Council launches competency framework for advisers

The Equity Release Council (the Council) has today launched a new competency framework to support financial advisers in their professional development, in the equity release and later life lending market.

The framework provides an educational syllabus with three pathways based on advisers’ levels of experience. It is designed to guide their development journey by benchmarking their knowledge and skills as well as signposting materials to support their progress.

The Council has worked closely with specialists across the sector, including Canada Life which played a leading role in the production, to develop six in-depth modules which have each been piloted in the field. The modules encompass all areas needed to advise consumers effectively and focus on understanding the industry, market, clients, soft skills, products, and processes.

To view the modules click the links below or visit the dedicated competency framework page here.

Donna Bathgate, Chief Operating Officer of the Equity Release Council, said:

“This competency framework will act as a guide to help firms to develop, educate and upskill advisers to meet growing consumer needs in a safe and sustainable way. Property wealth is increasingly part of consumers’ thinking when they make later life financial plans, so it is vital to ensure the service they receive is of a consistently high standard as the market grows.

“The potential for unlocking property wealth should be on every homeowner’s retirement checklist to consider alongside appropriate advice to weigh up all the options and implications. The competency framework is the Council’s latest initiative to help firms and their advisers develop a 360-degree view of today’s market and ensure the best possible outcomes for consumers.

“We would like to thank Canada Life and our expert contributors for sharing their knowledge and experience to benefit the wider advice community.”

Alice Watson, Head of Marketing, Canada Life Insurance, said:

“We are delighted to support the development and launch of the competency framework. With property wealth playing an increasingly important role in later life funding, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we continue to deliver a high standard of advice and ensure best outcomes for clients. This framework supports this objective, allowing new, supervised, and competent advisers to assess their own knowledge and identify potential gaps in their learning.

“As the market continues to evolve, we are proud to have been involved in developing this framework with the Equity Release Council from the beginning and look forward to seeing it develop over the coming years.”

Over the last year, the Council has led a series of cross-industry initiatives to support advice standards, including updating its Checklist for Advisers and publishing a new Good Practice Guide. Meanwhile, more than 100 advice firms joined the Council in 2020 as its adviser membership grew by 35% to 448 organisations.