AIFA lays out stance on equity release
Chris Cummings, director general of AIFA, said: “AIFA recognises the consumer interest in this market and seeks to help members address equity release in a compliant and sensitive manner. In addition to the work that we have already carried out, we are undertaking a programme of work which is designed to meet this aim.”
“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.”
AIFA’s programme of activities:
– Developing a range of business briefings – The first of these is a ‘Viewpoint’ publication. The aim of this guide, which is sponsored by Prudential, is to help take advisers through all the issues they should be considering before they decide whether or not to become involved in advising their clients on this product.
– Establishing a “knowledge hub” micro-site where firms can find valuable reference materials.
– As part of AIFA’s continued programme of briefings and events, it will be running sessions looking at the way to enter the market.
– AIFA will be speaking with the professional bodies in order to identify and promote relevant training programmes for advisers.
– AIFA will be calling for specific professional qualifications to become the standard for those wishing to advise in this market.
– AIFA will maintain a dialogue with the regulator, and policy makers, as the market evolves, in order to ensure consumers and members have certainty.