Equity release becomes SAFER

The three companies, Key Retirement Solutions, Age Partnership and Equity Release Solutions represent over 50% of all equity release sales from intermediaries.

Colin Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Key Retirement Solutions, is the Chairman for the alliance. He comments “SAFER has been formed to ensure consistent levels of accurate equity release advice for all customers. In the current financial climate, this is extremely important. If you aren’t a specialist in this arena and don’t take it seriously, then you shouldn’t be in the market.”

Tim Loy, Chief Executive Officer of Age Partnership, adds “Many advisers from the sub-prime and buy-to-let markets, looking to find a replacement income stream, are entering the equity release market without the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications. This could have a serious detrimental effect on the quality of advice and confidence levels in the market. That’s why it’s vital to educate advisers on the need to take equity release advice seriously.”

Kevin Stelfox, Managing Director of Equity Release Solutions, comments “We agree with the FSA’s view that advisers shouldn’t dabble in equity release. It’s a high risk area, requiring specialist disciplines and processes. Therefore, SAFER will only accept members where equity release accounts for a substantial part of their business, and where the required controls and disciplines are firmly in place.”

All three founding companies have committed to SAFER’s ten point code of conduct, and the four main pillars of the service:

- Advisers will offer independent and impartial advice

- Advisers will treat customers fairly and offer a full report which will cover state benefit entitlement and the effects of equity release

- Advisers will only advise on products which have a no negative equity guarantee

- Advisers will work with product providers to produce innovative and creative solutions

Duncan Young, Managing Director of Retirement Plus welcomes the creation of SAFER, “Equity release advice needs to be taken seriously, and we applaud these three companies for setting a new standard in the market. In addition to regulation, the SAFER code of conduct will further ensure customers are treated fairly, with independent advice of the highest quality.”

For further information on SAFER visit www.specialistadvisers.org or call 01772 508534