Does the CPSP programme meet broker expectations? Hear more direct from Brokers.

05 Sep 2023

Brokers reveal their views as seen published in Bridging and Commercial

The Certified Practitioner in Specialist Property Finance (CPSP) programme saw its first batch of candidates successfully complete their training last month.

The launch of the programme provides an opportunity for brokers to expand their specialist knowledge – but does it live up to expectations?

Mortgage Introducer gathered insight into what candidates will learn, why it was important to launch the programme, and brokers’ views on the training.

Vic Jannels, chief executive of the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL), said CPSP is an optional e-learning programme that will cover bridging, short-term finance, development finance and specialist buy-to-let.

“It provides a definitive and targeted education programme for the short-term and specialist lending sector, and participants who complete the modules will be recognised through the award of an LIBF digital badge and accredited for CPD purposes,” he said.

Jannels added that the information is presented in a diverse way to target the different ways that people learn - these being through a mixture of text, video and case studies.

“We really believe that this is a valuable investment of time for anyone who is serious about advancing their career in the specialist property finance sector and delivering the best outcomes for customers,” Jannels said.

Importance of learning

While the programme is the result of more than a year’s worth of work from the ASTL, the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) and Financial Intermediary and Broker Association (FIBA), Jannels said, in many respects, it is the outcome of a much longer period of effort.

“In fact, my great predecessor Benson Hersch was instrumental in getting the idea of a recognised education programme for this sector off the ground and, as an industry, we have been working towards this for many years,” he said.

However, Jannels said there has arguably never been a better time for specialist property finance to be recognised in this way. Specialist lending volumes are increasing, and short-term mortgage books are growing.

“More brokers and, importantly, more customers, are realising the benefits of the solutions that specialist property lenders can provide them, and this sector is becoming an increasingly important cog in the overall mortgage market,” Jannels said.

So, being able to demonstrate a commitment to professionalism and expertise in this sector, Jannels said, is only going to become more important for brokers and industry professionals.

Brokers’ views

Graham Cox, founder at Self Employed Mortgage Hub, said he is in fact currently studying to sit the CPSP exam later this year.

“The programme is well worth the investment - specialist finance is often very complex and tailored to the client’s specific circumstances, so a lack of formal training in the sector has stymied competition; hopefully CPSP will go a long way to addressing that,” he said.

Bob Singh, founder at Chess Mortgages, said adding another qualification to a broker’s cap and enhancing their knowledge is a great idea. He believes an ideal syllabus would be limited company buy-to-let, bridging, development lending, commercial finance, investment property finance, business finance and trade finance.

“CeMAP 1,2,3 are elementary examinations and if the whole industry is to up-skill then the option to study further should be there; the Advanced CeMAP already covers some of the subject matter and could be further enhanced by adding these extra modules,” Singh added.

Scott Taylor-Barr, financial adviser at Barnsdale Financial Management, believes that qualifications are a great way to help the industry learn and grow, while also showing the wider public that brokers have legitimate knowledge.

“However, the sad truth is that many consumers do not know or understand the qualifications we hold,” he said.

Taylor-Barr added that is not to say they hold no value; if you are committed to the specialist lending space and in particular if you are quite new to the industry, he believes additional qualifications provide a competitive advantage.

“Would I choose to take CPSP myself? Maybe, it will depend on the content of the course and how aligned to my business I feel it is,” Taylor-Barr said.`