HSBC criticised for intermediary snub

Ramesh Sharma

March 25, 2006

The lender is the first to enter the market without the involvement of the broker community for a number of years and its reluctance to do so has led to fears that customers will suffer through not getting independent advice on all the products available.

Dean Mirfin, business development director at Key Retirement Solutions, commented: “We are very surprised that HSBC has chosen to enter the market in a tied partnership that is not an independent adviser thus it does not look at the whole market when advising its clients. This is completely against the trend within the industry to recommend the widest possible choice and most impartial advice for consumers and it leads us to suspect that the equity release product is not competitive enough to be offered via the intermediary market.”

The equity release market has already come under fire from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) regarding the sale of its products and the latest round of mystery shopping in the sector is ongoing.

HSBC, however, believe it is making the right decision for its business by offering its products through In Retirement Service, a Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) member.

A spokesperson for HSBC said: “We piloted the lifetime equity release product among our customers and found during this tender process the best solution for us would be to market our product through In Retirement Service.”

Jon King, chairman of SHIP, said: “It’s pleasing to see a high-street lender come into the market and good it is working with a SHIP member. The problem has always been having people to sell the products rather than providers but it’s good to see it in the market.”

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