Financial Planning, Retirement

Ex-planner opens equity release advice business

Ex-planner opens equity release advice business

The growth of the equity release sector has prompted a former planner to open an advice and brokerage service for retirees.

A former financial planner has launched a new equity release advice service and brokerage business covering the crop of equity release products currently available to retirees.

Smooth Retirement chief executive Scott Phillips said the Perth-based company would provide specialised retirement income and funding advice to retirees, online or over the phone, without commissions.

Phillips said Smooth Retirement held both an Australian financial services licence and an Australian credit licence and was able to offer a joint advice service unavailable to retirees to date.

“Equity release can be a bit of a catch-22 for retirees, often with layer upon layer of fees and charges,” he said.

“Most equity release providers and lenders require (or at the very least recommend) that clients obtain independent financial advice as a prerequisite.

“Most financial planners, however, are not licensed to make recommendations or broker equity release products – at the same time, most brokers cannot provide retirement income advice and planning.

“We are both retirement income stream planners and equity release brokers, backed by smart technology, which enables us to provide long-term tailored plans in a highly efficient and more cost-effective way. Our fees are fully disclosed and upfront and any commissions we may receive are rebated back to the client for their benefit.”

Phillips, who has worked as a state manager for State Super Financial Services in Perth and a dealership manager with Neo Financial Solutions in Adelaide, said the advice offering was the result increased interest in reverse mortgages and other types of home equity release products among retirees.

“Equity release is complex and understanding how the different products work and which one is the best for you is challenging. And while access to independent expert advice is all-important when planning retirement finances, the traditional channels can be cost prohibitive, and difficult to navigate, for many retirees,” he said.

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