Earlier this month, the FCA decided not to press ahead with the qualification, saying consultation responses were mixed and it might restrict access to the market.
Age Partnership technical director Simon Chalk (pictured) said the regulator has listened to mortgage industry lobbying on the matter, but should instead see equity release as a financial planning issue.
“Equity release is a financial planning tool. It’s an asset for supporting later life needs, it’s not about repaying a mortgage,” he said.
“The vast majority of people who use equity release do not make repayments. Most can’t afford to – that’s the reason they have taken equity in the first place.”
He added that the tool belongs firmly in the financial planners’ arena and that the current level three qualification is a “Mickey Mouse” option.
“They should have created a level 4 standalone qualification. It could have taken an element of the mortgage market into that standard qualification, which would have helped financial planners understand the wider issues.”
Chalk said mortgage brokers but are not best placed to advise on care. “It’s a specialism and it’s not that simple.”