Review of later-life mortgages finds poor advice and misleading promotions
What has happened?
In September 2023, the FCA reported that in a review of later-life mortgage firms, it had worked with the largest firms in this sector to improve their advice processes and had prompted the removal or amendment of almost 400 misleading financial promotions.
What are the key points?
The multi-firm review looked at firms responsible for around half of all lifetime mortgage (equity release) sales and found in many cases that the advice given did not meet the standards expected.
The review also found many inaccurate or misleading financial promotions, product benefits being highlighted without any balancing description of the risks and firms using their FCA-regulated status in a promotional manner.
As a result of the review, almost 400 financial promotions have been removed or amended where firms identified issues with them.
The review also found many examples where intermediaries were poorly considering borrowers’ income and expenditure, minimising discussions around alternatives, incentivising sales potentially at the expense of quality advice and good customer outcomes, and steering outcomes in favour of lifetime mortgage products.
As a result of this work and subsequent interventions, all the firms included in the review have made changes to their sales and advice processes. The majority of firms also changed how they incentivise their advisers.
The FCA expects other lifetime mortgage advisers to pay close attention to the review's findings and to act immediately where they need to. It will also be considering the findings in conjunction with those of the retirement income advice review, which is currently ongoing (see https://www.fca.org.uk/news/news-stories/thematic-review-retirement-income-advice for details of this review).
More generally, with the Consumer Duty now in force, the FCA expects that all firms should be focused on putting consumers at the heart of their business and on delivering good outcomes for retail clients.
How can we help you?
Thistle Initiatives has supported mortgage lending firms for over 10 years as a trusted compliance and regulatory advisor. In addition to assisting you as-and-when, our team of specialists can serve as your right hand in meeting and complying with regulations. We understand the importance of staying up-to-date and compliant and are dedicated to providing the guidance and support needed to do so.
Are you looking for help with your later life mortgage advice arrangements, or more general regulatory questions? Contact our specialist team now to schedule a free consultation. Get in touch with us by calling 020 7436 0630 or sending an email to email@example.com.