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LLLE: FCA review highlights ‘tunnel visioned’ equity release advice

  • 29/01/2021
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LLLE: FCA review highlights ‘tunnel visioned’ equity release advice
The regulator’s investigation into equity release advice is highlighting that advisers are “too tunnel visioned” and must take a more holistic and personalised approach, according to AiR Group CEO Stuart Wilson.


Speaking at the Later Life Lending Event, Wilson (pictured) warned advisers to take on board the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) recommendations because they would be back.

“They might be in the community now asking questions, talking to customers, doing mystery shopping,” he said.

However, Wilson welcomed the FCA’s insight and agreed the regulator was right to be looking at the sector, but argued that 99 per cent of advisers in it were passionate about consumer outcomes.

“Does that mean all the practices are right? No, because you often don’t know what you don’t know,” he said.

“I think the FCA’s point is you’re only as strong as your weakest link. There are practices out there through lack of knowledge, lack of experience, lack of training which might well have been exposed by the Dear CEO letter and work the FCA has done.”

Wilson said he believed tight regulation would encourage new entrants and confidence in the market, but adjustments needed to be made.

“Do we need some tweaks, yes we do, without a shadow of doubt there’s varying standards. We need to be more reflective around record keeping and need to be more holistic,” he continued.

“This cannot be a product sold in silos and I think that’s one of the elements that seems to be a core thing with the regulatory work at the moment – that we are too tunnel visioned.

“We need to broaden that vision out to encompass all relevant products, factor those into a good quality conversation with the customer and guide them to the right solution.”

And he concluded by urging advisers in the market to get on board with the situation and learn and improve before the FCA was forced to act.

“It’s vital we educate ourselves and ultimately we do the work for the regulator to be robust, because otherwise they will come in and impose rules on us and that generally is a one size fits all which causes some pain and grief,” he added.


Engage with advisers

SimplyBiz Mortgages head of strategic development Richard Merrett agreed that closer regulation would give more confidence to consumers and advisers.

But he called for greater engagement with advisers, distributors and trade bodies “to ensure the findings are a fair reflection of the market”.

“The key take away is around the process and that the fact find should not be a tick box and they were keen to find the client’s voice in the fact find and suitability report,” he said.

“That should not be exclusive to the later life market and equity release, that should form part of standard advice process, irrespective of the area of the market someone works in.”


You can register to watch the virtual Later Life Lending Online Event here:

Presentations will be available to watch for 30 days.


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