• Proportion increases among women and those aged between 16 and 24
• Buyers believe accreditation could reduce risk of being mis-sold car finance
• Alphera supporting IMI to introduce new independent F&I accreditation programme

Four out of five UK motorists (79%) say they would be more likely to transact a car purchase with a dealership salesperson who holds formal, industry-approved accreditation governing the sale of finance and insurance products, according to a major new UK-wide consumer survey.

The findings, published by Alphera, BMW Group’s award-winning independent motor finance division, underline heightened concerns about the sale of finance products in the wake of the mis-selling of PPI (payment protection insurance) by many lenders and banks. The independent survey was conducted among 1,035 motorists across the UK, and not specifically BMW Group customers.

While the concept of accreditation is widely accepted for practical disciplines across the motor trade – notably for vehicle technicians – currently there is no universal independent scheme that exists to ensure high standards in skills and knowledge when it comes to the sale of vehicle finance and insurance products.

In seeking to build on standards across the industry and provide visibility of the quality that already exists, Alphera is working with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) to introduce a new accreditation scheme for finance and insurance sales specialists in the coming months. Alphera sees this as a significant step towards establishing consistently high standards, self-regulation of quality to support compliance, and renew customer confidence.

Alphera’s survey also revealed that sales staff with accreditation would be more likely to win the trust of female customers, with 81% of women stating that a qualification in car finance sales would make them more likely to buy. In addition, millennial motorists – those aged between 16 and 24 – were the most likely to prefer to buy from qualified F&I sellers, with 83% saying accredited sales staff would make them more willing to buy a new car. 74% of over-55s would also be ‘more likely’ to use the dealer introduced finance offer.

Spencer Halil, director of ALPHERA Financial Services, said: “In the wake of PPI mis-selling, consumers are more alert than ever to the risk of being sold an inappropriate finance product. Dealer sales staff must have the skills and knowledge necessary to properly qualify a customer’s needs and deliver a clear and transparent presentation that enables informed decision-making. An accreditation pathway, robustly assessed and backed by the IMI will help ensure high standards and give the customer the confidence they need to trust our industry in everything we do.

“As well as safeguarding the compliant selling of F&I products across their business, those dealers that support relevant staff in securing accreditation will have the opportunity to use it as a differentiator in the sales process, helping them build trust more effectively and ultimately convert more leads.”