Later Life Academy teams up with ERC in bid to boost membership

Hannah Godfrey writes

The Later Life Academy (LLA) has launched a ‘Strength in Numbers’ campaign in part-association with the Equity Release Council, in a bid to increase the number of advisers on its books.

The campaign includes cost-saving measures and additional benefits for members, including a reduction in membership fees.

The LLA secured a deal with the Equity Release Council so members of both bodies pay a reduced fee of £20 per month for LLA membership, although joining the council is not mandatory.

The organisation said members would benefit from:

  • A 15% reduction in fees for those paying for an annual membership;
  • The removal of all fees for LLA’s skills webinars;
  • An expansion of its Financial Services Skills Council-accredited training programme;
  • Better commercial terms for members on marketing support, equity release plans, will and LPAs;
  • Access to newly-launched national wills and LPA service;
  • And further marketing support, an upgraded telephone and online support services function, and access to LLA’s new charity/rewards scheme UNITY.

The body also plans to launch a new consumer facing website, which will go live at the end of 2017.

The LLA was launched in 2014 and currently has a membership of 250.

Managing partner Stuart Wilson (pictured) said: “Given UK demographics, in particular an ageing population much more likely to work past traditional state retirement ages, we see the later life market as an incredibly important one for advisers both now and in the future.

“Currently, many advisers work in ‘silos’ offering advice, for example, just on pensions or just on equity release; our belief is that later life advice needs to cover off as many areas as possible and the whole aim of the academy is to offer those opportunities to our members.”

Equity Release Council chairman Nigel Waterson added: “The Council’s collaboration with the LLA is testament to our continued support for the equity release sector as it enters a renewed phase of growth – with lending figures and customer numbers at a record high.”

The equity release sector saw a record-breaking second quarter this year, with over-55s withdrawing a total of £701m from their homes – the highest figure in any single three-month period since the council began recording quarterly activity in 2002.