80% of IFAs say education needed on equity release

04 May 2006
More than eight in ten independent financial advisers (IFAs) have identified an information gap among consumers when it comes to equity release products.

A third of consumers considering an equity release mortgage currently turn to their bank, compared to 19 per cent who consult an IFA. Experts urge people to seek independent advice since high street branches will push their own products.

"Demand is high and people need educating," explains Jan Holt, head of sales for lifetime mortgages at Prudential, the company that conducted the research.

According to Prudential's figures, 48 per cent of consumers would feel comfortable with a lifetime mortgage, with approximately 12.9 million future pensioners due to fund their retirement with equity release.

More than a third of adults polled look to newspapers for details on equity release products and Mr Holt is urging both IFAs and consumers to work together to breach the information gap, especially with the benefits of current regulation.

"Regulation plays a key part in helping advisers feel comfortable and protected and it also enhances consumer confidence as well," he said.

"Thirty per cent of consumers feel that regulation makes them more likely to take out a lifetime mortgage in the future."

Borrowers can take advantage of assets tied up in property with an equity release mortgage, without the need to sell-up or move house. However, independent advice is recommended to guarantee the most appropriate package in each individual circumstance.

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