More equity release IFAs needed, warns SHIP

Ramesh Sharma

January 28, 2006

SHIP members, questioned by the first SHIP Member Survey, are worried there are not enough IFAs who understand equity release products but will offer them to clients.

With the equity release market expected to show continued growth in the next 12 months, SHIP fears clients will not be able to access the market for lack of specialist advice.

Jon King, chairman of SHIP, said: “Equity release is becoming a mainstream financial product. However, there is a clear shortage of qualified advisers venturing into equity release. This is of great concern to SHIP as we strongly believe that, having come such a long way and achieved so much on the product side, 2006 will see us focusing more on standards of advice.”

Simon Chalk, mortgage planner at Mortgage Portfolio Services, agreed. He said: “Brokers nowadays have become more specialised and at the minute there are not enough sales in equity release for many brokers to risk coming into the market and specialising in it.”

SHIP, however, blamed the shortage on a combination of both brokers’ fears of regulation in the market and fear of mis-selling, and a lack of education on equity release among intermediaries.

Raising awareness of equity release products is seen as key among SHIP members, with many saying they want to see both the Council of Mortgages Lenders (CML) and the FSA joining with SHIP to educate IFAs about equity release.

Chalk added: “What is needed is more brokers augmenting their skills by training in equity release and slowly moving into the market.”

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