Can All Brokers Offer an Equity Release Advisory Service?

Equity release finance is a range of products which offer home owners the opportunity to release the equity tied in their property without needing to move home. Unlike a conventional mortgage, these types of financial products have no specific fixed term and allow for the home owner to remain in the property for the remainder of their lifetime. However, this is a very specific type of financial product, which due to its nature has a number of regulations in place for consumer protection. This leaves many people wondering whether any mortgage broker can provide an equity release advisory service, or if it is necessary to seek out a specialist broker.

Types of Broker
There are a number of different brokers who offer financial advice, products and services. These include:

While you may have already had dealings with one or more of these types of financial brokers, only the equity release broker is a specialist in providing an equity release advisory service. Other types of broker can obtain qualification for providing equity release products including examinations and certification on lifetime mortgages and home reversion schemes.

Is My Broker Qualified to Offer an Equity Release Advisory Service?
The main examinations which enable brokers to provide an equity release advisory service are the CeMap or CeLTM for lifetime mortgages and CeRER for home reversion schemes. However, it can be a little confusing to decipher whether your broker is qualified as there are two different trade bodies within the equity release industry which offer different certification and attribute different letters after the name of the advisor.

Most brokers will widely advertise whether they have attained the qualification to advise on a particular range of products and services. However, it may not necessarily provide the best possible option for your requirements to choose a broker who although qualified, does not specialise in equity release.

Why Choose a Specialist Equity Release Advisory Service?
Some brokerage companies aim to provide a broader range of services by having a combination of mortgage and equity release advisors. However, this general provision of services may mean that your advisor is not intimately familiar with the equity release industry. Specialist equity release advisors are dealing with lenders and applications every day, which means that they are familiar with new products and the best possible deals which may be available for their clients. A specialist broker has more likelihood of providing the best advice for your specific circumstances as they are dealing with providers every single day. This will provide a greater opportunity to supply details of the best possible deal for their client.

Are Equity Release Brokers Regulated?
All firms which advertise or sell equity release products and schemes are regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). This ensures that advisors must comply with certain standards to ensure consumer protection. Your advisor should be on the FCA register and have a qualification to provide equity release advice. This ensures that there are procedures in place to provide protection in the event that anything goes wrong.

The FCA regulation ensures that all materials provide clear and fair information which will not mislead any consumer. You should also receive advantages and disadvantages of your chosen financial product, key facts and clear indication of any fees and charges which are applicable.

As with any financial product, it is important that you understand any charges or fees which may apply, restrictions or limitations of your chosen equity release scheme. If you are unsure of any aspect, it is important to clarify the details with your equity release advisory service before proceeding to finalise your application.