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Networks’ reluctance holding back release

Mortgage networks’ reluctance to promote equity release is stifling growth in the sector, specialists have claimed.

Safe Home Income Plans has called on advisers to give feedback on the key barriers preventing consumers from gaining greater access to advice on equity release. Equity Advice managing partner Stuart Wilson says networks’ fears over compliance issues are preventing them from promoting the products.

He says: “There are many contributing factors, such as the extra cost of professional indemnity cover and the failure of many brokers to be proactive about pursuing this type of business. I do not think the exams are the barrier because they are among the easiest in financial services. But one of the main issues is that some of the big networks are reluctant to allow appointed representatives to offer equity-release advice because they are paranoid about the risks.”

Retirement Plus managing director Duncan Young says networks have failed to embrace equity release wholeheartedly.

He says: “It is only really Personal Touch Financial Services that is actively pushing equity release at the moment.”

Legal & General director of mortgages Ben Thompson says: “We have a small number of advisers that offer specialist equity-release advice and accept referrals as we believe a specialist rather than broad-brush approach is best. The sector has enormous potential and we will be looking at it more and mor, but only while making sure advisers have the appropriate levels of experience and qualifications.”

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