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Advisers without equity release qualifications could be doing later life clients a disservice – Phillips

by: John Phillips, group operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart
  • 26/06/2019
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Advisers without equity release qualifications could be doing later life clients a disservice – Phillips
The over-55s are a property rich, cash poor generation, and many are looking to use their housing wealth to supplement their pensions.


However, with two-thirds saying they do not want to move, downsizing is not an option for most.

This leaves equity release and the relatively new retirement interest-only (RIO).

Over the past few years, the equity release market has grown enormously, with the latest figures from the Equity Release Council revealing that in Q1 of 2019 property wealth of £936m was released – the busiest start to any year since records began in 1991.

But while equity release continues to grow in popularity and in the number of products and providers on the market, RIO has seen a relatively low-up take.

I think the main issue is that many mortgage advisers do not feel they have sufficient knowledge of the later life market to recommend RIO.


Problem with later life advice

And in fact, I think overall, there is a problem, with later life advice.

RIOs come under general mortgage advice in the mainstream residential space, but to be able to advise on equity release brokers require a separate qualification.

However, equity release and RIO are often both solutions to the same issue.

For an adviser to be able to offer the right product for an older customer they need holistic knowledge of the retirement space.

If they are advising on later life without equity release qualifications they cannot provide access to what might be the most suitable product and potentially could be doing the client a disservice.

That is why we are now able to offer equity release and RIO through our partners and are bringing in a wealth advice arm, so that we can advise with a complete view of the options available.


Market will grow

The later life lending market will continue to grow and become an increasingly important part of the mortgage market as a while.

And I think the more providers that get onboard, and the more products they can offer, the better.

All consumers are different and have different wants and needs, therefore, the larger the number of product options there are, the more likely consumers will find the right solution for their retirement finances.


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