The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) oversees the financial services market and lays out the regulation that must be adhered to in order to provide lending facilities. When buying a property, most people look at obtaining a mortgage, and would seek the support and advice of a mortgage advisor. Working in this position, you will have to have obtained the relevant CeMAP qualification.
There are times when an equity release scheme may be the required route. This approach allows an existing homeowner to release equity from their property without having to move. They are different to traditional secured lending in that they usually don’t have a set term, and have a built-in clause that means the customer is able to remain in the property for the rest of their life.
The specialised nature of this type of lending means that if, as an advisor, you wish to advise on this lending option, you will need to have obtained the recognised qualification – in this case, the Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER), in addition to the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP).
As well as being an officially recognised qualification, it will also help to instil a sense of confidence in your customer. By passing the end exam, you will be committing to the regulations set out by the FCA, and to developing your knowledge about the industry sector of equity release.
Following your CeRER training and achieving the required pass mark during the end exam, you will be best placed to assess the affordability of your customers, and how, or whether, equity release is the most appropriate route for them to take. Part of the interview will look at the positives and negatives of equity release, as well as any risks that may arise, to ensure that your customer is in a position to make an informed choice.
The CeRER qualification will add another string to your bow, so to speak. When working within the mortgage lending field, no two customers will be the same. Their backgrounds, income, outgoings and dreams and aspirations all differ. It is your job as their advisor to enable them to achieve their goals and realise their dreams, within the regulatory guidelines of the FCA.
You need to be able to confidently and competently be able to manage their expectations and support them, during the process, and ensure all lending options are explored and advised as suitable, where appropriate.
During the initial part of the interview, you would explain to the customers how you were qualified to advise them following the attainment of the required exam, and can also display a CeRER designation after your name on business cards, and when signing letters. You have a duty of care to ensure that your customers fully understand the implications of an equity release scheme – that is, the process, terms and conditions for repayment of the debt, and the lending criteria that must be adhered to.