From 2007, all lifetime mortgage and home reversion plans became regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, or 'FCA' (formerly known as the Financial Services Authority, or 'FSA'), the independent watchdog that regulates financial services. In addition, all those advising on equity release had to pass a series of professional exams to be able to advise customers on equity release.
The FCA has clear guidelines to regulate the sale of equity release products to you. This includes spelling out the advantages and disadvantages of the plan, telling you how it will affect your entitlement to state benefits, and outlining the fees payable for any advice you receive.
Any firm advising you on equity release should provide you with two documents. One outlines key facts about the service they provide and what it will cost you; the other is provided when they recommend a product to you and is called a Key Facts Illustration, which sets out all the important features and risks of the equity release plan so you can compare it with similar products.
You should only ever get financial advice from a company that is registered with the FCA (check on the FCA Register here). If they aren’t and things go wrong, you won't have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the compensation fund of last resort for customers of authorised financial services firms. You may be entitled to compensation from the scheme if the financial services firm cannot meet its obligations. This depends on the type of business and the circumstance of the claim. Further information about compensation arrangements is available from the FSCS website – www.fscs.org.uk.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is the official independent expert in settling complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services.
HUB Financial Solutions Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, our firm reference number is 455713. You can check by looking for our number on the register.