Two industry associations are working together to bring a new Certified Lease & Finance Professional credential to Australia, in a bid to ‘professionalise’ asset and equipment finance.
The Commercial Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia and the Australian Equipment Lessors Association are currently working with academics to ‘Australianise’ the qualification, which is in use overseas.
The eight-hour exam and intensive course is designed for equipment leasing and financial professionals alike.
Speaking to SME Adviser, David Gill, the chief executive officer of CAFBA, said while the minimum education requirement to join CAFBA is a Cert IV in Financial Services (Finance/Mortgage Broking), he argued that “a lot of the material of that is consumer related and doesn’t hold a lot of product knowledge into what the brokers actually do”.
Similar to the equivalent of a CPA for accountants, the “very intense course” would be available to brokers and lenders and become an industry-recognised course.
Mr Gill explained, “We are very close to developing an education piece where the Cert IV will actually be specific to a commercial equipment finance and then the diploma will be specific to equipment finance, and the advance course will emulate the American model of having a post nominal, which is a Certified Lease & Finance Professional designation.”
He added, “There's not enough work going on in [education for equipment finance brokers] here. There’s no definitive course and I know aggregators and some banks have their own courses but to be honest, they're not robust enough. I think they just scratch the surface.
“It's about letting people know what equipment finance is, the things that people should know like present value concepts and discounted cashflows, the mathematics behind it – all those sorts of things need to be taught properly. So, the career path for this is the introductory course, then intermediate and, ultimately, advanced, which will make someone very well qualified in commercial and equipment finance whether they are working for a broker or a bank.”
The end game, Mr Gill says, is to professionalise the sector and make equipment finance something with a clear career path.
“Research has shown us that new people entering the industry, particularly Gen Y, they want a career path and they want to be able to see where that career path and the study will take them,” he said.
“So we want a commercial equipment finance broker to be a profession … something that people who have a business studies degree, for example, will consider doing as a career.”
David Gandolfo, the president of CAFBA, concluded, “This is all what CAFBA's role is, to educate the market that it serves and to maintain a minimum standard, and education is an incredibly important part of raising that minimum standard.”
As well as raising the bar for education, CAFBA is soon to make a slight tweak to its name to reflect the changing nature of its members, to become the Commercial & Asset Brokers Finance Association of Australia.
Mr Gandolfo explained, “We were being approach by a lot of commercial brokers who were saying that the sorts of things that we were advocating for in the commercial space were applicable to them and asking if they could join our body.
“So, we will represent the interests of commercial brokers who were doing commercial banking and property as well as asset finance brokers. We aim to cover the whole of commercial loan writing, not just commercial asset finance.”
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