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FCA drops plans for standalone equity release qualification

Regulator says new qualification was unlikely to give more people access to advice

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The FCA has dropped plans to bring in a standalone equity release qualification.

Last September the regulator consulted on plans to move away from the current system, where advisers must be mortgage-qualified up to level three to sell equity release, so consumers could access help on equity release from a wider range of advisers.

The FCA said stakeholders had told it that IFAs may have been reluctant to offer equity release because they had no other interest in getting qualified for mortgage advice, and wanted to measure how many would be interested in taking a separate qualification in equity release.

The plans were backed by many advisers but criticised by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, which warned standalone plans would harm consumers.

Today the FCA has said it will keep the existing qualification framework following further market feedback.

The regulator’s policy statement says: “We received mixed feedback on whether there was a market need for a standalone or top-up equity release qualification.

“Most respondents didn’t think that an alternative to the current approach would lead to a significant increase in the number of people appropriately qualified.

“Therefore, we have decided not to change the appropriate qualification for equity release at this time.”

The regulator adds that “a solid understanding of mortgages is, and is likely to remain, an important competency in giving equity release advice”.

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Comments

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  1. Sense at last. If your are a fully fledged IFA and even better chartered – then why would you need this fatuous qualification anyway?

    I think apart from the qualification angle it should be the case that only Independent advisers can deal with Equity Release and certainly no mortgage advisers. There are far too many nasties under this particular product. Furthermore commission on the product should be outlawed as should any other third party involvement – contracted out or not. Too frequently there are too many fingers in this particular pie creaming off charges. Then the disclosure document needs to be cleaned up 19 pages is certainly not acceptable. The charges, pitfalls and reductions should all appear on page one in bold type with absolute transparency. This is not currently the case.

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