Mortgage and protection network JLM Mortgage Services today (23 January) launched a new equity release advisory firm, Equity Release Mortgage Advice (ERMA).
The firm, a subsidiary and appointed representative (AR) of JLM, currently has five specialist advisers who can all offer equity release, standard mortgage and later life lending advice.
The launch, following a pilot period for the firm, comes with a new website – equityreleasemortgageadvice.org – allowing its advisers to offer their expertise right across the UK.
Other advisers within the JLM network are also able to refer and introduce cases to ERMA where their clients will receive specialist advice.
ERMA has committed to a fixed-fee structure rather than one based on a percentage of the loan.
Advisers will charge a fee of £995 regardless of the loan amount and clients will pay this fee at completion rather than earlier in the process as other equity release advisers tend to do.
Rory Joseph, director of JLM Mortgage Services, said: "You only need look at the growing lending figures in equity release to see this is a product area increasingly in demand as more and more potential clients look to use their home as an asset.
"There has been some significant growth in this part of the market, especially with greater numbers of later life lending products, and we wanted to ensure we had a specialist advisory practice that was able to cover all product bases, not just equity release.
"This is important because an equity release product is not always the most suitable, however if you’re a customer that has gone to an adviser that only offers equity release then this is the only option you’re going to be provided with.
"In our view, this is wrong and with ERMA we believe our clients are going to get the right product for their needs and circumstances every single time."
The network's entrance to the equity release market came as the Equity Release Council reported lending passed £3bn for the first time in 2017, up 42 per cent on 2016.
The total amount of housing wealth unlocked by over-55 homeowners reached £3.06bn in 2017 – the first time it has exceeded £3bn in a single year.