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One-third of release plans are sold direct

A third of equity-release plans are taken out direct with product providers, according to Key Retirement Solutions.

Speaking at the Mortgage Business Expo, KRS development director Dean Mirfin said there was a shortage of IFAs active in this sector.

He said customers were drawn to providers through brand awareness and the perceived reliability associated with their brands. There was also a misconception among consumers that going direct would provide a better rate.

He did not think the FSA’s mystery-shopping exercise in May into equity release had a negative effect on the market, although he said there was some apprehension from advisers and consumers about the product.

Consumers still regard the market as risky, he warned, and they are most concerned with how complicated products are and the fact that they may face negative equity.

Mirfin said: “Although the equity-release market is on the rise, it is still relatively small. One of the biggest problems is that access to advice is limited. Local and national press need to offer clearer information.”

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