Consumer Panel Research makes case for development of tools and guidance for later life lending

PRESS RELEASE 11/5/2022

                                                                                                                            

Consumer Panel research makes case for development of tools and guidance for later life lending

The Financial Services Consumer Panel has today published new research which looks at the experiences of consumers as they choose and buy equity release (ER). The research shows that without comprehensive tools and guidance, there is a risk that consumers will not make a fully informed decision that is right for their circumstances.

As a result, in a position paper also published today, the Panel has asked the FCA to support the development of holistic tools and guidance provided by independent bodies, such as MaPS, with the aim of helping people understand and narrow down a broad range of later life lending options and approach the regulated market better able to pursue their objectives.

The Panel commissioned in-depth qualitative research to explore the ER market from the perspective of consumers who purchase from a position of vulnerability. The secondary objective was to explore the role of regulated advice in securing a good outcome for particular borrowers.

The research was informed by a wide range of sources and data. The most significant element was new independent qualitative research with consumers. The findings indicated that the current sales and advice process does not always prevent consumers from experiencing poor outcomes, including regrets and misunderstandings about their purchase. The findings suggested that consumers who purchase from a position of vulnerability may fail to consider the long-term implications.

Panel Chair, Wanda Goldwag, said: “It is important that consumers, especially vulnerable consumers, are being offered products that suit their needs and are being offered appropriate tools and guidance to ensure they understand the options available to them. The Panel’s work sets out where the FCA and industry can work together to build on improvements already made in this market.  There’s work to do to consider the development of effective tools and guidance for later life lending, on whether the financial promotions regime is working as intended, and on meeting the higher expectations for consumer outcomes enshrined in the proposed new consumer duty.”

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Consumer Panel Secretariat telephone: 020 7066 9346  

Consumer Panel Secretariat email: enquiries@fs-cp.org.uk

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services and Market Act 2000.  The Financial Services Authority originally established it in December 1998. The Panel advises the FCA on the interests and concerns of consumers.  The Panel is independent. Its views do not represent those of the FCA.  
  2. The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FCA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FCA's remit. More information about the Panel's work is available on its website: www.fs-cp.org.uk or via its Twitter account.
  3. The FCA published the following in their 2022-23 business plan: “An increasing number of consumers are approaching retirement either owning their homes outright or with a mortgage. The lifetime mortgage market caters to those who want to use the value in their home to meet their later life needs. Given the significance of these decisions for consumers, we are considering the work we need to do to ensure that the market is working well. This could include following up on our earlier findings about poor quality advice and checking that standards among intermediaries giving advice have improved.”

 

Wanda Goldwag (Chair)

Francis McGee

Dr Julia Mundy

Julia Mundy

Dr Rebecca Driver

Keith Richards

Jonathan Hewitt

Natasha de Terán

Erik Porter

Larna Bernard

James Plunkett

Julie Hunter

Wednesday, 11 May 2022