Wealth manager St. James’s Place embraces virtual reality

By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 16 November 2021

Savings and Investment

A baby step towards the financial Metaverse?

Wealth manager St. James’s Place embraces virtual reality
Image source: stephan sorkin/Unsplash.

It’s long been suggested that wealth management could be the ideal industry for VR, helping clients better visualise decisions around their assets. 

However, that suggestion has yet to translate into reality, until now.

This morning, wealth management giant St. James’s Place announced it would be the first financial services provider to roll out virtual reality, initially for staff training purposes.

“The intention is to give people a safe space to practice in, so that they can gain confidence without the need for access to trainers, coaches or peers,” said Di Macdonald, the firm’s divisional director of learning and development.

“It also enables us to utilise 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.”

Using 200 Oculus Quest headsets is enabling St. James’s Place to double its intake through the SJP Academy this year to 400 new trainees, who will use the technology to experience the role of an adviser with virtual clients through different scenarios.

St. James’s Place also hints that this is just the first VR and augmented reality application for the business, with the company already trailing the technology for virtual presentations and workshops.

“This technology is improving rapidly, and is becoming more affordable, better quality and easier to use,” added Macdonald.

“Our continuing research and development programme is working to ensure that we can further enhance what is on offer. “

Interestingly the news comes just days after Mark Zuckerberg pitched the Metaverse, a combination of VR and AR to succeed the mobile internet, and firms began wondering where fintech might fit in.

That’s not to suggest that St. James’s Place is planning on jumping into the Metaverse, but maybe this is a baby step towards that future.

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