on the high street. This is when NFSL made a commitment to investing in its advice proposition in the North East.
Through the ‘Ocademy’ two staff for the year 2015-2016 will have the opportunity to be fully trained and if they successfully complete the course they will gain a QCF Level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning and qualify as an NFSL Financial Planning Managers (FPM).
Stuart Dodson, Managing Director of NFSL, said: “This is a great training opportunity for staff who have the ambition to become financial advisers.
“We’ve worked for a long time to introduce a career development programme, such as this, to ensure it will deliver the best quality advisers for the region’s high streets.
“NFSL is very focused on delivering advice for all in the North East and the launch of the Ocademy will help us do just that.
“It’s quite unique what we’re doing as a business with Openwork and it shows how two large companies can work together to create something that will support a very important part of what we do here in the region.”
NFSL aims to run the Ocademy on a yearly basis.
Mark Duckworth, CEO at Openwork said: “The Ocademy has already proved to be a major success, with well over 95 per cent of its first intake passing their exams at the first sitting.
“This is a core part of our strategy to introduce new advisers to the industry and we are delighted to be forming a bespoke version of its training capability with Newcastle and its advisers.”
The introduction of the Ocademy is part of a wider programme of investment into staff training and development at the Newcastle Building Society Group, which includes a Talent Management programme with both branch and head office staff at Sunderland University.