The majority of equity release customers who took out a plan through Hodge Lifetime did so because it was recommended to them by an independent financial advisor (IFA).
While sales through editorial and newspaper advertising fell by 50 per cent, from 22 per cent in the first quarter of 2008 to 11 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, 77 per cent of customers surveyed said they came to equity release through an IFA.
As plummeting returns from savings and investments have impacted pensioners' incomes, seeking advice on the best ways to generate alternative income has become increasingly popular, Hodge Lifetime's findings revealed.
IFAs can offer advice about customers' options, the various different types of equity release plans which are available, and which one might be suitable for each customer's circumstances.
Furthermore, as consumers seek financial security during the recession, Hodge Lifetime recognises that advice about guarantees is of "paramount" importance.
Equity release customers who take out a plan with a provider regulated by SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans) - which regulates around 90 per cent of the equity release sector - are protected by its code of conduct.
But IFAs can also consider each individual case in relation to current market conditions, Hodge Lifetime says, in addition to considering the impact of other factors, such as the need for a guaranteed cash facility, and rates for life.
Commenting on the research, Jon King, managing director at Hodge Lifetime equity release, said: "The increase of introductions to equity release via advisers is great news for the intermediary."
"The extra value IFAs bring is not just in their advice but also their product selection in response to consumer concerns. With a full understanding of the intricacies of equity release products on offer, IFAs in this field can ensure an additional layer of guarantees and peace of mind to older clients."
© Fair Investment Company Ltd
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