Mortgages Tips

Age UK quits equity release after Telegraph investigation


Age UK has closed its equity release advice service following a Telegraph Money investigation which uncovered controversial links between the charity and a commercial firm.

The country’s leading charity for the elderly and vulnerable had offered equity release advice through its Age Co arm. This service was operated by Hub Financial which is owned by Just, one of the country’s biggest equity release mortgage providers.

In May 2019, this newspaper reported that Hub had structured its advice process so that it routinely recommended consumers deals from its own parent company, Just.

Age UK received commission from every plan sold, potentially earning it thousands of pounds each time.

Dean Buckner, an equity release expert formerly of the Bank of England, said the charity had rightly severed ties, arguing that equity release loans can quickly erode a pensioner’s wealth.

“It always seemed to me like a huge conflict of interest,” he said.

“Such a relationship will always prompt the question whether a charity should be using its trusted brand to sell financial schemes, particularly when those deals could end up with the borrower penniless at a time of life when they must meet the cost of long term care.”  

Age UK said existing customers would be unaffected by the closure. It did not rule out re-entering the market with a new partner and denied its decision was linked to Telegraph Money’s report.


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