Is Equity Release Trustworthy and Are You a Credible Advice Firm?
Since my early days as an equity release adviser at Aviva in the late 1990s, and now as the CEO of Equity Release Supermarket, I’ve often been asked questions like “Is Equity Release trustworthy?”, “Would you, yourself opt for Equity Release or suggest it to your loved ones?”, and “Are you part of a credible company that is authorised to provide advice?”.
To all these inquiries, my response is affirmative. I would indeed endorse equity release to my friends and family if it suits their circumstances. Moreover, equity release can be trusted when your clients seek advice from an independent specialist who is not only qualified but also a member of the equity release council. It’s crucial that the firm they represent is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
An expert adviser should assist you without any obligation, and you shouldn’t have to pay for the advice until you are completely satisfied with the proposed solution. At Equity Release Partners, we offer an additional assurance – we won’t charge your clients for our advice until after your meeting with your independent solicitor and your application is fully processed, ensuring your total satisfaction.
Hence, I advise customers, friends, and family that a great starting point for their decision-making process is to conduct some preliminary research. Our B2C – Equity Release Supermarket website is a valuable resource packed with helpful information to guide you through all your available options.
Advisers have the advantage of having access to the whole suite of later life market products, enabling them to independently research over 300 products. Being limited to a few plans could result in missing out on others that offer more benefits, superior interest rates, and may be more suitable for your clients situation. Therefore, it’s crucial to inquire about the advice status of any adviser you refer to, and the range of products they can suggest.
For example, if you approach some of the larger advisory firms; Key Retirement only provides advice on products from their own lending division – More2Life, while Age Partnership operates from a limited panel of lenders, one of which is Pure Retirement – again their own lending arm. When Nationwide introduced their own equity release plan, it was actually a single product that didn’t even offer a drawdown facility. This meant you could only withdraw the money as a single lump sum, offering no flexibility.
Therefore, if you need unbiased equity release advice for your customers, where there can be no doubts about which lender and products your adviser is suggesting and why, then always choose an adviser who has access to the whole market for equity release. This will give you confidence that the plan they are recommending is the best option for their circumstances.
Upon referral to Equity Release Partners, your clients can engage with our specialist equity release advisers through Livechat, face-to-face meeting at home, a telephone conversation or via video – such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Moreover, our B2C website now offers the ability to explore your own plans using the smartER tool. This technology empowers consumers, allowing you to conduct research at your own pace. Acquiring knowledge and information fosters trust and confidence in your interactions, instead of feeling like everything is concealed behind an adviser waiting in the wings.
Using the expert advisers at Equity Release Supermarket will evaluate if equity release is suitable for you. They will assess your situation, discuss all available options and alternatives, and make a recommendation. The advisers will present their advice and recommendations using a personalised Key Facts illustration from the lender.
Once your clients are satisfied, and if the adviser suggests that equity release is the optimal solution for their goals, their recommendation can be accepted. During the application process, which can take between 6 to 8 weeks, they will receive independent legal advice before accepting the plan. This gives them ample time to reconsider if you have any reservations. During the process as our referral partner, you will have access to our Partner portal which allows you to keep upto date with the application progress.
We believe in assisting and guiding equity release customers to make the best decisions for their individual circumstances. In terms of trust, we are proud members of the Equity Release Council, which represents the equity release industry and promotes high standards of conduct and advice with consumer protection at its core. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which oversees the conduct of over 50,000 firms to ensure financial markets are honest, competitive, and fair.
Lastly, as the CEO of Equity Release Supermarket, ‘trust’ is the fundamental principle that permeates our business. As Warren Buffet aptly put it – ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it’ – a crucial reminder for all.