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In a recent interview with Leasing Avenues, Reid Raykovich, executive director of the CLFP Foundation, spoke about the Certified Lease & Finance Professional Foundation.

Based in the US, the certification is a key credential for equipment leasing and financing professionals throughout the world. It was designed to demonstrated competency through testing of knowledge, continuing education, and a commitment to business practices. It achieves this by ensuring that every candidate passes a rigorous eight-hour exam and has at least two years in the equipment finance industry.

Speaking about the origins of the certification, Raykovich said: “The Foundation has been around for 31 years and was created by the Western Association of Equipment Lessors. However, in 2000, it’s members concluded that the certification should be operated independently and so it became its own standalone entity.

“Fast forward to 2015, and we began to achieve exponential growth in the number of candidates following the endorsement from the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association.

“The basis for the entire certification,” explained Raykovich, “is our body of knowledge which we update annually. From there, we can update the handbook, the exam and the academy on an annual basis. When I took over, we were on the 5th edition of the handbook. Now, we’re on our 8th edition and we have a much more structured approach to updating the body of knowledge thanks to our committee-based structure.

“Looking to the future, I think the most exciting thing is that we’re going global. At the moment we have a network of people in Australia, Canada, Africa and India but we’re aiming to build separate designations in Australia and Canada by the end of the year.”

A daunting test

“I think the test is a lot more daunting and intimidating if you have no prior experience in equipment finance. Either way though, an eight-hour test is something that few people have done for a long time, or perhaps ever.

“Once you get past the first test, we ask you to take a 20-minute re-certification quiz every year which ensures that all of our members stay abreast of any new changes to the material that have happened in the previous year. Also, every member has to sign a pledge of conduct which means that if they’re not behaving within our standards of conduct, their letters can be removed.”

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The interview with Raykovich was conducted by Bob Rinaldi (pictured above), president of Rinaldi Advisory Services which provides a range of advisory services to independent lessors, financial institutions, industry service providers, manufacturers and international firms entering the US equipment finance marketplace.

As the executive director of the CLFP Foundation, Raykovich is responsible for all business functions. Under her leadership, membership has increased 537% over eight years by actively engaging with volunteers and the board of directors.

Raykovich began her career in the commercial equipment leasing and finance industry at Great American Insurance where she obtained her CLFP designation. Then, in 2000, Raykovich began working with T-Mobile where she managed relationships and processed checks for more than 150 indirect dealers across the US.

From here, Raykovich held a number of senior roles including client relations manager at Premier Lease & Loan Services where she was responsible for relationship management of six clients with an annual net written premium of more than $24.6 million (£17.4 million). One of the highlights from her time in this role, is when she implemented five clients in less than 12 months, increasing the company’s net written premium by $11.5 million (£8.1 million).

More recently, Raykovich was appointed as broker relations manager at Financial Pacific Leasing in 2008. In this position, her responsibilities included establishing production goals and monitoring performance as well as conducting appropriate training to ensure third-party originations performed efficiently. Under her watch, sales goals were exceeded 122%, increasing revenue by $780,000 (£550,000).

Rinaldi’s interview with Raykovich can be found at the following link: https://rinaldiadvisory.com/reid-raykovich-video-interview-behind-the-scene-of-the-clfp/