Planning expertise opens door to holistic advice: Bridgewater

Specialist equity release planners should consider moving towards a holistic later life advice service or partner with firms that can facilitate this offering, Chris Prior manager of sales and distribution at Bridgewater Equity Release has said.

Following the introduction of the pension reforms, advisers are now more likely to find themselves working with clients who will want advice on a much greater array of services than those typically offered by home reversion specialist advisers, Mr Prior said.

These services may include advice on loans, pensions, life insurance, protection, long-term care, and legal services.

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He said: “This means that advisory firms may need to stand back and look at their current service offering and proposition to see if it is fit for purpose when it comes to dealing with individuals’ later life needs. I suspect a number of equity release advisers will not yet be in such a position but this doesn’t mean they can’t adapt to the changing marketplace.”

He added that the Later life Academy may be able to help specialists advisers adapt their client proposition to meet the needs of the post-pension reform retirement market.

“It can be difficult to secure the necessary qualifications and product experience to branch out into different sectors, plus there is also the issue of establishing provider relationships, however organisations such as the Academy have a proposition to support such moves,” Mr Prior said.

Adviser view

Lorreine Kennedy, IFA and head of care fee advice at London-based Carematters, said: “I agree that clients have more than one need in later life. However, I do not think that specialist advisers should dilute their specialism to provide a more holistic service. It would take too much time for me to become educated in every aspect of the pension freedoms for example. We often refer clients to other advisory businesses when we are unable to cater for the area of advice they seek.”