Referrals are a cost effective way for advisers to either move into the equity release advice space, or expand their existing equity release business, according to The Equity Release Council.
Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council says building strong relationships with clients is essential.
He says: “It is a good way of increasing inbound referrals, as past and present customers often have friends who are in a similar situation who may be considering equity release.”
“Advisers should ensure their peers within the industry are aware of their capabilities in advising on equity release, so the adviser will be at the forefront front of other professionals' minds when customers enquire about equity release.”
How to get more equity release referrals:
Improve your network
Membership of the Equity Release Council is recommended by Joanna Fowler, head of product at Saga Money and Andy Wilson, an equity release specialist adviser and director of Lincoln-based Andy Wilson Financial Services.
Ms Fowler says advisers who are members of the ERC are listed in its directory, which potential customers can refer to.
The Equity Release Council runs networking events at its exhibitions and conferences, and it offers its members the chance to attend CPD accredited workshops.
There are also many available online to help advisers build up their knowledge and expertise in this area.
For example, Aviva for Advisers has several useful calculators, contact details and documents on its website.
Think ‘beyond’ retirement
Roger Marsden, managing director of Aviva Equity Release says equity release has traditionally been based around retirement income needs, but increasingly younger homeowners, those between 55 and 64 are considering equity release.
Ms Fowler says advisers who had clients with tax liabilities might also want to consider equity release.
“If a customer is looking for inheritance tax advice or when a customer is looking at pension and retirement planning, advisers should start to think outside the box and consider if equity release could be the right option for these customers.”
Dean Mirfin, technical director at Key Retirement, comments that clients looking to take out a mortgage in later life might need to be steered towards equity release.
He explains: “There are a number of lenders who offer traditional mortgages for those in later life, but often affordability criteria rules many retirees out. In this situation equity release can be a solution for some.
"Ultimately both mortgage and equity release advisers need to be aware of the different product options to enable them to recommend the best option to meet their client’s needs or refer to the relevant adviser.”
Work with a partner
Advisers who are starting out in equity release may prefer to work directly with an equity release specialist.
Andrea Rozario, chief corporate officer at equity release specialist Bower Retirement, says these advisers may have an existing client base that fits the demographic of equity release or they may build up a network of introducers who do do not wish advise on equity release and will therefore pass over their leads.