The FCA may introduce a qualification covering both mortgages and equity release within the next two years, OneFamily sales director Jon Tweed has predicted.
At the moment brokers have to have CeMap qualification but anyone advising on equity release must have ER1, a certificate in equity release.
Tweed said: “What’s been discussed is should there be an overarching qualification for both mortgage and equity release? I think the FCA will look at this when the market grows more.
“Equity release is growing so much that I think over the next two years the FCA will definitely start looking at it and then qualifications may be considered; qualifications will definitely evolve.
“I think it’s important understanding it’s not just the qualification that makes a good adviser – that’s just the start. It’s more about the training and often the support from advisers which we offer too.”
He argued there needs to be more education and training for brokers to consider lifetime mortgages when advising customers.
Tweed said: “Brokers need to understand with customers over 55, they should be talking about lifetime mortgages as well as residential mortgages.
“If they understand lifetime mortgages they’ll understand if customer should have it. We also encourage referrals to people with qualifications. There’s lots of referral relationships and it’s bigger than ever and will get even bigger.”
Tweed added: “Making interest-only totally inaccessible was wrong so I welcome the changes. I think it’ll compliment lifetime mortgages because it adds more choice for consumers. If you can’t afford it you could go onto lifetime. It’s more about the advice for lifetime and residential mortgages.
“As we attract more and more brokers into the market we need to educate them to understand what products are there, who they should be talking to, what portals they should be looking at. We do this now. The market is evolving and growing rapidly.
“Equity release has really improved its image. It’s got a lot quicker. Service has definitely improved.
“Previously it lacked behind residential but it’s caught up with technology such as automated processes. We’re automating the process and we continue to do so. It’s a journey not an end.”
Tweed said OneFamily plans to just keep growing by listening to feedback from brokers and acting on it, with more innovation and products.
He added: “The plan is always to bring new innovation to the market which we will be doing at some stage this year.
“A big part for me is getting the structure right and making sure we support the broker and have the system in place and the service can always be as good as it can be.
“We always see the brokers as partners not customers in essence. We walk hand in hands.
“I’ve been in the market for a while so I know all the main players. It’s about working closely with those guys and helping the new ones coming in, passing on our experience.”