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Nearly two-thirds of over-55s looking to raise a lump sum aren’t comfortable with current products available, free2 research finds

A majority of the over-55s market have serious concerns about the products available to raise a cash lump sum and would like access to alternatives, new research from free2 has shown.

In a survey of the over-55s market, free2 found that 24 per cent of respondents cited “borrowing against their home” as a top concern with equity release products. This was closely followed by “reducing the value of your estate” at 23 per cent and “the quality and independence of advice” which were the top concerns for 23 per cent of respondents.

The research comes as free2 launches its independent Equity Release Advice Service in response to high levels of consumer demand for a wider choice of borrowing options over the age of 55. The service will offer impartial advice to borrowers, allowing then to assess options from across the whole equity release market and compare them to other options available, including free2’s unsecured loan which would allow them to keep equity in their home.

Commenting on the launch, Paul Lindsay, free2 CEO, said: “Our research confirms something we’ve long known; customers want choice and that doesn’t change once you reach 55. We were hearing from the market that whilst equity release was a clear option for some, others had concerns about its suitability for their own circumstances. The data shows that there is a demand for a non-secured option as borrowing against the home is a top concern. However, until now alternative options have been limited for many.

“free2 can now offer the secured borrowing option alongside an unsecured alternative, delivering freedom and choice to many more consumers. Customers can choose which option suits them best. If it is equity release, the new Advice service will consider the whole of the market to ensure they are seeing the best deals.”

free2 launched The Over 55s Unsecured Loan in July with a commitment to bring new levels of freedom and choice to the UK’s retirement market. The launch of the Equity Release Advice Service is the next milestone in free2’s mission to become the number one financial services brand for the over 55s market.

Mr. Lindsay added: “Retirement is a time of new beginnings or new adventures and individuals want access to a suite of options based on their specific needs, not on compromises. To keep or release equity is one of the main decisions people face when thinking about raising lump sums for retirement; we’re here to make the options as clear and as accessible as possible and to say to our customers, ‘whatever your choice, we can help’.”