Demand is growing rapidly – from July to September 2019 the number of UK homeowners aged 55 or over who unlocked wealth from their properties rose by eight per cent, according to recent figures from the Equity Release Council.
It’s not difficult to understand why. We’re an ageing population, and we’re living longer.
We all know there are shortfalls in many people’s pensions provision, so finding other ways to fund our plans for a longer, hopefully healthier, retirement is becoming more pressing.
In recent years, we’ve seen a variety of new later life lending products come to market to meet this increase in demand.
Interest rates on equity release products are also becoming more competitive, and this summer started to fall below the five per cent mark, with 21 per cent of products priced at four per cent or lower.
But consumers are facing a baffling array of products and services, all trying to address their very different – and often complex – needs.
To serve these customers properly, advisers must have a detailed understanding of the range of options available, and what’s appropriate for the different stages of later life. That means developing specialist knowledge.
Our updated Certificate in Regulated Equity Release – developed in consultation with the Equity Release Council, UK Finance, and major high-street banks and lenders – aims to address the changing market, and changing consumer needs, to help advisers meet the demands of this ever-growing complicated sector.
We worked closely with the industry to ensure the qualification – and knowledge it provides – remains up to date and fit for purpose. So, what are the main changes?
We’ve increased the number of topics from three to six. This has enabled us to incorporate broader and more detailed coverage of lifetime mortgages.
We also wanted to improve our teaching in relation to vulnerable customers, powers of attorney and complaint handling. And we’ve improved the digital learning content – incorporating more videos, animations and quizzes.
The wonderful thing about working in financial services is that it is always evolving and there are always opportunities to keep learning. Our job is to help ensure that advisers have the knowledge and skills they require to be able to do a great job for consumers.