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Do you expect to see less or more second charge mortgage lenders in 2018?

CPD a 'priority' after FCA rules out equity release qualification

Earlier this month, the regulator decided against the additional qualification on the basis that a solid understanding of mortgages is an important competency in giving equity release advice.

This was accompanied by a recent member survey from the SMP and Personal Finance Society, which found that although 77% of advisers favoured a standalone qualification, feedback was mixed within the mortgage profession as a whole.

“The general consensus is that the existing system – where advisers must be mortgage-qualified up to level three to sell equity release – remained satisfactory,” said Vishal Pandya, operations manager at the SMP.

“We condone the logic behind that.”

Despite Vishal’s support for the decision, he warned that firms must ensure their employees remain competent.

“Carrying out continuing professional development should remain a priority for everyone in this fast-changing sector, especially because there is a myriad of changes to the way products are being made available to consumers.

“Furthermore, if an adviser feels that their expertise has become a little dated since originally qualifying, they ought to consider re-taking the qualification, or even progressing to level four status.”

The SMP survey also indicated an increasing trend towards more integrated planning advice rather than advice tailored on specific topics.

“This may in part reflect changing demographics and the need for a more integrated approach to the complex and related needs of those in later life, such as the adequate provision of retirement income, the funding of long-term care and intergenerational wealth transfers,” added Vishal.

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