The Personal Finance Society says advisers recommending equity-release plans should have a QCF level four investment qualification.
To advise on equity release, advisers have to take a regulatory and ethics exam, an equity-release exam and a mortgage exam. The current equity-release qualification is QCF level three.
Advisers conducting only lifetime mortgage business do not need further FSA permissions if they are already able to advise on mortgages. Advisers offering both lifetime mortgages and home-reversion plans need additional permissions covering home reversions.
Writing in this week’s Money Marketing, PFS chief executive Fay Goddard says: “I believe equity release has a rightful place in the market and fully support the desire for a professional and trusted adviser community. However, to achieve this, I question if both the level of the current qualification and the scope of FSA permissions is correct.
“That an adviser is able to recommend someone effectively disinvests what is often their largest asset without being FSA-qualified in investment advice, so unable to discuss their pensions or any investments, makes no sense to me.”
Bower Retirement Services equity release planner Simon Chalk says: “I do not entirely agree with Fay that equity-release advisers should also be able to advise on investments but I do think they should be qualified to QCF level four.”