The landscape of financial services has taken a significant turn with the recent arrival of the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) Consumer Duty principle, which officially came into effect on July 31, 2023.

The new principle requires firms to act to deliver good outcomes for their customers. That means, even if your advice or service proposition is tailored to an individual or small number of solutions, you still require a wider field of vision to understand whether your client may benefit more from products, propositions or services that you don't provide.

For example, if you’re a wealth manager, mortgage broker or generalist IFA working with customers over 55, but don't have equity release permissions, you should consider finding a trusted specialist referral partner. 

Why choose Key Partnerships as your equity release referral partner?

By working alongside Key Partnerships as your equity release referral specialist, you gain a complementary solution to your existing capabilities, with no need to give any equity release advice yourself. 

The income you earn from referring could become an important and growing part of your future cash flow, and by choosing Key Partnerships as your referral partner, you’ll also remain compliant with Consumer Duty and its four key outcomes.

Suitable products and services
  •      - Products have evolved significantly in recent years
  •      - More customer safeguards than ever before
  •      - Equity release is now suitable for more consumers
  •      - Deliver good customer outcomes without the need to give the advice yourself

Today's equity release products have evolved significantly around customer needs, are more flexible than their historic iterations and have adapted significantly to changing market conditions.
There are also more safeguards than ever before, with the Equity Release Council’s standards clearly outlining what customers should expect from a lifetime mortgage – the most popular form of equity release.

The Equity Release Council’s standards state:
  •      - All lifetime mortgages come with a no negative equity guarantee, meaning the consumer can never owe more than their home’s worth or pass on any equity release debt to their estate
  •      - The interest rate is either fixed for life, so consumers are sheltered from market volatility, or if the rate is variable, it must have a capped upper limit
  •      - The consumer has the right to remain in their property for life or until they move into long-term care
  •      - The customer has the right to move to another property, subject to lending criteria
  •      - The consumer has the right to make penalty-free repayments, subject to lending criteria

In addition, there’s further personalisation available to customers. For example, your client may want to leave a percentage of their home’s future value untouched to be passed on as part of their estate, which can be achieved through inheritance protection.

As a result of this innovation, the number of customers who may now benefit from an equity release plan has grown.

Those who you’d typically consider candidates for a residential or retirement interest-only mortgage may in fact find equity release is better suited to their needs in later life. Similarly for those who don’t have many other options but to take from their pension.

By choosing Key Partnerships as your specialist referral partner, you can develop your scope of service to ensure you’re delivering the right customer outcome without the need of providing the advice or products yourself.

Fair value
  •      - Expert face-to-face advice from a specialist equity release adviser
  •      - Access to the whole market, ensuring the plan recommended best suits your client’s needs
  •      - Dedicated case handler to manage your client’s case through to completion
  •      - No advice fee unless your client decides to complete

A key Consumer Duty customer outcome is fair value, which requires consumers to pay a fair price for products and services. 

With Key Partnerships, your client will receive expert face-to-face advice from an independent, specialist equity release adviser. The adviser will take the time to learn and understand what’s important to your client before giving them the advice that’s right for their circumstances. That includes never saying equity release is the right option for them unless they’re certain.

And if equity release isn’t right for your client’s circumstances, there’s no cost, as the advice fee is only payable if your client chooses to complete a plan.

If equity release is right, however, the adviser will search the whole market before recommending the most suitable plan for their needs. Your client’s case will then be overseen by a fully-qualified case handler who’ll keep them up to date with their application and look after all the paperwork, making sure the equity release journey is smooth and hassle-free.

Suitable treatment
To begin referring, all we need is your client’s name and contact number. After you pass on their details, they’ll be contacted by one of our specialist agents who’ll take the time to get to know your customer and ensure equity release would be a suitable financial solution for their needs. 

If it is, we’ll arrange your client’s first face-to-face, online or telephone consultation with a specialist equity release adviser to give them a better understanding of the product as well as discover what type of plan may best suit their needs.

If your client is still interested, the adviser will search the whole market to find the plan that’s right for them. And as the adviser isn’t tied to any lender, your client is always guaranteed honest, independent advice and a recommendation that’s straightforward and tailored to them.

Once the adviser has found the most suitable plan, your client and their adviser will meet again to discuss the finer details and ensure the plan meets the consumer’s needs. Following which, your client will be assigned a dedicated case handler who’ll manage the remainder of the process on their behalf.

Throughout their equity release advice journey, your client will deal with experts of their field, ensuring their needs are met at each stage – leading to better customer outcomes.

And by partnering with Key Partnerships, our knowledge and experience will help ensure the outcome is right for your client both in the short and long-term; reducing the likelihood of complaints and cancellations.

At Key Partnerships, we strive to ensure your clients are equipped with the right information to make effective, timely, and properly-informed decisions about equity release.

Before you begin referring, we can help you identify clients within your current customer base who may benefit from equity release and support you in initially introducing the concept through a wide range of training, support and collateral. 

Then, as your client enters their equity release journey, they’ll be provided with a range of helpful material including guides and leaflets to ensure they can make well-informed decisions in their own time. 

And as part of the advice process, the adviser will explain the ins and outs of the product as well as discuss other financial options that may be available to your client. And if there’s a solution that would be better suited to their needs, we’ll not only always be honest and tell them, but also offer to refer a specialist in the field from our existing partner network.

Why choosing Key Partnerships also benefits you

Alongside being confident that you’re choosing a referral partner that meets all Consumer Duty requirements, working with Key Partnerships also allows you to grow your business. 

We deliver good customer outcomes
By choosing us, you’re partnering with Key Group, the market-leading later life finance specialist. Throughout our more than 20 years’ experience, we've helped over 1 million people decide if equity release is right for them. 

We’re also an independent referral service with more than 8,000 registered introducers and have more than 14,000 5-star customer reviews on TrustPilot. 

We make the process easy for you and your clients
By partnering with us, you can start referring straight away and don’t need any special qualifications or industry experience. 

We’ll visit your client anywhere in the country, with a nationwide network of more than 100 qualified advisers, and we also provide advice online or over the phone to ensure they can customise their equity release journey. 

You can be as involved in the process as you like, with the opportunity to track the progress of your cases on our portal. You’re also welcome to attend your clients’ advice appointments if you wish. 

We help you grow your business
And finally, by choosing Key Partnerships, you can add a valuable additional income stream to your business. In 2022, our average referral fee was £2,252. 

Partnering with us allows you to offer clients a complementary service that supports your core business areas. And even though you can receive significant remuneration for your referral, neither the customer’s fees nor rates are affected by your benefit, and all elements will go through a fair value assessment. 

You also gain access to tools and educational support to enhance conversations around equity release, whether you have experience within the sector or not. 

And we provide dedicated face-to-face and telephone support to help you develop your knowledge of the market and the opportunities available, ensuring you have everything you need to provide the best possible outcome for your clients.

How Key Partnerships can help

We provide a robust referral process to help you broaden your advice proposition without compliance responsibility. 

Key Partnerships work with specialist equity release advisers from The Equity Release Experts. Our whole-of-market advisers have their fingers on the pulse to help find clients a solution to meet their needs.

Alongside supporting your clients, for every case that completes, you could also add a valuable income stream to your business. In 2022, the average Key Partnerships referral fee paid on each completed case was £2,252*.