An industry-backed scheme to help advisers join the equity release market has been launched by Key Retirement Solutions.
Lifetime Advisory Services will formally launch in September and has been hailed by Key as pivotal to eradicate dabblers who do not have adequate systems and controls in place, as highlighted by the Financial Services Authority last month.
LAS will provide training for individual advisers and will give those that subscribe access to its fact-finding and suitability software to ensure they comply with FSA guidelines. Training costs up to 700 per adviser, and subscribing to the service costs 150 for a firms first adviser and 75 for each thereafter.
LAS is sponsored by five product providers: Prudential, Just Retirement, Bridgewater, GE Life and Mortgage Express. It has already signed up Chase De Vere Mortgage Management and is talking to another four or five adviser firms.
Key says LAS is ideal for advisers that transact at least three cases a month. It admits that sponsors do not have preferential treatment over other providers but insists the quintet are doing the right thing.
Key business development director Dean Mirfin says: We have been aware for some time of the concerns both of the FSA, product providers and practitioners regarding the quality of advice in the equity release sector. In addition, we have been approached in the past by leading intermediaries who have requested help from ourselves and, in particular, to access to our bespoke systems.
We have acted on these requests, and those of the market as a whole, to provide Lifetime Advisory Services. We firmly believe that by sharing our experience and advice tools through this new venture, intermediaries will obtain the training and support that that they – and the regulator – are calling for and will be able to truly treat their customers fairly.