Canada Life 

One out of eight advisers aren't equity release-qualified

One out of eight advisers aren't equity release-qualified

Canada Life Home Finance polled 100 IFAs and found four out of 10 feel more support is needed to increase the number of equity release-qualified IFAs and make the product more accessible.

The analysis found one in eight UK advisers said they were not equity release-qualified, although 38 per cent of these intend to become qualified in the next 12 months.

Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said: "The majority of equity-release qualified advisers use their qualification on a regular basis, and it is little wonder.

"More and more customers are becoming open to what the product can offer them and are happy to treat property wealth similarly to other assets, as something they can draw on to help them have the retirement lifestyle they want.

"But the shortfall between the number of advisers and the growing number of retirees – even before considering the growing demand for equity release – presents a real challenge to the industry.

"It is no surprise that advisers have identified more help to get qualified as the best way of narrowing the gap, and at Canada Life we’re proud to play a part in providing that much needed support."

The research also showed that 97 per cent of qualified advisers use their qualification at least once a year, while 75 per cent use it weekly.

However, while the majority of UK advisers are equity release-qualified, there is a general shortage of advisers in the industry.

There were approximately 33,000 registered advisers in the UK in 2017, compared with around 700,000 people who reach retirement age each year.

Ray Boulger, senior mortgage technical manager at John Charcol, said: "In an ideal world I agree that more support is needed to help more IFAs become qualified within the equity release market because it is important that advisers are competent to give advice on later life mortgages.

"However, the big challenge is that you really want an adviser who takes a holistic approach, taking into consideration a client's pension, investments, property and other lifestyle factors, when considering mortgage options.

"Realistically that is unlikely to happen in many cases because of regulatory challenges, which means very few can genuinely provide a regulated holistic advice service in conjunction with equity release.

"Maybe the way forward is through a specialist mortgage adviser having a relationship with an IFA so that they can collectively look at a client's overall position to gauge what is or isn't best for them in terms of equity release and other later life mortgages."

Daniel Hodgson, mortgage adviser at Ipswich-based Just Mortgage Brokers, said: "The equity release market is a sector of the industry that is growing at a rapid rate and the shortage of advisers to meet the demand is a concern.  

"Although the number of qualified adviser gives a level of comfort, the potential lack of actual expertise in the field to service the growing demand for this product still represents an issue.