From the late ’90s when I was a tied equity release adviser at Aviva, continuing to this present day as a CEO of Equity Release Supermarket, the questions I have regularly been asked are “Can I Trust Equity Release?”, “Would you do Equity Release, or recommend it to your friends and family?”, and “Do you work for a reputable company who are authorised to give advice?”.
The answer to all those questions is, yes, I would recommend equity release to my friends and family if it is right for them, and yes you can trust equity release if you take independent specialist advice from an adviser who is qualified, a member of the equity release council and the firm they are representing is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
A specialist adviser should help you without obligation, and you should not pay for the advice until you are 100% happy with the solution. Again here at Equity Release Supermarket there is an extra layer of reassurance, we will not charge you for our advice until after you have an appointment with your independent solicitor, and your application completes - to ensure you are 100% satisfied.
So, I tell customers, friends, and family that a good place to start your decision making is to complete some basic research and use the Equity Release Supermarket website because it is packed with useful information to inform you about all of your options.
All Equity Release Supermarket advisers have access to the whole of the market and therefore can research over 300 products independently. Restricting yourself to a handful of plans could mean you are missing out on others that offer more features, better interest rates and may be better for your circumstances. It’s therefore very important to ask any adviser you engage with as to what their advice status is, and from what range of products they can recommend.
For instance, if you approach some of the larger advice firms; Key Retirement only advises on products from their own lending arm – More2Life, whilst Age Partnership operate from a limited panel of lenders, again one of which is Pure Retirement - their own lending arm. When Nationwide offered their own equity release plan, this was actually only a single product, which didn't even offer a drawdown facility. This meant you could only take the money as a single one-off lump sum, providing no flexibility.
Hence, if you require impartial equity release advice, where they can be no concerns over which lender and products your adviser is recommending and why, then always select a whole of market equity release adviser to feel confident in the plan they are recommending is the best option for you.
Here at Equity Release Supermarket, you have the option to engage with a specialist adviser via Livechat, a Face-to-Face meeting at home, conversation over the telephone or by video – such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Furthermore, on our website, you can now even research your own plans by using the smartER tool. This kind of technology can only empower the consumer and enables you to conduct your own research in your own time. Gaining knowledge and information can only lead to building trust and confidence in who you are dealing with, rather than everything being hidden behind a waiting adviser.
Equity Release Supermarket expert advisers will advise you if equity release is right for you, let them assess your situation, and they will discuss all of your options and alternatives before making a recommendation. Let the adviser present their advice and recommendations to you using a lenders personalised Key Facts illustration.
Once you are happy, and if they advise equity is the best solution for your objectives, accept their recommendations, and then during the application process, you will take independent legal advice before accepting the plan. The application process can take between 6 to 10 weeks, so you have plenty of time to change your mind if you have any doubts.
Equity Release Supermarket believe in helping and guiding our customers to make the best decisions for their personal circumstances. Furthermore, regarding trust, we are proud members of the Equity Release Council who represent the equity release industry, promoting high standards of conduct and advice with consumer safeguards at its heart. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who regulates the conduct of over 50,000 firms to ensure financial markets are honest, competitive, and fair.
Finally, as CEO of Equity Release Supermarket ‘trust’ is the golden thread throughout the business. As Warren Buffet once said – ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it – an important reminder to everyone.