Some providers have been marketing equity release as a way for intermediaries to improve income streams in the downturn but Key business development director Dean Mirfin says: “Any advisers looking to get into equity release must understand that it is not a gap fill. It crosses many financial advice areas and can bring in long-term profits.”
Mirfin reminds IFAs that to fully advise on equity release means an investment in time and qualifications. He says: “IFAs can get involved directly or if they have not got the time, they can earn from referrals. It should not be forgotten that even in good times, equity release can enhance their service.”
Norwich Union’s latest equity release report urges IFAs not to rely on “dabbling” with referrals as the market grows. It says: “New advisers who have received full accreditation and appropriate training will be welcomed with open arms. We believe that as the market grows, dabblers will slowly be squeezed out.”
NU also predicts that IFAs will see greater competition as more high-street banks begin to offer products direct.
Retirement Plus managing director Duncan Young says: “We were surprised how many advisers came to our seminars. They were trying to get up to speed with the industry and seemed to have an extraordinary appetite for information. I have never seen so many business cards changing hands.”