Anyone wishing to enter the mortgage adviser profession is required to pass specific tests and exams. Typically, the preferred qualification to go for is the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP). An educational classification which meets the requirements laid out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), it is a QCF* Level 3 qualification. For those already having qualified, a CeRER qualification may be the next step.

Standing for the Certificate in Regulated Equity Release, the CeRER course assumes an understanding of the financial services industry in general, and the mortgage advice field in particular. Accordingly, it is a stipulation of entry into CeRER programmes, that the candidates are all CeMAP qualified.

Having both qualifications, can significantly increase the fortunes of professionals in the industry.

Financial regulation

Until quite recently, under the auspices of the Financial Services Authority, equity release advice was not separately regulated, or regulated much at all. This has changed over the years though, as regulation and control become increasingly important. As a result, equity advisors are regulated and answerable to the FCA.

Before anyone can give advice into equity release for paying customers, a CeRER qualification is necessary. With it, those people seeking help and advice over releasing equity from their home or property portfolios have assurance. It means the advice and guidance they are receiving is of a quality and comes with knowledge and practical experience.

This is a very important aspect of the profession as, quite simply, the often vulnerable nature of the applicants seeking equity release is too easily exploited.

What is equity release?

In its most basic terms, equity release is a way to realise the value in an asset, often a property, typically a family home, which has a defined capital value. The cash released usually comes by way of a lump sum payment, or a steady stream of cash over a period of time. Whilst the house is retained by the owners, there is a pay-off.

Essentially, the house transfers in ownership to the cash provider, who must be repaid at some point as agreed in the future. This is often on death, when the value of the home will be used to furnish the agreement. As such, many of the applicants are elderly or certainly over retirement age.

As the UK national average age increases, it is likely that many more people will look to equity release, whether to continue to live throughout their retirement, or to experience new things. There are many reasons why people elect for equity release.

As a result, those that are CeRER qualified will be in a very strong position professionally over the years ahead. High performing equity release advisors will command an area of the financial services industry, and should be well remunerated for it. A CeRER qualification is key to this.

Some mortgage professionals may feel it is not something they need. However, as regulation increases in line with the population, many will find it hard to continue to give advice to their clients. From retaining existing business and taking on new business and on to commanding better hourly rates, there are many advantages.

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