Royal London has partnered with later life mortgage adviser, Responsible Life, to enter the equity release market.
The Royal London Later Life Lending service will provide customers with access to advice on a range of later life mortgages, a service that will be operated by Responsible Life.
The advice will not be limited to equity release. Customers will also have access to retirement interest only mortgages and retirement mortgages.
Responsible Life announced earlier this year that it had become the first broker to introduce a service that looked at mortgages from each of the three different product categories before making recommendations to customers.
According to Royal London, that approach aligns with the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) recommendations following their recent review of the equity release advice process.
In June the FCA warned of adviser failings when it came to equity release. The regulator said advice given by firms did not always sufficiently take into account consumers' personal circumstances, and consumers looking at equity release were not always challenged by firms and firms were not always able to evidence that their advice was suitable.
It found on some occasions advisers had largely adopted a form-filling approach to fact finding, and in most circumstances customer interactions were not recorded by firms.
Royal London head of equity release Laura McOscar said: "Equity release is becoming an increasingly important source of retirement funding, as more people aged over 55 look to unlock some of the money tied up in their home. To complement our existing range of retirement offerings and improve access to later life lending advice, we are delighted to launch our Later Life Lending Service with Responsible Life."
Responsible Life chairman Steve Wilkie added: "Royal London is putting itself at the forefront of a huge shift away from product-specific advice in favour of broker recommendations that consider every type of later life lending.
"This is hugely important. Equity release products have never been more competitive but that doesn't mean they're suitable for everyone. We will be recommending equity release products as part of this partnership but not at the expense of customers' best interests. We are convinced this approach will become the norm and our collaboration with Royal London is a huge endorsement of this revolution in financial advice."
The latest quarterly figures available from the Equity Release Council showed the equity release market took a beating in Q2 2020.
A total 7,341 new equity release plans were taken out between April and June, making it the quietest quarter for the market since Q2 2016 when 6,671 plans were taken out, and down from 11,079 in Q1 2020.
Meanwhile, £698m of property wealth was accessed by new and returning customers in Q2, a reduction of almost £400m from £1.064bn in Q1 2020.
In a recent update, Equity Release Council chairman David Burrowes said: "The unprecedented uncertainty of the first six months of 2020 has affected households and businesses alike, with the equity release market no exception. While pent-up demand in Q1 led to a strong first quarter, the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown dominated Q2 before showing initial signs of recovery in June."
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