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‘Brokers still in nappies on equity release’

The equity-release market should not be worried by the lack of intermediaries selling the product, says Equity Advice head Stuart Wilson.

In recent months, the market has been plagued by concerns that a lack of advisers is hindering growth but Wilson insists that the main priority is getting more providers with consumer-facing arms into the sector to build consumer confidence and brokers can then follow.

He also believes that direct players are more advanced in terms of their understanding of the market.

The FSA reported in July that too many advisers that dabble in the market are not selling in the correct manner which is putting consumers at risk, while high-street names such as HSBC, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland have entered the market on a direct-basis only.

There have been a number of initiatives over the past few months to get more IFAs on board. These include Key Retirement Solutions’ Lifetime Advisory Services initiative, which will see LAS train individual advisers, and a similar scheme set up by EA.

Wilson says: “Intermediaries are not quite where the direct players are just yet. The intermediary market is still in nappies and direct players are teenagers, if you compare it with the more mature mortgage market.

“Let the direct players flourish and the rest will follow. It is a positive thing that RBS and HSBC are involved, although I do not like the prices being quoted, but the fact that they are in, is great.”

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