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Case Study: E-Learning at M&G


Cyber CafeM&G is one of the largest fund managers in the UK, managing the investments of over 500,000 clients in the UK and Europe. The company, formerly known as Municipal and General Securities, uses e-learning for aspects of training, such as compliance and inductions and making it available on the Internet has ensured its accessible by all staff.

In 1931, M&G revolutionised British finance when it launched the first ever mutual fund (unit trust) for the British public. In 1968, the company pioneered the first linked product for private pensions and in 1994 it launched the first pure corporate bond. M&G is now one of the largest investors in corporate bonds in the UK.

In 1999, M&G was acquired by Prudential Plc, one of the largest providers of financial services in Europe. The company operates as an autonomous business within the Prudential group.

Corporate university
In 1998, M&G looked at building a corporate university founded on the then emerging concept of e-learning. It was looking for a fast, reliable and economical way of sharing knowledge, training staff on investment and compliance issues, and encouraging a learning culture. After talking to several companies, M&G opted for SkillGate's Active eMail Learning package.

When M&G and Prudential's existing fund management business were integrated to create a single fund management brand, there was an extensive review of training and capability development strategy. It was decided to retain the Skillgate infrastructure and develop it as part of a blended learning solution. This focused on compliance, investment, and mandatory induction and business awareness issues, as well as providing learning opportunities for all staff in commercial, personal and management/leadership skills.

The first big step was to rapidly move the system from being an Intranet to an Internet-based hosted solution. "We have a mobile workforce and a number of offices here and abroad. It was therefore a priority for us to enable staff to access training, knowledge management and knowledge sharing remotely via the Internet," explains Gareth Jones, Head of Organisation Development for M&G. "Knowledge is a key driver in our industry - we don't want staff disappearing into a niche within the company. We want them to understand the broader picture in which we operate."

He continues: "It can be an extremely costly exercise adding and deleting content to e-learning systems. It is worth noting that one of our biggest challenges in this fast moving market isn't just updating content, but how to get rid of stuff we aren't using."
The company know has 100% compliance training and testing for all employees online. As it is available on the Internet, All M&G staff have access to training, whether office based or remote via PCs. Staff on the road can also access training emails via their Blackberry devices.

Turn around
The system has also allowed a rapid turn around of content - training content can be authored and distributed to staff in a very short space of time.

For example, The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 - which took effect on 1 December 2001 (a date now infamously known as N2) - was intended to increase the responsibility of senior management working in financial services for any breaches of control arising within their firms.

M&G had little more than a month to get staff across multiple sites up to speed on the regulatory change, and measure that they had retained the requisite levels of knowledge. SkillGate's adaptability and delivery mechanism enabled M&G to hit its goal of reaching all 1,500 staff by the deadline.


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