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Age Partnership teams up to launch equity release referrals

Age Partnership teams up to launch equity release referrals

Financial market software firm Iress has teamed up with Age Partnership to develop an equity release referral service.

The service is targeting advisers and brokers using Iress’ The Exchange who would like to offer equity release to their clients, but previously chose not to get involved in this specialist area or did not hold the necessary qualifications to provide equity release advice themselves.

Age Partnership offers a whole-of-market and independent service, with access to preferential rates. Advice can be provided either entirely over the phone, or face-to-face through its national network of advisers.

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Adam Carnall, head of partnerships at Age Partnership, stated that the upcoming pension changes mean that equity release will become an increasingly mainstream product over the coming years.

“All the signs are there for the equity release market in 2015 to significantly outgrow what was already a fantastic 2014, where sales were up 29 per cent from the previous year.

“So far this year we have already seen significant interest rate cuts and the launch of an important new brand with L&G announcing their entry into the market.”

Dave Miller, executive general manager for sourcing at Iress, added that their analysis of Office for National Statistics data shows that over 55s in the UK currently have a collective property wealth of £2.1bn, so it is clear that there is scope for the market to grow.

“With the new pension flexibilities, we could see demand increase as consumers look to supplement their pension pots, or spend their current long-term savings too quickly.

“With this in mind, the referral service will help advisers provide their clients with quality advice on the product, even if it is not their specialism.”

Last month equity release adviser Bower Retirement Services called for an extra 800 qualified equity release specialists to be recruited by 2020 to meet growing demand.

According to Bower, if the equity release market continues expanding at its current rate of growth, the number of customers per quarter will surpass 11,000 within the next five years - compared to the 5,700 seen in the last quarter of 2014.

It is estimated that there are currently around 800 active qualified equity-release advisers in the UK, so assuming that they are already operating at maximum capacity, this means that the number of active qualified advisers will need to double in order to keep up with the demand, the equity release adviser said.

peter.walker@ft.com