Air adviser census reveals need for later life rebrand

Jessica Bird

October 26, 2021

later life rebrand

Air Mortgage Club has issued the results of its first ‘Later Life Lending Census’ of advisers either currently active, or wanting to operate, in the later life market.

The survey of more than 400 advisers gathered views on what changes needed to be made to make the later life market more accessible for both advisers and consumers.

Air said that there was a real appetite to rebrand, from seeing the market as being focused on a simple single equity release product choice to a more holistic lending approach.

Overall, 80% of respondents agreed that it would be in the best interests of all stakeholders to move the discussion away from just equity release to a broader later life lending strategy.

More than half (59%) felt the market had already done this, or was in the process of doing so, but 41% said the market remains mainly focused on equity release.

Specialists in the sector were more likely to use the term ‘later life’ when discussing the options available to clients, compared to the wider adviser community – 59% versus 37%.

Air suggested that this is because they are able to provide advice on the entire range of options.

As a whole, 41% of respondents were only using the term ‘equity release’, and 5% spoke of ‘retirement mortgages’.

Those using more holistic terms are talking of ‘later life lending’ (26%), ‘later life mortgages’ (15%) and ‘later life borrowing’ (6%).

Stuart Wilson, CEO at Air Group which includes Air Mortgage Club, said: “This first Air Mortgage Club Later Life Lending Census was designed to secure the views of a wide range of advisers either active in, or wanting to be active in, the later life lending market.

“We wanted to understand what barriers there might be to adviser (and consumer) engagement, and to come up with a framework of action that could be taken to help remove these and to help develop the market further.

“To that end, the results we received highlighted three key areas where change might be required and, by focusing on a number of key ‘wins’, we could help ensure the market continues to grow and fulfill its potential.

“One of the clear messages was around the need for a rebrand. While many in the industry are talking about ‘later life lending’ or ‘borrowing’ in a holistic sense, there is still a significant focus on equity release being the single product solution available.

“Clearly that’s not the case, and in recent times especially, those moving into, or already in, retirement have many more options available to them.

“However, the siloed nature of the sector means not all advisers are able to advise on all options, which again creates issues in terms of the outcomes that consumers get.

“We believe there is a clear need to look at ‘later life lending’ as a whole, not just equity release, and having this broader strategy will open up the market further and should help engage both advisers and consumers in the wider range of options that could be suitable to them.

“It may also help the regulator come up with a regulatory solution which is more ‘later life lending’ focused as well because at present, consumers may be getting solutions based on what the adviser can’t advise on, rather than what they can.

“Advisers were also keen that we focused on re-educating consumers and the wider industry to the later life lending options available and re-engaging with stakeholders to support the growth of the market.

“Over the coming weeks, we will outline the key findings around these important ideas and delve into the research further.”

Sign up to our daily email