AIFA committed to improving equity release market
AIFA has confirmed it will develop a range of briefings to help advisers decide if equity release is the best option for the client and will run sessions on how to enter the market. A micro-site dubbed the ‘knowledge hub’ is also under construction, where firms can retrieve reference materials on the equity release market.
AIFA has also called for a specific qualification to become the standard procedure for brokers wishing to enter the market and said it will be working with relevant professional bodies to ensure good working practices.
Chris Cummings, director-general of AIFA, confirmed that changes to AIFA policy in the equity release market had been made as a result of regulatory, industry and consumer concerns. He said: “Equity release is a product which remains firmly under the scrutiny of the FSA following the results of its first round of mystery shopping last year. The message from the regulator is that standards on giving advice in this area must be raised and the FSA is committed to testing those standards again very shortly.
“AIFA is committed to ensuring that those members who are involved in the equity release market, or those who are thinking of becoming involved, are aware of the regulatory requirements and the issues which need to be considered and our plans undertake to achieve this.”
Dean Mirfin, business development director at Key Retirement Solutions, welcomed AIFA’s move to promote standards. He said: “Any moves to educate within the market is a good idea. There’s currently a lot of debate about the examinations process in the sector and many have already taken exams in the lifetime market. This proves they are committed and can only be a good thing.”