"The shortfall between the number of advisers and the growing number of retirees presents a real challenge to the industry"
Advisers say an increase the number of equity release-qualified IFAs is needed to make the product more accessible, according to research by Canada Life Home Finance.
13% of UK advisers aren’t equity release-qualified, although 38% of these intend to become qualified in the next 12 months.
More support to help advisers become qualified (40%) ranks ahead of better education for customers (37%) and lower product costs (37%) as the main measure advisers believe is needed to make equity release more attractive in 2019.
The research shows that almost all (97%) qualified advisers use their qualification at least once a year, with 75% using it weekly.
However, while the majority of UK advisers are equity release-qualified, there is a general shortage of advisers in the industry. There were approximately 33,000 registered advisers in the UK in 2017, compared with around 700,000 people who reach retirement age each year.
Further to this, recent research by Garry Heath, director general of adviser trade body Libertatem, indicates that 7,000 advisers could leave the industry in the next five years – increasing the advice gap even further.
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.”