FCA’s ER qualifications “too easy”

The former equity release adviser accused the regulator of leaving the sector “in the wilderness” and warned that many advisers need to do more to ensure they adequately serve customers.

Wilson made his claims at the launch of Later Life Academy which aims to support advisers looking to increase their knowledge of the at-retirement market from February.

Wilson said: “One of the aims of the academy is to try and step back from regulatory rules and go back to the basics of communication with consumers.

“The two can then be brought back together in harmony. But we, as a sector, have lost the ability to engage with our customers.”

The group will offer support for developing advisory businesses, and offer enhanced commission and transaction fees via supporting providers.

They cited the need for advisers to properly inform customers of all the options, as advice for Equity Release, Long Term Care and Annuity loans have been traditionally kept separate.

Wilson said: “Organisations like the Society of Later Life Advisers cater to the top end of the market while the FCA exam is at the bottom end - we want the Later Life Academy to span the gap in the middle.”

Investment Platform Skandia was introduced as the first Academy Ambassador and will be responsible for developing and launching training, while more groups are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Wilson added: “We are too busy doing what we think regulators tell us to do, giving customers half a trees worth of paper and thinking that’s going to help answer their question but it doesn’t.

“They stick it in the corner and they’re not any more aware of our products than 20 years ago, they’ve just got lots of paper telling them they should be.”