View more on these topics

Equity release qualification plan splits sector


The equity release market is divided over FCA proposals to introduce a standalone qualification that could see more advisers pile into the market.

The regulator proposes either a standalone equity release qualification or a means of achieving competence by topping up existing pensions or investment qualifications.

The FCA’s consultation paper on exam papers, published last week, says: “Some stakeholders suggested that some IFAs may not be offering equity release because, before they can do so, they need to be appropriately qualified for a product (mortgages) that otherwise they have no interest in selling.

“We would like a better sense of the numbers of those without an appropriate mortgage qualification who would be interested in achieving the relevant qualification to sell equity release.”

But Key Retirement technical director Dean Mirfin says the FCA proposal for a standalone qualification could lead to consumer harm.

He says: “An equity release standalone qualification is dangerous and could be seen as a warning sign for consumers because [advisers] are asking for an easier route into the area without having completed mortgage exams.

“In order to advise you need a certain level of knowledge, so I don’t know why this has even been put forward for consultation. I’m quite shocked to see this being brought up.

“It will be interesting to see how the IFA fraternity as a whole respond to this as they are quite proud of their levels of qualification. If we see so-called dabblers in equity release, this could undermine that and lead to similar situations in other areas, such as pensions.”

But the Equity Release Council says the FCA proposal would increase access to the market and help consumers. Chairman Nigel Waterson says: “We welcome the regulator’s continued interest in exploring steps to support the equity release market and help more consumers investigate the option of using their housing wealth to boost their finances in retirement.”

Bower Retirement chairwoman Andrea Rozario says equity release advice is much closer to general financial advice than pure mortgage guidance. She says: “I feel strongly that having a standalone qualification will encourage advisers to take that qualification and open up the market in terms of distribution.”

More 2 Life channel marketing director Stuart Wilson also welcomes the FCA proposal.

He says: “We are strongly encouraging more advisers to move into retirement lending and are pleased the FCA is listening and starting to address this issue.”



GE Money stops lending following loan book sale

GE Money Home Lending has stopped lending after its parent company completed a deal to sell off the rest of its loan book. Parent GE Capital put the specialist lender up for sale in April, saying it wanted to concentrate on its industrial and manufacturing businesses. GEC has sold a £4bn book to a consortium […]


Yorkshire to cut three- and five-year fixed rates

Yorkshire Building Society is cutting rates on some three- and five-year fixed loans by 0.14 per cent tomorrow. The lender is applying the changes to fixed-rate mortgages at 65, 75 and 85 per cent LTV residential and remortgage loans. The changes mean the lender will offer a three-year fix at 1.88 per cent for borrowers […]

Setting the pace: Which lenders top the league table for brokers?

Halifax has knocked RBS off the podium in the race to win brokers’ hearts, Mortgage Strategy’s latest lender survey shows The pressure is on mortgage lenders to stay fighting fit in the race for customers. The enduringly low interest rate may have played into their hands over product pricing but uncertainty about the economy and […]


Guide: how to change your auto-enrolment support

As we approach the two-year milestone of auto-enrolment, employers have had the opportunity to truly assess the capabilities of their chosen support. They are also now realising that getting to the staging date was the easy part, and that support is required for almost every aspect of the day to day running of their scheme. With the three-year re-enrolment window coinciding for many with the total removal of commission and Active Member Discounts from pension-related products and services, as well as the introduction of the pension charge cap in April 2015, many employers will have no choice but to review their support options. But, what is involved in transitioning your auto-enrolment scheme away from your current support options? This guide from Johnson Fleming aims to outline some of these key areas and provide information and discussion points on what you need to consider.

'Feeling the Squeeze'

Royal London carried out a UK wide survey with 2,500 consumers age 35-44 over the summer. The survey found that over a third, 34 per cent, said their finances felt Squeezed and so were struggling to meet day-to-day expenses, despite 87 per cent being aware that they need to save more. However, the survey did […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up