There has been debate in recent weeks about whether equity release is an area of financial planning that should be left to specialist advisers or is it something that qualified, but not necessarily experienced advisers, should advise on?
Equity Release advice receives few complaints from the consumer, however it could attract complaints from the beneficiaries in years to come, which is why some compliance regimes are unhappy with their advisers writing this business, especially when not written regularly.
The proactive moves to include flexibility and new features into Lifetime Mortgages since 2014 has made it difficult to show the most suitable product for our clients from the research created. Notes are often required and the market is moving so quickly that, when you do advise, you are likely to need to speak to all of the lenders to see what features they offer, unless you are constantly advising on equity release.
It takes time and effort to ensure that you give the most suitable advice and to ensure that it will stand the test of time, but there is no reason why a competent, but less experienced, adviser should not write the business if care is taken.
Routes to market:
Write the business yourself – some lenders and both mortgage clubs will assist you with suitable fact finds, suitability letters and product information. Great, but how long will it take to complete the file? Do you have access to state benefit software? What happens if you miss something important and a complaint is made in years to come? With the help of the providers, the clubs and your compliance department you should be able to write the business safely so long as care and time is taken on the case.
The other option is to refer to a specialist firm who will split the potentially enhanced income from the case with you. Your client will have access to the best products, an experienced adviser and you will not have complaint, compliance or professional indemnity worries.
As the market grows the industry faces a problem, it needs more experienced advisers but how do the inexperienced become experienced without writing cases? One answer could be to refer to a specialist firm, sit in on the meetings and learn how it is done.