The Society of Later Life Advisers (Solla) has launched an advice standard to demonstrate an adviser’s understanding of client care.
The Later Life Lending Advice Standard (LLLAS) covers technical elements on equity release, in addition to wider later life issues such as care planning, availability of benefits and vulnerable client care.
The standard, which is offered through a distanced, computer-based training course, comes after the Financial Conduct Authority warned in June that firms must do more to ensure they always give appropriate equity release advice after a multi-firm review.
Tish Hanifan, founder and joint chair of Solla, said: “It’s time for urgent change. Equity release can be a great option, but consumers need and deserve the right support to decide if it’s for them. The wrong advice can have a catastrophic impact on people’s lives.
“Well-rounded financial advice on equity release shouldn’t be too much for a consumer to ask for. An adviser needs to understand the key issues facing people in later life as well as vulnerable client care, and help people weigh up the benefits and considerations.
“For 15 years we’ve been signposting consumers to those financial advisers that truly understand the later life market. We’re delighted to now be able to do the same when it comes to equity release, a market that we expect to continue to grow.”
The LLLAS award aims to evidence that an adviser is actively providing equity release advice and has ongoing CPD relevant to later life lending advice.
Simon Chalk, founder of Laterliving Now, commented: “The equity release market is growing, but advice standards across the board aren’t high enough, a factor that’s holding it back.
“The Later Life Lending Advice Standard will boost the quality of advice universally, helping the industry to reach its potential. Great news for both consumers and advisers."
He added: “The Standard is also a fantastic opportunity for financial advisers to stand out from the pack and show they are the absolute best in their field. I’d really urge any financial adviser who offers equity release advice to achieve the new standard.”
The Equity Release Council also published a ‘best practice’ guide for advisers last month to ensure consumers receive a quality service and that case files capture sufficient details.
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