The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA), a trade association for firms that provide investment management and financial advice, has announced that it is to hold its first Virtual Festival on June 3 and 4.

“Virtual Fest” aims to provide a wide-ranging programme of activities to support industry professionals who are currently working from home, and the Association suggests advisers could use the event to seek support on issues such as

  • The optimum working arrangements during the current health crisis
  • How to engage with the FCA while adopting alternative working arrangements
  • Personal wellbeing while working in isolation

PIMFA promises that festival attendees will be able to connect easily via a normal internet connection, although they will need to register their attendance in attendance in advance. The Association also promises “leading experts on topical areas and on key priorities for the sector”.

The topics to be covered at the festival will include:

  • Cyber Resilience
  • Operational Resilience
  • Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance & Impact Investing
  • Compliance and Regulation

Attendees will also be able to access:

  • Webinars
  • Virtual sessions with speakers
  • Videos
  • PDF information files
  • Online resources
  • Q&As with the expert speakers
  • Networking with other attendees via a discussion portal

Continuing Professional Development hours will be available to attendees – some advisers have been concerned about ensuring they carry out enough CPD now that many seminars, training courses etc. have been suspended.

Liz Field, Chief Executive of PIMFA, commented: 

“With so much volatility and uncertainty, many of our members will also be looking for guidance, advice and information too. Whether it’s how to engage with the regulator, how to stay safe while continuing to provide their clients with advice or concerns about their own wellbeing.

“PIMFA will be there to provide our wealth management and financial advice colleagues with as much support as possible and Virtual Fest is an illustration of our continuing commitment to supporting your continued professional development during this period of isolation.”

PIMFA says it is meeting regularly with the FCA to discuss how the industry is being affected by coronavirus. In a recent letter to acting FCA chief executive Christopher Woolard, it raised issues such as:

  • Whether the FCA will now re-direct its focus towards the overall resilience of the industry, rather than whether firms comply with the “nitty-gritty” of regulatory requirements, such as issuing documents on time
  • Whether the FCA will be able to highlight emerging virus-related scams at an early stage
  • Whether the FCA will be more tolerant towards non-material rule breaches committed by firms
  • Whether the FCA will speak with FOS about the issues firms are facing. PIMFA says “firms are nervous that, if complaints are made in a year or two years’ time, the FOS’s perception of good practice may fail to take account of the very significant challenges that firms were facing during this period”

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