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‘Advisers holding back equity release’

IFAs’ reticence to recomm- end equity release is stifling distribution and holding back the market, said Simply Lifetime joint managing partner Alastair Waldron at the Manchester Mortgage Expo event last week.

He said the market remains dominated by a handful of specialist advisers but for the market to grow to its full potential, more mortgage brokers and IFAs need to be open-minded about market potential.

Waldron described the equity-release market as an hour-glass with many customers and lenders at the wider ends and a small area of distribution at the narrow waist.

He commended the work of specialist advisers but said that the equity-release market should not be underesti- mated, especially when the rewards for an adviser can be extremely attractive.

Hodge Equity Release managing director Jon King agreed, saying that the equity-release market cannot continue to be ignored. By 2010, 24 per cent of the UK population will be eligible for equity release by virtue of their age and by 2020, 40 per cent.

Waldron said: “Equity release is a unique market sector. It does not fit easily into any product category but it cannot continue to be ign- ored by lenders or by distribution. We predict that the market will be worth 3bn to 4bn a year by 2008.”

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