Recently one of our long-time referral agents here at A. B. Nicholas asked the question: “What’s the point of become ‘certified’? I’ve been sending referrals to you for two years with no issues.”
To him, reviewing a compliance training video, going back and studying the website FAQ, and taking a test to confirm his knowledge was just a waste of the $35 testing fee and a useless chunk of his time that could be spent doing more productive things.
And he was right; he had not caused any trouble with any client, had not had any complaints, and had made almost $75,000 that year in referral fees with A. B. Nicholas. Once could easily see how he might think certification was a needless hassle.
But he received a surprise that quickly changed his mind not one day after getting our first mandatory compliance testing notice. While having lunch with a prospect on a $2.3 million potential LeverageLine transaction, he was making a good impression when the savvy, 66-year-old client from Arizona asked what his “CRD number was”. A CRD number is a number assigned by the organization FINRA for all registered and licensed brokers and financial advisors and institutions. The agent was simply a businessman with a gift for finding good deals and moving them along. He had no license.
Unable to answer he hesitated, didn’t know what to say, told the prospect he’d “get back to him on that” later. The prospect, who had worked in banking before retiring, was instantly suspicious. After shaking hands cordially following lunch, the agent never had his calls returned again.
Had he taken the training and compliance course he would have known how to answer. He also would have known how to present the LeverageLine program in a legally compliant manner. On that day, his luck ran out.
Fortunately, it did not end up in any complaint or – heaven forbid – a regulatory complaint. If it had, his career in loan referrals would have ended on the spot.
This is just one example of why it is important for EVERY individual who thinks they may have potential clients to refer into the LeverageLine program to register for Compliance Certification as soon as possible. Not only will A. B. Nicholas no longer pay any fees to those who refer clients, but we will also not accept any clients at all, no matter the size of the deal, unless you have signed your new Agent Agreement, which required that everyone register for and pass the compliance exam with a 100% grade.
Some say they’ll wait until they have an actual deal to submit. As of April 1, if you have not signed your new Agent Agreement you will be removed from the A. B. Nicholas authorized referral agent rolls, and you will need to re-apply as a new applicant if you wish to refer clients to us. Furthermore, we will not pay any agent a penny unless they’ve completed their compliance test with a 100% grade (over 50 of our agents have already done so, why not join them?). And last, why have a delay in your submission of future clients or your receipt of fees, when by simply signing the new agreement and taking the one-time test successfully means you are covered for good?
Finally, your Certificate of Completion in the compliance course means you can show your prospects that you are in fact a registered and certified A. B. Nicholas referral agent. Here at ABN, we’ll have a copy of your certification on file to give to any future client who inquires. And should any unfair or wrongful complaint come your way, you and we both can show you took the compliance test and that you were trained not to violate this or that provision, which will buttress your position in such a case.
We have heard from some in the field that this or that company “pays more” and “doesn’t require this test.” To them we say fine, go with them. We however will pay a fair referral fee and ensure that all of those associated with A. B. Nicholas put the welfare and status of the client borrower first and foremost, and knowing what you can and cannot say or do is a foundation of delivering the level of trust that is now virtually synonymous with A. B. Nicholas financing.
Get Certified today here. It’s the last day to do so before you revert off our authorized agent rolls. Why have to reapply to become an agent and endure delays in your ability to swiftly serve your prospective LeverageLine clients? It’s easy and its simple, and it protects you too.