New certification set to launch for brokers

An Advanced Certificate Program in Commercial and Asset Finance has opened for registrations, providing a new certification level for brokers writing business finance (and in near future, bankers, too).

Developed by the Certified Finance and Mortgage Institute of Australia in conjunction with the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA), the program covers:

  • Commercial lending skills
  • Business risk
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Mastering cash flow and forecasting
  • Business credit writing
  • Grading risks
  • Advanced business product in the commercial space (including equipment finance, leasing, fintech, agri, cash flow finance, asset finance, etc)
  • International finance
  • Limited recourse borrowing arrangements
  • Credit management
  • Mentoring and sponsorship

The content of the program has been developed in partnership with the RTO AAMMC and SME finance specialists, Accendo Financial, and is expected to take around two to three months on average.

It is open to all eligible brokers who have already successfully completed the Cert IV and the Diploma of Finance and Mortgage Broking Management.

Once brokers have successfully completed the program by undertaking a multiple choice assessment, which is then reviewed by CFMIA’s education committee, qualifying brokers will be able to carry “symbols of excellence” as a Certified Finance Broker (CFB).

An annual fee will be required to retain CFB certification and certified brokers will be required to undertake 30 hours of ongoing education a year.

‘All about education, knowledge and information’

The new certification aims to help give brokers “an edge over their competitors and demonstrate to consumers and peers their dedication to high standards in the provision of finance advice and service,” according to CFMIA.

Speaking to The Adviser about the new program, the chairman of the CFMIA, Michael Sheridan, said that while the Advanced Certificate Program in Commercial and Asset Finance had been in development for nearly eight years with key players including the FBAA, Kaplan and the founders of Accendo Financial, the FBAA had been the driving force behind its roll-out.

He said: “The FBAA has always been fully supportive and I can’t thank them enough, because without them, this would have been a very hard road. Without FBAA members, and [managing director] Peter White especially, we would not be here today.

“We are all about education, knowledge and information. Together, we want to turn brokers into the best quality broker they can be and we’ve got the tools and materials to supply that to them. 

“We want you [brokers] to be able to go out and tell the public that you are certified, that you believe in the code of ethics that we stand by, that your knowledge is significant and you can help them a lot more than the standard mum-and-dad residential mortgages broker.”

Mr Sheridan noted that the Advanced Certificate Program in Commercial and Asset Finance was “built by Aussies, for Aussies” and was the only such program ratified by the ACCC in Australia. 

Announcing the launch of the new certification at the FBAA national conference on Friday (11 November), Mr White said: “This is something that will take us into the next generation of education and where education is going. So if you want to specialise in this stream (commercial lending or asset finance), this is the course and certification program you need to take you there.”

Mr White told The Adviser that the association had been keen to formalise commercial finance education, highlighting that the association had been running commercial masterclasses since 2016. He added that this was “the next step along that pathway to broaden that commercial space and asset finance knowledge”.

It’s all about getting best practice in commercial lending and asset finance,” the FBAA managing director said.

“This is something that has been made within Australia for Australian conditions. 

“There is an enormous amount of content and it is what we believe to be the best of the best.”

Trent Carter, co-founder of Accendo Financial, stated that the company was “thrilled” when approached by the FBAA, AAMC and CFMIA to include its educational content as part of the Certification initiative.

“It is our belief that for brokers seeking to diversify and raise their competency to a level that enables them to partner with their business owner clients a formal Certification is a logical step,” Mr Carter said.

”This program represents a pathway to stand out as a broker who has taken the time to invest not only in themselves but importantly their SME clients.

“Our approach with the Certification is consistent with our business philosophy and that is to assist brokers to understand the technical aspects of financial statements and business credit submissions, and importantly how to use these skills as vital tools in having deeper client conversations to develop lifetime client.”

The new Advanced Certificate Program in Commercial and Asset Finance is the second formal qualification to launch recently after the Commercial and Asset Finance Brokers Association (CAFBA) launched the Certified Lease & Finance Professional (CLFP) program — an adaptation of a similar program from the US — in Australia last week.

The Adviser will delve into how brokers can successfully diversify into SME lending at the upcoming SME Broker Bootcamp this month, where facilitator and Accendo Financial partner Stuart Donaldson will unpack the pathway to diversification, the financial gains to be had for brokers, the risk/reward payout, and the knowledge and skills required to service SME clients.

The bootcamp will also offer practical advice from successful brokers who have ventured down this path and established a fully diversified brokerage with a holistic range of financial products and services. It will take place in the following locations:

  • Thursday, 17 November: Waters Edge, Portside Wharf, Brisbane
  • Tuesday, 22 November: Parkroyal, Parramatta, Sydney
  • Thursday, 24 November: Crown Promenade, Southbank, Melbourne

[Related: New qualification for equipment leasing and commercial finance launches]

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