There are a number of parties which may benefit from the decision made by Aviva to remove their service of offering direct. These include the independent equity release brokers and advisers such as EquityRelease NU. However, the primary beneficiary should be the customers.
Why would it be of benefit to customers?
There are a number of reasons why this decision is beneficial to potential equity release customers. These include:
• Savings being passed on: The economic facts are that when a company such as Aviva are operating their own direct service, they need to cover the cost of a direct sales force. This can represent a significant cost when you are looking at maintaining a facility and employing a team of thirty or forty sales people. This cost is invariably passed on to the customer. While it may seem that dealing direct with a company would represent getting financial savings since you have eliminated the middle man, this is not usually the case. In fact, many of these costs would be written into the fees and charges of your deal which can make it a more expensive proposition.
• Preferential rates: Even when companies such as Aviva were still offering deals direct, it would not be uncommon to see the same rate offered direct as you would find on comparison sites such as EquityRelease.nu. In some cases, you may only notice a slight difference of up to half a per cent if you were to go direct. This may not seem like a huge difference but over the term of the equity release, this could add up to a significant amount. This is because Aviva would need to pass on the costs of their sales team. By using an independent broker, Aviva would be able to bypass any costs and therefore would offer a lower and more preferential rate to the independent brokers. This is the reason for the increased growth of independent brokers and advisers. As more companies and providers have appreciated the financial benefits of not offering direct services, they have offered a greater number of preferential rates and deals to the independents.
• Increased market competition: By using an independent broker or adviser, customers can gain the benefits of the increased market competition. This represents the most effective reason why Aviva closing their direct equity release business is beneficial for customers. With less companies offering direct services, there is greater competition for the independents to secure your business. This will mean that they will be more keen to secure you a highly competitive deal or you may approach another independent.
Finding the best independent equity release adviser
There are a number of tips to finding an independent equity release adviser. These include:
• Conduct a little internet research: You can make use of any number of online tools and calculators to determine who could offer the best possible deal. Many advisers recommend checking the schemes offered on at least four calculators to gain a good insight into the deals which are available.
• Check the Equity Release Council website: This website is for the equity release industry and has a database of all the registered advisers both nationwide and locally. This can allow you to explore the advisers in your area and determine whether they represent a better option or if you would prefer to use a national internet based service.
• Check their accreditations: All equity release advisers must be properly qualified and accredited. Advisers can obtain a qualification from one of two examination boards and will have the notation of CeRER or CII (MP & ER) after their name.
• Check their reviews and testimonials: It is important to be assured that your adviser is experienced and can offer you a great service. There are a number of websites and forums which are dedicated to reviewing the services offered by professionals. It can be worth taking a little time to research the customer feedback on your potential adviser or broker to ensure that they can deliver a great deal with excellent customer service.
If you are considering equity release and are concerned about the Aviva equity release direct service being withdrawn, you should speak to an independent equity release adviser. They will not only be able to reassure you of the possibility of an excellent deal without needing to go directly to a provider, but will be able to help you search out the best possible deal to suit your circumstances. This will allow you to make an informed decision and proceed with confidence.