The number of UK adults who would consider equity release
as part of their retirement planning has risen to 77% over the past
year, research from the Equity Release Solicitors' Alliance (ERSA)
reveals. The findings reveal a marked improvement in consumer
opinion of equity release with positive sentiment up by 23%
from last year's figure (54%), while negative perceptions fell from
42% to just 23% in the same period.
Consumers were also asked which measures would increase
their confidence in the sector and further enhance the reputation
of equity release. A recognisable mark of excellence among equity
release professionals was the most popular measure with the backing
of 42% of consumers, something that is already available through
membership of trade organisations such as ERSA and the Equity
Release Council. Specialist advice was another popular way to boost
consumer confidence. Over a quarter of consumers (26%) stated
specialist legal and financial advice would help to improve their
perceptions of the industry.
The results of the survey really emphasised the importance
of trade organisations, grouping specialists under a banner that
makes the quality and expertise they offer easily recognisable and
visible to consumers. Worryingly 30% of people admitted they
wouldn't know how to judge if someone was a specialist equity
release adviser or lawyer. An additional 40% thought specialist
advice would be more expensive than non-specialist advice. In
reality specialists are often cheaper as their expertise means
they're faster at completing cases. ERSA members only tend to take
two to three weeks (post-offer) to complete an equity release
To dispel some of the continuing misconceptions
surrounding the industry, it's vital we make equity release
information readily accessible to the general public. Equity
release is a complex process and a significant venture for any
customer. Specialist advisers and experts are in the best position
to ensure the public have a clear understanding of their options.
Industry organisations have a crucial part to play in this
endeavour: collectively promoting the industry and seeking to
recruit new members. With quality standards already in place, they
have a firm foundation to build on.
Read all our roles and our responsibilities
- We will communicate in plain English, not legal jargon.
- Clients will receive fair and balanced reports in writing.
- Clients will receive a personal consultation with a suitably
qualified member of legal staff.