Hargreaves Lansdown is entering the equity-release market with a team of three specialist advisers and plans to increase the team rapidly.
The IFA believes it is the right time to launch into the market, saying the sector is gaining credibility as more lenders launch products.
Hargreaves will initially consider products from all lenders but says it could look at a specially designed product in the future.
Head of mortgages Ian Jordan says equity release will be considered for clients for four reasons – to raise cash for special purposes, to increase retirement income, to fund home care and to help with inheritance tax planning.
He is concerned that the product has been missold in the past and says Hargreaves will be squeaky clean. Its advisers will look on equity release as a last resort for clients and urge them to reorganise their finances and seek help from their families before considering such a move.
Jordan says: “This is great news for us. We will start by making equity release available to our existing client bank, which is ideal because it is ageing.”
Prudential national mortgage club manager John Malone says: “I am delighted that an organisation of Hargreaves Lansdown's substance is entering the equity-release market as it will add credibility. It seems like a natural progression for them as they have an ageing database of clients.”