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Warning over advisers’ equity release acumen as sales spike

by: Carmen Reichman
  • 01/09/2014
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Warning over advisers’ equity release acumen as sales spike
The Equity Release Solicitors’ Alliance (ERSA) has issued an alert to advisers after it became concerned more could be advising consumers on the products "not fully aware of the requirements".

In a note issued on Monday, the alliance pointed to the legal safeguards introduced by the Equity Release Council (ERC) at the beginning of the year, which were designed to create enhanced protection for consumers.

The guidelines stipulate clients need to see a solicitor during the advice process and sign the solicitor’s certificate.

The lawyers’ calls were sparked by a recent spike in equity release sales, which, according to the ERC, has seen £641.2m of plans written in 2014 – a record half year and 34% up on 2013.

ERSA chairman Claire Barker said: “Eight months into the year, we believe that advisers and solicitors are getting used to the new requirements but we are concerned that, as the market expands rapidly, and new advisers may be entering the market for the first time in a while or at all, that all advisers are reminded about them.

“Advisers and solicitors both play a vital role in ensuring this and by working together using the standards set by the industry body the Equity Release Council, the continued success of the sector will be assured for homeowners and intermediaries.”

Barker predicted further, slow growth in the equity release market as more homeowners seek to enhance their income through selling parts of their home.

Equity release lending data (source: ERC)

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