2019 was undoubtedly a record-breaking year for the equity release sector.
The number of product options more than doubled from 126 to 287, providing greater choice and flexibility than ever before.
Industry headlines were awash with the news of record low interest rates and the number of people releasing equity increased by 6% year-on-year.
Rapid growth quickly triggered the need for more advisers who are qualified to advise on equity release, coupled with easy access to learning materials to help expedite the qualification process.
Pure Retirement launches training videos
In Q4 2019 Pure Retirement launched equity release training videos and webinars that are available on their adviser-facing YouTube channel. The new resources provide information about products and wider industry trends to support advisers with learning and development.
For example, one webinar explains how to recognise and accommodate vulnerable borrowers and another explains gilt rates.
LIBF updates equity release qualification
The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) has also reacted to changes in the market by reviewing and updating its Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER) qualification.
LIBF recognised the need to make fundamental changes to the training materials to ensure they remain fit for purpose.
The new syllabus, launched on 6 January 2020, has doubled from three to six topics. There is a renewed focus on vulnerable customers, powers of attorney and complaint handling to reflect industry priorities and consumer needs.
The updated course materials also equip advisers in the broader later life lending sector. This will facilitate a joined-up approach to later life planning whereby advisers and borrowers consider all wealth and assets.
Further updates are expected to take place in April 2020 to incorporate any changes in light of the budget and Brexit.
The Equity Release Council launches a competency framework
Earlier this month, the regulatory body unveiled an adviser development programme to ensure all advisers are well-equipped to deal with any case they may encounter.
The council’s new initiative will provide training resources for advisers at different stages of their careers. For example, advisers that are newly-qualified, under supervision, or experienced will all have access to training materials that are suitable for their level of expertise.
Aside from equity release, the modules will also cover alternative products, tax, inheritance, benefits and care needs to ensure that advisers have a broader understanding of all factors that need to be considered during the advice process.
Many advisers deal with very few cases each year and, as a result, miss out on valuable experience that widens knowledge and ensures competency. The council’s framework aims to improve skills and understanding across the board, regardless of how long an adviser has been qualified for.
A word from Personal Retirement Planning
At Personal Retirement Planning we welcome these training and development initiatives. It’s great to see the sector be proactive to changes in the market and take action where needed. We look forward to seeing more training videos from Pure Retirement and new resources from the Equity Release Council.