A former broker has teamed up with a training specialist to launch a new business finance certification program that aims to equip residential brokers with the tools to diversify into SME lending.
Broker-turned-trainer Philip Dempsey has partnered with Greg Hungerford, financial services veteran and CEO of training company ElevateB, to launch a new, eight-module Business Finance Certification program around business finance, endorsed by Australis College.
The online program aims to provide brokers with the adequate skills and knowledge to break into SME finance by covering technical knowledge across key finance and lending areas, such as business analysis, commercial and business finance, cash flow finance and asset finance, as well as “softer skills” such as marketing, networking and referral building, and working with clients.
Speaking to The Adviser, Mr Dempsey revealed that he had left the broking industry in 2018 to become a trainer, particularly focusing on financial services and SME lending.
He added that he had partnered with ElevateB to develop the Business Finance Certification program after identifying that there was “insufficient training in the commercial space that is not branded by a lender or a particular aggregator” and that more mortgage brokers are now looking to diversify their offering to clients.
He elaborated: “I spent more than 20 years as a broker, and when I first started, there was absolutely no training whatsoever. There was no Cert IV qualification. So, I know what it’s like to work in an industry where you’re playing catch-up with the training, and I see that happening again in the commercial space.
“While there is the Cert IV and the diploma for residential mortgage broker, there’s not a lot of training for mortgage brokers to become the trusted adviser to the SME clients, to be that trusted adviser in the commercial space in a confident manner.”
Mr Hungerford added that the program had been a year in the making and was “a meeting of the subject matter expert, and the person who knew how to deliver training at an appropriate levels”.
Noting that it was primarily targeting mortgage brokers, he said the course could also appeal to brokers looking to demonstrate that they are certified in business finance, which “could give their SME clients added confidence”.
“Given all the research indicating that the SME lending space is under-advised and there is a big blending gap, then the way to address that is to fill up the work force with appropriately knowledgeable people who can have the appropriate conversations with the SME owners,” Mr Hungerford said.
“As a broker, to be able to add value, you’ve got to have the knowledge and expertise to demonstrate that you can provide more value than that which people can get from going direct. The foundation of that, we believe, is education and training. And that is why we built this program.”
He added that as the program was online, it could be particularly useful for regional brokers “who may find it difficult to travel to their state’s capitals for training or professional development days”.
The online Business Finance Certification program, which brokers undertake online via ElevateB’s learning management system and remote mentoring, comes with 30 CPD points upon completion.