Berkeley Berry Birch subsidiary Berry Birch & Noble is setting up a specialist equity-release division.
It has recruited seven advisers and wants at least one equity-release specialist in each of its 13 UK offices by the end of this year. Heading the operation will be manager Brian Thornley, who previously worked in the field of equity release at Stalwart and then at GE Life after it took over the equity-release specialist insurer.
BBN will advise on the entire range of schemes approved by Safe Income Home Plans. It says equity release is suitable for high-net-worth individuals who want to release capital for projects such as buying a holiday home or paying school fees for grandchildren, as well as those who might otherwise be forced to move into a smaller property for the last years of their lives.
Formed by the merger of Berkeley Independent Associates and Berry Birch & Noble in January 2002, the Aim-listed firm has annual turnover of around £65m, more than 800 fully regulated advisers and over 100,000 customers.
Thornley says: “The increasing confusion, bordering on distrust, surrounding the equity-release market means it is essential that consumers have access to fully trained and independent specialists.
“Realising a small amount of equity in property can make the difference between people remaining in their home or being forced to spend the rest of their lives unhappily elsewhere.
“But receiving the expert advice on how to do this is paramount. Our specialist advisers can help guide clients through to reaching the correct solution, whatever their individual circumstances.”