Mortgages  

Mystery shopper: Croydon

This week the mystery is in the Croydon area. He is seeking advice on equity release on behalf of his aunt and uncle, who own a property valued at £650,000 and have no outstanding debts. The pair are both aged 70, and have two adult children.

Adviser (Independent): Monetary Solutions, Palmerston House, 814 Brighton Rd, Purley, CR8 2BR

Speed of response:
Time of call: 10.44am. Answered after five rings. 5/5

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Telephone manner:

Friendly yet professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

ER1 Equity Release (CII) and level four diploma. 5/5

Payment method:

Commission. 5/5

Guidance given:

Equity release products are becoming increasingly popular because more people are seeking to use up the equity tied up in assets, but there are some notable caveats to be aware of, the adviser said. She added that if customers failed to repay the interest, they could see their debts double over a 10-year period. However, there were safeguards in place to ensure that debts were never more than the amount outstanding. The adviser invited the shopper and his aunt and uncle to a free consultation meeting to discuss the matter in greater detail. 4/5

Knowledge:

Good. The adviser provided a basic overview of equity release and gave an example to demonstrate interest rate risk. 4/5

Email/web presence:

vivian@monetarysolutions.co.uk

www.monetarysolutions.co.uk 5/5

Verdict:

The call did not last very long, but the shopper was well satisfied with the information provided and by the adviser’s friendly approach.

33/35

Adviser (Independent): Argentum Financial Planning, 46 Stafford Rd, Wallington, SM6 9AY

Speed of response:
Time of call: 10.52am. Answered after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Polite and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

ER1 Equity Release (CII) and MAQ Mortgage Advice Qualification (CII). 5/5

Payment method:

Commission. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser said that equity release products are generally good but are not without pitfalls. Equity release products can be costly to implement when legal, valuation and arrangement fees are taken into account, she said. After asking the shopper’s aunt’s and uncle’s ages and the value of their property, she calculated that they would be likely to be able to borrow up to 20 per cent LTV. She mentioned the contractual obligation for customers to keep their properties in good repair so that the provider could sell them when they die or go into long-term care. 5/5

Knowledge:

The adviser was clearly well-versed in the topic. 5/5

Email/web presence:

jayne@argentumfp.com

www.argentumfp.com 5/5

Shopper’s choice:

Very impressive. The adviser managed to concisely deliver detailed information. One of her more notable attributes was knowing when to pause for the shopper’s questions.

35/35

Adviser (Independent): Simon Blackman, Independent Financial Adviser, 53 Rymer Road, Croydon, CR0 6EF

Speed of response:
Time of call: 11.06am. Answered after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Talkative and friendly. 4/5

Relevant qualifications:

CeRER Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (IFS) and level four diploma. 5/5

Payment method:

£395 plus commission. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser said that the customer could choose to repay the loan plus interest or do nothing and allow the provider to sell their home to recover the amount owed once they died or went into long-term care. He added that customers could see their debts double over a 10-year period should they opt against paying interest. The adviser also explained that the ‘no negative equity’ guarantee meant that a customer will never owe more than the value of their home, no matter what happened to its market value. 4/5