FIBA and ASTL aim to launch education programme by end of 2022

Adam Tyler, executive chairman at FIBA, has revealed that the organisation hopes to launch its programme of education for the commercial property finance industry, in partnership with the ASTL and The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF), by the end of this year.

The two associations announced their plans to create the programme in November 2021, which is set to cover the basics on specialist property finance and the structure of different types of businesses that might require it, with specific information on bridging and development finance, commercial mortgages, and specialist BTL.

During the FIBA Annual Conference — held in Manchester today (22nd March) at the MBE North event — a panel of experts, including Vic Jannels, CEO at the ASTL; Michelle Westley, head of marketing at Brightstar; John Kent, managing director at White Rose Finance; and Gordon Reid, BDM at the LIBF, shared their views on what the course should include, who it should be made available for, and how it could be funded.

Who is the course aimed at?

When asked about the target audience for the programme, the majority of the panel, including Adam, who moderated the discussion, agreed that it should be open to all individuals who are considering entering the commercial property finance industry.

“I believe it applies to everybody, whether you’re starting on your own, have come out of university [or school], or recently joined a mortgage brokerage or lender. It’s important that education should begin at that point, and it shouldn’t stop there,” said Vic. 

“I believe that we should always continue to learn on the job, by examination or CPD, to ensure that we are looking after the consumer.” 

John added: “I think anybody involved in financial services who wants to join the commercial finance market would benefit from a training programme that teaches not just about products and compliance, but the whole journey."

How will the programme be funded?

Michelle suggested that lenders should help fund the education programme, as it is in their interest to help improve the quality of business and raise standards. 

She also was in favour of brokers — or their employers — paying for a potential exam as part of the programme, similar to CeMAP.

John agreed that the funding costs should be shared by multiple parties within the industry, albeit in a different structure that the one highlighted by Michelle. He recommended that lenders could pay for the initial costs of setting up the programme, while broker networks could later on pay for their applicants’ fees to complete it.

What areas should the programme cover?

When discussing the structure of the course and what it should include, Gordon emphasised that it was key to identify the essential modules for the majority of people who would take it, such as how to identify and help vulnerable customers.

“The advantage of not having a regulator’s expectations at this point is that we can focus on modules which can make a real difference to people.”

He added that the advantage of creating an education programme, rather than a qualification, is the possibility of building it and testing one module at a time — as opposed to creating an all-encompassing course, which could take a long time.

Meanwhile, John emphasised the need for the programme to comprise both theory and practice-based learning, such as working on deals.

“Theory’s all very good, but you still have to deliver it.”

Pictured above (L-R): Gordon Reid, BDM at the LIBF; John Kent, managing director at White Rose Finance; Michelle Westley, head of marketing at Brightstar; Vic Jannels, CEO at the ASTL.

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