Equity release brokers must stand up and be counted in the face of criticism

Star Letter

Is it just my impression or are too many of us allowing ourselves to be put down when we know we are doing a good job? Following the latest warning shot from the Financial Services Authority on the quality of equity release advice, many are now cowering. The FSA’s target was brokers for whom equity release is a small percentage of their business and it questioned the systems and controls they had in place.

If they’re cowering because they know they don’t have the right systems and controls in place, that’s understandable. But I for one know of many who are getting it right and are committed to providing quality advice. This is borne out by the increasing numbers of firms that are subscribing to Lifetime Advisory Services which allows others access to our training and systems. It is also true for many advisers who are subscribing to other similar services.

The warning shot from the regulator provides an ideal opportunity for those in the right to have the guts to say they are doing a good job and that they believe they meet the standards the FSA demands.

So it is saddening that few from the intermediary sector have even bothered to comment on the latest FSA publication on the quality of equity release advice. Is it because many within the industry are scared of the FSA’s warning?

I can’t speak for the entire industry but I can call on those who aren’t afraid of what the FSA had to say, and feel they are getting it right, to have the courage to step up to the parapet and defend the equity release industry when it faces criticism.

In 2006 we saw a considerable decline in the number of advisers in the equity release sector. Thankfully, despite removing themselves from an active role in the market, many have established referral arrangements with firms such as ours. The survival and growth of the equity release market can only be assured if advisers overcome their fear of being vocal and stand their ground when criticism is aimed at them.

Dean Mirfin
Business development director
Key Retirement Solutions
By email