Why we welcome the new checklist for equity release advisers
16 September 2020
Putting our equity release clients first
At 55Plus Equity Release, we always act in our clients’ best interests; we will only recommend equity release if we believe it is a good option for them, and we scour the market to find a product that most closely matches their personal circumstances. That’s why we’re delighted that our industry body, the Equity Release Council (ERC), has introduced a more robust checklist for advisers to work through with people aged 55 and over to help protect them and make sure the advice they are given is based on an accurate understanding of their personal circumstances.
The new equity release checks
The new equity release checklist builds on previous rules and guidance, doubling the number of points covered from 12 to 24. In particular, the ERC has put a particular focus on better safeguarding for vulnerable groups, re-mortgaging customers, saying: ‘The comprehensive checklist is designed to complement customer-facing documents, including fact finds and suitability reports, and support a consistent standard of advice for consumers across the market.’
The complete checklist is, in fact, not just one checklist; there are checklists behind the checklists, providing a thorough source of checking and cross referencing that advisers need to undertake to ensure clients’ best interests are protected, but some of the headlines include clear comparisons between alternative plans and additional checks to ensure that a prospective client fully understands all the options and their implications.
The benefits of choosing an adviser who is a member of the Equity Release Council
The ERC was set up in 1991 and aims to ensure that equity release products in the UK are fair, safe and to the benefit of homeowners. Our founder and Managing Director Jan Johnson said: “We welcome these additional measures to protect the interests of people considering releasing equity from their homes. Although it’s a long list, it’s not a huge change for our advisers as they always go above and beyond requirements to ensure that they are acting in our clients’ best interests at all times. Moreover, all of our advisers are members of the ERC, which means that with 55Plus Equity Release, you know you will always be talking to people with your best interests at heart, covered by the latest safeguarding and monitored by the regulators.”
The ERC requires all members to abide by their latest standards; our advisers are only allowed to recommend a product to you if it meets all the standard that are laid out by the ERC. We are still able to inform you of the products that did not meet all the criteria, but we have to also tell you of the disadvantages involved with these options.
If you wish to discuss releasing equity with an ERC member, our expert advisers are always more than happy to help.