New Appointed Representative solution proves effective

SPONSORED: School Fee Plan's new solution is improving communication and has enabled "open, informed dialogue" with parents

For over 20 years School Fee Plan (SFP) has been recognised by schools and parents as the leading provider of instalment solutions for parents to pay their school fees monthly· A large part of the success has been constant reinvention and a relentless desire to meet the changing needs of schools and the regulatory environment in which they operate·

Earlier this year SFP were delighted to announce their approval by the FCA to offer an Appointed Representative (AR) solution to schools·

This groundbreaking initiative was prompted following research carried out by SFP in 2016 which showed that a number of schools were worried about the regulatory aspects of monthly schemes, whether in-house or through a third party·

Seeking to deliver peace of mind to schools, SFP’s Appointed Representative framework was created to allow schools to actively engage with their existing and prospective parents about all of the fee payment options available·

New to SFP this year, Malvern College is a keen early adopter of this initiative·

“We chose to adopt School Fee Plan because it offered an efficient and cost-effective alternative to our existing arrangements· Having used School Fee Plan at a previous school, I was confident that it would reduce the administrative burden of monthly payments and improve the efficiency of the finance department,” says Kate Collyer, Director of Finance at Malvern College and The Downs Malvern· “Most importantly it provides a professional and convenient payment solution to our parent body· Parents have commented on the convenience and the ease of set-up·”

Under the appointed representative framework, SFP takes direct responsibility for all FCA regulatory actions undertaken by the school, leaving them free to talk openly to parents without the concern of inadvertently straying into regulated activity· As well as becoming an additional source of support, training and expert advice for schools, all the tools needed to keep schools on the right side of the regulations are provided·

“We chose the Appointed Representative Status because it enabled us to properly communicate the details of the scheme with our parents· This is key when replacing an informal ad-hoc payment plan scheme with a formal product·”

Kate was also pleased to see that not only does it help the school, but that their parents can also see the benefits· She adds: “It enabled us to have open, informed dialogue with parents, which our parent body have welcomed·”

In terms of helping parents stay on track with their payments, Kate was clear: “I also believe that the AR Status gives the scheme more credibility as parents now appreciate that the commitment to monthly payments is a formal agreement and no longer optional when funds are available·”

Kate is delighted with the results: “The scheme has been well received and the uptake has exceeded our expectations·”

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