Equity Release Sector Potentially Facing Declining Workforce

A recent report has highlighted a potentially worrying decline in the amount of equity release advisers within the next five years. Currently, there are approximately 33,000 equity release registered advisers in the UK. However, this figure is set to decrease by 7,000 as more people are leaving the profession.

As 700,000 people reach retirement age in the UK each year, the report, carried out by Canada Life Home Finance, highlights a fear that many people with property, will remain unaware of the product if this predicted decrease in the workforce is realised.

A substantial amount of equity release advisers are also speculating that increasing the number of qualified Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) within the sector will lead to an improvement in the advice to consumers.

The recent research has found that only 13% of UK equity release advisers are IFA qualified. In a bid to legitimise the sector, 38% of respondents were looking at gaining the relevant qualifications within the next year.

Overall, 40% would value more support from regulatory bodies to help advisers become qualified with 37% looking for more support on how to improve the quality of information given to consumers.

Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said: “The majority of equity-release qualified advisers use their qualification on a regular basis, and it’s little wonder. More and more customers are becoming open to what the product can offer them and are happy to treat property wealth similarly to other assets, as something they can draw on to help them have the retirement lifestyle they want.

“But the shortfall between the number of advisers and the growing number of retirees – even before considering the growing demand for equity release – presents a real challenge to the industry. It’s no surprise that advisers have identified more help to get qualified as the best way of narrowing the gap, and at Canada Life we’re proud to play a part in providing that much needed support.”

Have you noticed a lack of available advisers in the sector? Will education improve any potential advice gap from widening or does the sector need to increase the workforce?

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