The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) has launched a new standard to help consumers find specialist equity release advice.
The Later Life Lending Advice Standard, which is offered through a distanced, computer-based training course, includes technical elements on equity release, as well as wider later life issues, such as care planning, availability of benefits and vulnerable client care.
SOLLA Founder and Joint Chair Tish Hanifan said: “It’s time for urgent change. Equity release can be a great option, but consumers need and deserve the right support to decide if it’s for them. The wrong advice can have a catastrophic impact on people’s lives.
“Well-rounded financial advice on equity release shouldn’t be too much for a consumer to ask for. An adviser needs to understand the key issues facing people in later life as well as vulnerable client care, and help people weigh up the benefits and considerations.
“For 15 years we’ve been signposting consumers to those financial advisers that truly understand the later life market. We’re delighted to now be able to do the same when it comes to equity release, a market that we expect to continue to grow.”
In addition to technical elements regarding equity release, the new SOLLA standard includes modules encompassing wider later life issues, such as care planning, availability of benefits and vulnerable client care.
Simon Chalk is a member of the SOLLA Advisory Board and owner of an equity release specialist advisory firm, added: “The equity release market is growing, but advice standards across the board aren’t high enough, a factor that’s holding it back. The Later Life Lending Advice Standard will boost the quality of advice universally, helping the industry to reach its potential. Great news for both consumers and advisers.
“The Standard is also a fantastic opportunity for financial advisers to stand out from the pack and show they are the absolute best in their field. I’d really urge any financial adviser who offers equity release advice to achieve the new standard.”