The Equity Release Council has launched a syllabus to support advisers’ professional development in the equity release and later life lending market.
The educational syllabus will guide an adviser’s development in the field and will be offered alongside other materials to support progress.
The Council said it had worked with specialists across the sector to develop six modules covering the industry, market, clients, soft skills, products and processes.
Each module is split into three pathways based on an adviser’s level of experience: those new to the sector, advising under supervision or who have ‘competent adviser’ status.
Donna Bathgate, chief operating officer of the Equity Release Council, said: “This competency framework will act as a guide to help firms to develop, educate and upskill advisers to meet growing consumer needs in a safe and sustainable way.
“Property wealth is increasingly part of consumers’ thinking when they make later life financial plans, so it is vital to ensure the service they receive is of a consistently high standard as the market grows.”
Bathgate added: “The competency framework is the Council’s latest initiative to help firms and their advisers develop a 360-degree view of today’s market and ensure the best possible outcomes for consumers.”
Alice Watson, head of marketing at Canada Life Insurance, commented: “With property wealth playing an increasingly important role in later life funding, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we continue to deliver a high standard of advice and ensure best outcomes for clients.
“This framework supports this objective, allowing new, supervised, and competent advisers to assess their own knowledge and identify potential gaps in their learning.”
The launch of the framework comes after the Equity Release Council published a ‘best practice’ guide for advisers in December to ensure consumers receive a quality service and that case files capture sufficient details.
Last year the Financial Conduct Authority warned that firms must do more to ensure they always give appropriate equity release advice after a multi-firm review.
Its concerns centred around the personalisation of advice, challenging customer assumptions and evidence of the suitability of advice - all of which were found to be lacking.
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