Key Retirement Solutions (KRS) has launched a new service for equity release advisers.
Lifetime Advisory Services is designed to provide support to intermediaries conducting three or more equity release cases a month. When it officially launches in September it will provide full end-to-end case tracking facilities along with a research platform designed to capture core product criteria and an integrated fact find and suitability report function compliant with current Financial Services Authority regulations.
One of the reasons behind the launch of the portal, according to Dean Mirfin, director of business development at KRS, is the regulator’s concern about the quality of advice being offered by intermediaries in the equity release market.
Mirfin says KRS has long held the view that intermediaries who are advising in the market, or who want to do so, should have sufficient tools do to the job properly. He claims Lifetime Advisory Services will provide such a tool and also warns those advisers wanting to join the portal will have to either already be sufficiently qualified to give advice in the equity release market or be willing to undergo an intensive training course, including the Institute of Financial Services' lifetime examination, before they are able to join.
The portal has the support of a number of key providers in the market including Prudential, GE Life, Mortgage Express and Bridgewater, although conspicuous by their apparent absence are both Northern Rock and Norwich Union.
Mirfin says both providers are “fully aware” of what KRS is doing and support the portal.
“We approached a number of providers and said ‘this is what we are doing, do you want to be involved.’ But we could not go to everybody and ask them whether they wanted to be involved so we went to the ones that are getting the lion’s share of intermediary business. It is in no way a reflection on the other providers,” he says.
Mirffin has also been at pains to point out the portal will be whole of market involving every provider of equity release products. He also suggests there will be increased competition in the market leading to improved pricing and flexibility because of the portal’s whole of market approach and because every provider will also be offering exclusive products through the portal.
Chris Cummings, director general of the Association of Independent Financial Advisors, has welcomed the launch of the service saying: “having repeatedly listened to requests from intermediaries committed to the equity release market for help in the advice process, Key Retirement’s new services is a welcomed and timely one. It is good to see that rather than convert their expertise in the market they have elected to share it.”
Intermediaries who want to find out more about Lifetime Advisory Services can do so by visiting www.lifetimeadvice.co.uk
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Matthew West on 020 7484 9893 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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