What advisers want
Stuart Wilson is chief executive at Air Group
When it comes to what advisers want from their partnerships, whether lender/provider/solicitor/packager, you tend to be able to break the response down into two key areas, speed and efficiency.
Technology of course plays a huge part in the ability to secure both of these, and it’s fair to say that within the later life lending space there have been huge strides taken.
We’re a business, for example, that holds a great deal of store in the technology we offer, its usage, and how it can deliver the efficiencies we know advisers want.
We recently launched a new proposition called WriteRoute which is designed as a fully-online support system for advisers to accompany their process, ensuring that all elements are linked together, ensuring no need for re-keying of information.
However, in a broader sense, there is an element that the later life lending community still look covetously at what is being achieved in the mainstream market, even when all the pieces to the puzzle are just as available in our world.
So, for example, we don’t have to invent something new technology-wise to improve the speed and efficiency of our process because everything already exists.
We ran a recent webinar in which we were able to fully outline how this works from meeting the customer, securing their credit report, providing a KFI, downloading an integrated customer view, completing the application, sending it to the lender, sourcing a valuation in days, getting the offer, sorting out any legal issues, through to completion.
All this can be done efficiently and speedily with the technology that’s already available and yet, for the most part, we’re not currently doing this. Although it has to be said we are working towards it.
One of my own 2022 objectives for Air Sourcing and Air Club is to get that online application process up and running with as many lenders as possible – preferably a majority. In the residential market this has been the case for years so why haven’t we already been able to bring it into our sector, when we know it’s available and we know it can provide so many benefits is the question
Having that speed and efficiency is not just going to help you as an individual adviser, allowing you to write more business in a quicker time and expanding your client base, but by doing this it’s also going to expand our market, increase its appeal, generate more demand and bring in new providers and products that can be utilised by more customers.
In that sense, growth is vital to our sector. At Air Club we have approximately 7,500 members – if just a third of them carried out two to three cases more a year, the boost this would provide to the entire market would be considerable.
Advisers who moved from three to six cases a year, or from six to 15, could propel the equity release sector alone to become an £8/£10/£12bn sector, plus other later life lending options on top of this.
Now whether that increase in business comes from advisers who don’t do a lot of business just doing a little bit more, or it comes from advisers immersed in the sector being able to write more business because of speed and efficiency improvements they have access to, it doesn’t really matter.
What it will mean is the growth we all want to see, and the likelihood is that we’ll grow the adviser base even more, because they’ll see that it’s far easier to write the business themselves rather than ignore it or refer it on, and from that we are likely to see even more providers making their moves into a sector which they’ll believe they can’t not be part of .
As we can see, the use of technology and more efficient systems and processes is likely to make a huge difference in our sector. We can’t ignore its availability, neither should we wish to; instead we have to do everything we can to replicate what is a matter of course in the rest of the market, and from here we are likely to grow our sector at rates we had previously thought were unachievable. That is the carrot that exists for all of us.